[toc]Las Vegas’ emerging esports epicenter will have a new player by year’s end.
A new venture called Millennial Esports will open an event and production complex in the Neonopolis building on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas this November.
The 15,000-square foot space will feature a 400-500 person arena that will host both live, in-person tournaments as well as viewing parties for online tournaments.
The space will also feature a broadcast facility as well resources for online casters who want to stream content on Twitch.
Millennial Esports will form out of the forthcoming merger between online esports community Pro Gaming League Inc. and Canadian-based fund Stratton Capital.
Space to host Halo championship this fall
While the company has not publicly announced a launch date, it plans to be up and running by at least Nov. 18, when CEO Alex Igleman says it will host its first event: The North American finals of the Halo Championship Series Open Circuit.
The three-day event from Nov. 18-20 will feature a $25,000 prize pool and comprise qualifiers from several online feeder tournaments taking place in the run-up to the event.
Pro Gaming League also hosts prize-money tournament competitions across titles such as Call of Duty, League of Legends, Hearthstone and Overwatch.
The HCS Open Circuit gives amateur Halo players an online avenue to qualify for HCS’s Pro League.
When those in the arena aren’t watching players compete in person, Igleman says he hopes to work with publishers to stream live online events that arena attendees can watch.
Instead of being confined to an event space that merely hosts LAN tournaments, the company will also help produce online esports events.
Site to emphasize streaming, broadcast capabilities
Igleman hopes that the venue will help foster new gaming talent as well as nurture the next big talent in esports casting.
In addition to hosting in-person audiences for both live and streamed tournaments in its arena, Millennial Esports will also feature streaming stations.
“We’re looking to build a caster experience where someone can come in off the street and be able to cast a game that’s going on in our facility or online and learn how to do some casting, and then they’ll be able to record it and stream it,” Igleman said.
Aspiring casters will be able utilize Millennial Esports’ channel, for example, to leverage a built-in audience.
Casters can also use Millennial Esports’ facilities to broadcast from their own channel if they have an established following already.
Furthermore, the space will feature a production studio that can sync up Millennial Esports’ content—e.g., on-site competitions, casters, fan interaction—into a holistic broadcast.
For example, if the space were hosting a tournament with a live audience and announcers, while also hosting casters who were streaming on the premises, Millennial Esports’ production facility could produce a broadcast for the tournament based around those elements.
Esports broadcasts have undergone significant growth in recent months. This summer, TBS aired its ELEAGUE competitions on Friday nights to a national audience.
In the United Kingdom, GINX eSports is launching a 24-hour esports TV network devoted to the space.
The Pac-12 Network plans to air a collegiate esports competition involving its member schools in the coming months.
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Opening fuels growth of Las Vegas Esports District
While being located away from the Strip means Millennial Esports’ facility will sit outside of traditional gaming territory, Igleman noted being located downtown provides substantial benefits as a locale, including close proximity to several hotels.
He acknowledged that the area is starting to be recognized as the city’s Esports District.
His multi-faceted venue will take up a former movie theatre in the Neonopolis, which sits between The Fremont Street Experience and East Fremont Street, and is just around the corner from the Downtown Grand, a hotel which launched Las Vegas’ first esports lounge at the beginning of 2016.
Igleman said he has worked closely with the DTG since its esports lounge opened. Instead of viewing the property as a competitor, he called the venue “complementary” to Millennial Esports’ efforts.
DTG Chairman Seth Schorr will serve on Millennial Esports’ board upon completion of the merger.
If the initial downtown property proves successful, organizers say Millennial Esports’ footprint won’t be confined solely to one brick-and-mortar location in Las Vegas.
The company hopes to expand outward from its Fremont flagship location and eventually utilize its online platform and production capacity to provide solutions for other companies both inside and outside Las Vegas.
No current plans to offer esports betting
While Millennial Esports will host esports tournaments, the space has no plans to facilitate two-person, head-to-head esports betting, in which players wager on themselves to defeat another person.
It also has no plans to facilitate sportsbook-style betting on the matches it hosts, or other professional esports competitions.
“We want to host events that are wagered on, but we don’t have any intention at this point to undergo licensing,” Igleman said. “That said, if there is an ability to work with someone like the Downtown Grand or William Hill, for example, with kiosks then by all means we would be open to it.”
The facility also will keep the focus exclusively on esports and not feature traditional casino gambling attractions such as roulette, blackjack or slots.
The Nevada Gaming Commission is expected to promulgate regulations that affirmatively govern some forms of wagering on esports matches later this year.
Esports betting at regulated sportsbooks is expected to attract significant growth following the widespread scuttling earlier this year of the esports skin betting industry, formerly led by unregulated sportsbooks like CSGOLounge and Fanobet.
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