Australia is well placed to become a world class nation in esports, according to Michal Blicharz, the Vice President of Pro Gaming at esports global giant ESL.
Speaking at an esports industry seminar held in conjunction with Australia’s biggest and richest esports event, the IEM Sydney 2018 tournament, Blicharz said Australia has many key features to set up future growth and success.
“Australia can deliver world class standards with passionate followers and top venues to present esports mega-events,” said Blicharz.
“The timezone with Asia is also very interesting. You are English speakers, the global language of esports. That means the social media posts that flow from an event like the IEM in Sydney create a massive halo in the esports community across the region.”
The second edition of the IEM Sydney event, co-promoted by ESL and TEG Live, attracted an average 7,500 live fans each day at Qudos Bank Arena and millions of unique online views over the three-day event.
In a wide-ranging keynote address hosted by TEG Live, Blicharz said mega-events like IEM Sydney that become established will have a big advantage as esports evolve.
“There are only so many Wimbledons,” said Blicharz, using the analogy of Grand Slams that are the pillars of the tennis calendar.
He revealed that the success of ESL as the world’s biggest esports company came from a simple formula.
“It is free to play and free to stream,” he said. “The divide in esports is between the open platforms and the closed franchise models.
“Esports currently has a humungous ecosystem because it is largely open.”
In words of caution to the many new entrants in esports, Blicharz warned: “Everyone wants it, but they don’t know why.”
Speaking after the seminar TEG CEO Geoff Jones said esports has enjoyed incredible and exciting spurt of activity in Australia on top of years of exceptional growth.
“There are many new entrants – leagues, venues, content producers and team owners,” said Jones. “That has created a lot of curiosity about who is doing what, and how the business of esports works.
“For our part, TEG plans to make a big play in esports and we plan to do that with partners who share the vision and opportunity. We are early movers in the esports mega-event space and we want to stay ahead of the pack. In short, we are open for esports business.”
The seminar included a lively panel discussion including Nick Vanzetti, Managing Director of ESL Australia, Brad Timmins, Founder of eGEN, a full-service esports agency, Nigel Smart, COO of Adelaide Crows, the owner of esports team Legacy, and Tim McGregor, Managing Director of TEG Live.
The 2018 IEM tournament had $310,000 in prizemoney. The tournament was won by FaZe Clan, who collected the first prize after defeating Astralis in the all-European Grand Final.