Huge Demand for Esports Tickets at Hangzhou Asian Games
Esports are set to take center stage at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, which will have its opening ceremony on Saturday. However, getting your hands on a ticket has proved a mammoth task.
Citing estimates by the Games’ Organizing Committee, domestic media has reported that at least 5 million people have applied for tickets priced between 200 and 1,000 yuan ($27-$137) — higher than popular sports such as table tennis, diving, and swimming.
Tickets for major professional gaming events often run higher than those of the Asian Games, with a tournament for Honor of Kings, the Chinese version of Arena of Valor, priced between 488 and 1,688 yuan for a final earlier this year.
The esports matches will be held in the starship-like Hangzhou E-sports Center — a custom-built venue for esports fitted with holographic projection equipment and 15 big screens, as well as a capacity of 4,000 — from Sept. 24 to Oct. 2.
The Games, which had the first day of events on Tuesday, marks the much-anticipated debut of esports as a medaled event after they were included as a demonstration sport at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta. Seven games are included: Street Fighter V, EA Sports FC, Arena of Valor, PUBG Mobile, League of Legends, Dream Three Kingdoms 2, and Dota 2.
“We hope to showcase a spectacular esports feast for audiences, including esports fans and broader sport enthusiasts,” Lu Xin, a member of the Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee esports project, told state broadcaster CCTV in June.
Tickets for the esports events were sold using a lottery system that randomly selected spectators by a random draw after they placed their orders — the only sporting event using this system at the Games due to high demand.
In recent months, a string of hashtags related to the sport and the national team have trended on microblogging platform Weibo.
Tickets for most of the other events at the Games are sold out, a check of the official ticketing platform by Sixth Tone shows. Officials have previously said that there were more than 3 million tickets on offer during the Games.
According to a Tencent report published in July, the number of esports players has reached 478 million in China. Spending on esports has increased, with 29% of gamers spending between 500 and 2,000 yuan in the one year up to May 31, 2023, compared to 24% a year earlier.
Editor: Vincent Chow.
(Header image: An aerial view of China Hangzhou E-sports center in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, June 20, 2023. VCG)