Esports; if you have not heard of them by now, are the wildly popular and successful entertainment sport. With millions of fans throughout the world, from China and South Korea to America and Great Britain, esports truly are a global sport. In a similar way to a football or a rugby world cup, more and more esports fans are choosing their travel destinations based on the big events in the esports calendar – of which there are many.
Fortunately for esports fans, many of the marque events are held in beautiful, interesting and unique locations, so without further ado, here is our esports tour of the world.
Our first stop on our esports tour of the world sees us land in the seaport city of Seattle. Seattle is home to the space needle, was a startup for Ray Charles and was the birthplace of fictional characters Frasier and Niles Crane. The area was previously inhabited by native Americans for 4000 years before the first European settlers arrived after traveling the length of the Atlantic Ocean. Known as the ‘Rainy City’ Seattle doesn’t offer the warm golden sand beaches like Los Angeles does nor does it offer the rough and tumble splendor of a New York City, but it is a beautiful and vibrant city nonetheless. Ensure that you visit the Pike Place Market at some point during your stay, the market is such a staple in the culture of Seattle and is situated in the downtown area of the city. If you’re visiting for esports reasons, Seattle is host to one of/if not the biggest event in the esports calendar. For the past six years, the Key Arena in Seattle has been the host to ‘The International’ which is esports franchise Dota 2s annual major event. The International 2017 saw an absolutely massive prize pool of over $24 million generated whilst the winning team took home over $10 million – the tournament is viewed by millions of people all around the world whilst the Key arena itself holds 10,000 fans.
What can be said about Los Angeles that has not already been said before? Los Angeles has become synonymous with California and the west coast of America. Golden beaches reminiscent of a Bay Watch scene, mixed with the glitz and the glamour of Hollywood means that LA is a big ‘go to’ area for tourists from every country in the world. It is no wonder then, that esports athletes enjoy competing in the ‘Golden State’. The home of the legendary basketball team – the LA Lakers – the Staples Centre has twice been host to the biggest event in the League of Legends esports calendar – the World Championships. It took less than an hour for all 12,000 tickets to sell out for the League of Legends Season 3 World Championship finals thanks to esports news and betting sites such as EsportsOnly who help drive up the interest to these marquee events. The event itself was electrifying and well worth the entrance fee in order to watch the best league of Legends players in the world. 32 million people watched the event from their homes, many of which were no doubt wishing that they could have gotten their hands on a live ticket. For any fan of esports, Los Angeles is a great location to relax, party, shoot the breeze and watch some of the best esports players in the world compete live.
Beijing, the capital city of China and the host of the 2008 Olympics is a unique city. China’s capital is the epitome of a 21st-century city but at the same time, it is still linked to its incredible past. Beijing offers amazing hotels, food and sightseeing. Day trips to the Great Wall of China can be found easily. The Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square are also major tourist attractions and are definitely worth a visit. China and Beijing is a major hub for esports due to the popularity it has in the country. Chinese esports players and teams are amongst the best in the world and, somewhat unsurprisingly, the Chinese have the stadia to match. Esports really hit the big time earlier this year when the League of Legends World Championship finals were held in Beijing’s National Olympic stadium – the Birds Nest. The 80,000 seater stadium completely sold out for the esports event. Esports are as popular a sport in China as any other, the athletes are treated like rock stars to their adoring fans as they walk out onto the stadium floor to compete. If you are visiting Beijing during peak esports season (May – November) then be prepared for the natives, the younger ones especially will have contracted esports fever.
The South Koreans rival the Chinese for the award for most enthusiastic esports fans. Seoul is the heartbeat of the Korean esports scene and is also a city with a vast history. Seoul’s history stretches back more than 2000 years to the 18th century BC when it was founded by the Baekje people. Seoul contains gives UNESCO World Heritage sites whilst the sprawling metropolis of Seoul itself is the world’s 16th largest city. In 2015, Seoul was voted as Asia’s most livable city with the second highest quality of life in the world. The city is well worth visiting no matter who you are (despite the crazy neighbor on its doorstep) and is home to a variety of different tourist attractions.
London is the second most visited tourist destination in the world and the richest tourist city in the world. In 2015, international tourist spending in the city of London rose above $20 billion whilst only Bangkok in Thailand receives more visitors annually. London is of course home to a whole host of tourist hot sports including; the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Pall Mall and Piccadilly Circus amongst numerous others. Museums, art galleries, fantastic restaurants – London has it all. Of course, the esports scene makes a stop off in London every so often. England’s capital was host of one of the biggest ever FIFA 17 football tournaments earlier this year. The 2017 FIFA Interactive World Cup was won by a British esports athlete – Spencer Ealing. Ealing took home a prize of $200,000 – the biggest ever prize in FIFA esports history.
The German city of Frankfurt is one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse cities in the world with around half of the population and a majority of young people having a migration background. Frankfurt’s skyscraper skyline has earnt it the nickname ‘Mainhattan’ whilst the city itself is the business and financial center of Germany. Whilst you may not imagine the business hub of Germany as a particular tourist hotspot, Frankfurt is a city that contains many beautiful gems. The Kaiserdom – one of Germany’s most spectacular Gothic cathedrals – can be found in the city. It is unsurprising then that the German City of business has its own stadium for the booming esports industry. Frankfurt’s Commerzbank Arena is the official home of football team Eintracht Frankfurt. The stadium is a 51,500 seater with a retractable roof and was a host venue during the 2006 World Cup in Germany. In 2014, 12,500 esports fans swarmed the pitch to enjoy some of the best Dota 2 players in the world compete against one another.
Author Bio: Iain is a sports and current affairs writer with a passion for traveling. He usually enjoys quiet and secluded holiday destinations, away from the crowds. But wherever he is in the world, he will ensure that he enjoys himself to the max.