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Volume 26 No. 207
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Esports Leader Talks Improving In-Venue Experience For Fans

While most esports tournaments have high energy, pressure and a captive audience, there is plenty of room to improve the in-venue experience for fans. ESL North America CEO & Managing Dir Yvette Martinez-Rea spoke with THE DAILY at CES in Las Vegas to address the sport's next steps. "We need to do a better job at the fan experience outside of the stadium area," she said. "Typically, you go to an esports event and you're just watching the stage for six hours. ... There's really nothing else for you to do. Traditionally, we have been so focused on creating the best experience on the stage." Martinez-Rea pointed to experimenting with what's occurring in the concourse, trying to create more of an expo feel. Legacy sports leagues excel at offering fans plenty of opportunities to spend money in the concourse. However, esports leaders do not want to lose the in-venue ambience. "You feel like the fans own the experience," Martinez-Rea said. "They are bringing in crazy outfits and sitting wherever they want to sit. It's still very loose and it very much feels like they bring the personality to it." As esports evolves, Martinez-Rea said the challenge will be to preserve events' spontaneity and energy should opportunities arise to add standard commercial breaks or other traditional sports elements. "We don't want to lose the energy," she said.