eSports is more than just a hobby; it’s a full-fledged industry that has taken on a life of its own. Cities around the world are becoming renowned hotbeds for this competitive sporting event and its garnered attention from an estimated 454 million fans and drawn a revenue of over one billion dollars in 2019 alone. Needless to say, eSports is an industry, sport, and spectacle that’s here to stay and several cities around the world are essential to visit if you’re a competitor or a fan of the sport. If you’re looking for your next flight destination (one with a hint of gaming flare) or where the next big competition will be, Gamercraft’s got your back with our list of the top five cities for eSports.
5) Stockholm, Sweden
Beautiful architecture, rich history, and a budding eSports culture make Stockholm a perfect gaming destination. Dreamhack, a prolific eSports company that hosts a variety of tournaments and events across the globe, is owned by a Stockholm based company, Modern Times Group. This group hosts the world’s largest LAN party each year and seeks to bring the eSports community together. The Stockholm eSport Arena is a must-see for visitors and is frequently filled with competitors and spectators.
4) Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Seattle may be best known for the Space Needle, the Sound, and Pike Place market, but it’s also home to several large gaming companies that you’ll definitely recognize. Nintendo of America, Microsoft, Niantic, Epic Games Seattle, Bungie, and Amazon Game Studios are only a few of the many companies that reside in the Emerald City. The city hosts PAX Dev, a two-day event based around gaming development, and has hosted events like the Dota 2 International and GG Expo in the past. If you’re looking to experience gaming development and visit your favorite game studios, Seattle’s the place to go.
3) Hangzhou, China
When a city creates a town specifically for eSports, you know it means business. Hangzhou is home not only to this new virtual sports complex but an Overwatch League franchise and the LGD Gaming’s League of Legends Pro League. This Chinese city is preparing to become a hub for eSports, potentially to rival Seoul, as it might include gaming sports in the 2022 Asian Games, which will be hosted in Hangzhou. The gaming complex is operated by Allied eSports, a company that owns and operates arenas around the world, including the eSports Arena Las Vegas, and LGD Gaming. It’s home to a gaming academy, hotel, and a hospital. This is one you definitely need to check out!
2) Los Angeles, California, U.S.
While it’s easy to get caught up in the luxury and glamour of Los Angeles, you don’t have to look too hard to find plenty of eSports related attractions and events. Arguably the biggest gaming convention, E3, is hosted there along with Blizzcon. LA is also home to several game studios that you’ll definitely recognize. You can find Santa Monica Studio, Mythical Games, Riot Games, Naughty Dog, Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts (EA), Insomniac Games, and Treyarch all within the city of angels so make sure to plan to see them all. You can also catch events hosted at the eSports and Blizzard Arenas like the Overwatch League and The Absolute Kaos Black Ops 4 Tournament.
1) Seoul, South Korea
Considered an eSports mecca, Seoul is perhaps the most essential city to visit if you’re looking for the full experience of sports gaming. Cyber cafés (called PC-Bangs in South Korea) are strewn throughout the city and allow visitors to compete with others on a local level for hours at a time. In fact, many eSports players are recruited to join teams through these cafés. Culturally, Seoul is a haven for the gaming and virtual sports community. News and events on the sport have been broadcast on television for nearly two decades, the South Korean Olympic Committee retains eSports as a member and allows teams to compete professionally, and teams are taken care of and provided world class coaching and observation. In sum, Seoul is a city for gamers.
The world of eSports continues to grow year after year and has become a bonafide industry rather than a hobby that most thought it to be just a few short years ago. Around the globe, cities are taking up the mantel and spearheading initiatives dedicated to this rapidly growing sport, and it’s difficult to say which one will become the next for gaming sports. But, one thing’s for sure, these cities have plenty to offer the gaming community and demand to be experienced first-hand.1