D.C. Plans to Spend More Than $1M on Esports

Washington D.C. placed a big bet on esports with high hopes it will be a winner in the entertainment industry. The city's convention and sports authority, Events DC, says the city has already spent heavily to establish its esports and estimates the total cost this year to be over a million dollars.

Events DC envisions an active esports arena that is frequently filled with thousands of fans from throughout the region. Hopping on the latest entertainment trend is always a financial risk, but all signs point to the growth of the industry. An estimated 186 million people currently watch esports online.

The wager with D.C.'s big investments is that their esports arena can attract those fans to show up in person for live video game competitions. The events will be held in D.C.'s $69 million Entertainment and Sports Arena in Southeast. Built for basketball and concerts, the arena is being outfitted for esports tournaments.

The city is hoping esports attract a new group of tourists and help boost local businesses. On top of the money the city has already invested, millions of private dollars are funneling into D.C. esports. Local businessman Mark Ein is leading an investment group that recently purchased an Overwatch franchise slot in the city. The franchise purchase alone is more than 30-times what the city has spent so far.

Ein's bet on esports could earn his investment group millions each year through ticket sales, sponsorships, and media rights. D.C.'s plan has more variables. The city is in a race against other cities in the region, not just for fans but for industry recognition.

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