Alisports is shaping eSports market
Alisports entry into eSports two years ago didn’t came as a surprise to your blogger but to most people it was. Alisports is the sports wing of Alibaba, the chinese company that is well known for e-commerce business.eSports is a dynamic and fast-growing sector in China, Africa, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South America and North America as well as most parts of Asia.The booming eSports industry may not yet attract the sponsors and television rights of sports like English Premier League, Olympic Games or FIFA World Cup, but your blogger believes it is only a matter of time before its bet on competitive video gaming comes up big.Alibaba’s sports arm Alisports was opened in 2015 with the aim of cashing in on the rapidly growing world of electronic sports, where players square off in lucrative video game tournaments that draw millions of viewers online. Few can argue Alisports’ World Electronic Sports Games has definitely grown in leaps and bounds since the first edition. Alibaba invested USD$14.5 million to launch the World Electronic Sports Games with a prize pool of over USD $5.5 million making it one of the highest paying eSports tournaments in the world. As the eSports gaming market rapidly gains popularity, thousands of teams have since 2015 been formed to participate in Alisports’ World Electronic Sports Games tournaments and some have even set up well built outlets as their training ground.One of them is an eSports player from Hong Kong who is well known to your blogger, who first mooted the idea to set up the premise in February 2016 after he noticed that outlets offering such video gaming services were common in major towns and discussed with his girlfriend about his plans.This was especially so as both had a huge passion for eSports and also extensive knowledge about video game consoles, systems and games.Although he works in a financial institution in Hong Kong, he said with help of girlfriend, he dug deep into their savings and took a loan before starting the business with a capital of nearly US$200.000. The seed money was used to renovate the premises, buy LED television screens and gaming consoles.When we started the business Contador Harrison, we wanted to offer customers a similar feel of playing the games from the comfort of their homes, so instead of chairs we opted for bean bags.Then we decided to install carpets so customers will feel more comfortable when they sit on the floor as it helps create a lively atmosphere. Unlike teens gaming facilities which are usually frequented by college kids to play games, his facility in Hong Kong has families and even over 40s playing each other to various games. For a sport that has a lot of participation, it must have a bright future he believes.
Even if for now you don’t make a lot of money, in the future, you’ll definitely be rewarded. This is something him and the girlfriend firmly believe in. His inspiration can be traced back to last year when Alisports entered into an agreement with the International e-Sports Federation to create the WESG, a market-leading international tournament. The first edition of the World Electronic Sports Games saw 63,000 participants from 125 countries battle for a share of the $5.5 million prize pot. Hong Kong’s participation in eSports has soared as virtual games gain traction with fan audience now estimated at 4.5 million people according to a study in a country of roughly 7.2 million people, more than that for any other sport. The size of the Hong Kong eSports market will more than double to $200 million in 2019, according to the study which roughly account for nearly 10% of the predicted global market which will be worth $1.8 billion a year later in 2020.In his premises, he sometimes, gets mothers bringing their sons and daughters during the afternoon to enjoy gameplay, adding that the premises also have sofa sets catering for customers who wish to play on bigger-screened light emitting diode televisions. Me and my girlfriend are from middle income families and used to exchange games as it was quite expensive especially when we wanted to buy the latest ones. Hong Konger recalls saving pocket money to buy the games and nowadays there are also many people out there who want to play these games but some of them cannot afford to buy so that is where we come in and with current growth, we plan to slowly expand the business to other neighbouring districts starting next month, which is January 2018 and there will be an official invitation for your blogger.He has also decided to utilise the popularity of eSports competitive video gaming to form their own team and send members out for World Electronic Sports Games tournaments. Since there is a lot of interest out there, my girlfriend decided that we give it a shot. Members will have the chance to polish their skills at our outlet and take part in World Electronic Sports Games and other eSports competitions which usually offer lucrative prizes. Team members will have an agreement with us before they are registered for tournaments. My girlfriend recently organised an eSport tournament and received a strong turnout, and many kept asking her when the next tournament is going to be held. Such tournaments helps us groom new gaming talent and described their journey to achieve success began with a single step through the opening of the gaming outlet thanks to Alisports funded World Electronic Sports Games and has been followed by the setting up of an eSports team. Overall, Alisports places an emphasis on the operation of sports events and the related business of sports media, but not in purchasing the broadcast rights of events. Alibaba also taps into the emerging e-sports sector and build up its e-sports tournaments. Alibaba also expects to strengthen its influence on e-sports through cooperation and with likes of my friend, I certainly bet its role in eSports in China, Africa, Hong Kong and Europe will soon reach all corners of the eSports worldwide.