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Gaming and economy are two terms that, historically, haven’t had a lot in common. But as esports continues to grow into a lucrative, extremely popular platform, they’re showing up in many surprising places. In Las Vegas, esports is taking on a role poised to change and boost the local economy in an unconventional manner, even for Sin City. 

eSports conventions and tournaments are a blossoming craze, taking over entertainment venues all over the world. Although some of the most popular showcases, like EVO, have been taking place for at least a decade, esports is finally having its big moment. 

The massive appeal of gaming events is lost on those, not in the know. After all, esports matchups and tournaments could easily be held online, with players remotely engaged from miles away. But as eager attendees and voracious gamers can attest—that’s no fun. 

Attending an esports tournament is akin to spectatoring a wrestling match, without the spandex, sweat and showboating. Viewers at esports matchups jostle one another for the best vantage point, admiring the technique, style and unexpected moves the focused competitors perform, cheering and jeering as if on cue. 

Many esports attendees flock to tournaments for more than a spectacular show of skill. The vast majority are thrilled to simply be around like-minded others. iI a world where traditional sports, music and other fandoms reign supreme, the reprieve of being surrounded by fellow gamers is like a cool breeze on a summer night. 

That crowd of like-minded gamers is expanding rapidly. eSports spectatorship is presently one of the fastest-growing industries, attracting the attention of both fans and sponsors alike. Advertisers are taking note of the growing market and throwing their hats in the ring to become one of the brands recognized and associated with the growing craze. 

With the demand for esports tournaments and gatherings growing daily, the brands and venues that are prepared to support them are turning up the heat and organizing events that appeal to gaming tourists and locals alike. EVO’s most recent tournament drew nearly 20,000 tourists to Las Vegas, where esports gambling is joining ranks with casinos and other betting platforms. The state has already created the Esports Technical Advisory Committee, a panel composed of industry experts tasked with proposing regulations around esports gambling.

The tournaments and world-renowned gamers aren’t the only attractions that draw the crowd and their wallets to Vegas. Celebrity-level influencers also ignite the gaming community’s interest, bringing their massive social media followings to the gaming arena. Popular influencers also bring the potential for collaboration, enhanced exposure and additional revenue to the table.

As fans flock to Vegas to witness their favorite esports athletes compete, they also support the local economy outside the tournament. Travel to the city itself, bolstered by hotel stays, daily meals and entertainment, has long been the Strip’s primary source of income. Local casinos, shopping, fine dining and entertainment draw crowds worldwide, offering attractions that most of us can’t get at home. 

While the primary demographic of the games (18 to 35-year-olds) will undoubtedly visit the countless casinos, bars and hangouts nearby, younger fans will also find plenty of entertainment suited to the underage crowd. Even NFL fans who come to the city to catch a Raiders game may find themselves immersed in Madden madness when the fourth quarter ends.

To the Las Vegas Convention, Visitors Authority and local economy as a whole, adding esports to the mix is a surefire way to stimulate and strengthen the progress and prosperity of the region and have a little bit of fun while they’re at it.