By Isaac Chandler
July 12, 2019
Esports events have been booming in the last half-decade, with fans turning out in the tens of thousands to see their favorite players duke it out live on stage.
While this surge has seen a massive influx of people comparable to a standard sports event, it’s been questioned just how much of an impact they’ve had on the local economy of their host cities.
Thankfully, Riot Games, creators of League of Legends, have decided to make public the information for their most recent European League (LEC) Spring Finals hosted in Rotterdam, cracking open the books and giving us a glimpse of what these sort of economic impact these events bring to their hosts.
The company unveiled yesterday that the LEC Spring Final Rotterdam in April brought over $2.6 million to the local Rotterdam economy, with over 87% of all attendees coming from outside the city. Considering the small 15,000 person stadium the company used for the event, the numbers are quite startling, even more so considering how short it was.
The information comes from a non-mandatory survey Riot held on-site for ticket holders, and may actually be lower than the actual amount contributed to the economy. The numbers also lineup with reported economic activity generated from similar events in IEM Katowice and ESL One Cologne, both of which contributed $13.5 million and $5.6 million respectively for their host cities, though it is important to note these events went on for much longer periods of time.
Fan reaction on Reddit was mostly positive, with many excited for what the Summer Finals in Athens will do for Greece, especially after their recent economic hardships, while others expressed wonder at how quickly esports were catching up to the economic impact of traditional sporting events.
The finals were also the first for Europe under the new LEC branding and franchise system, which has seen a 25% increase in viewership for the matches from the same period last year. The rebranding has also seen an influx of traditional sponsors, including Kia, Shell, Footlocker, and Warner Music amongst other non-endemic sponsorships.
With such a huge spike in growth for the league, many are highly anticipating the finals in Athens, set to take place September 7th and 8th this year. While the LEC Spring Final Rotterdam will be a hard act to follow, we can’t wait to see what will happen next.