The world of e-sport kick-started 2018 at Arena of the Stars, Genting Highland as it once again became the host for the second year running for one of the region’s highly anticipated e-sport events, ESL One Genting Minor.
The e-sport event which is part of the Dota 2 Pro Circuit featured a prize pool of RM1.57 million.
In addition, ESL One Genting Minor has grown to be one of the hottest e-sport tournaments in Southeast Asia, which will follow up to the upcoming instalment of The International (TI) in August.
At this year’s ESL One Genting Minor, the audience had the opportunity to watch 16 of the world’s best Dota 2 teams battling it out over the three days of the competition.
The grand finale was a rematch of the last year’s TI’s grand finals as Newbee were faced against TI 2017’s champion Team Liquid.
With much fanfare, anxiety and excitement, Newbee gained the upper hand to defeat Team Liquid with a score line of 3 – 2.
Overall, ESL One Genting Minor was great success as it garnered a crowd of over 5.5k fans while about 2.6 millions from online viewership through Facebook Live, Twitch and HuoMaoTV.
In light of its success, success, TechSideTales had the opportunity to sit down with ESL product senior vice president Ulrich Schulze on his thoughts about the tournament as well as the local e-sport scene.
“It is quite obvious that the e-sport scene in Malaysia has grown to be a very enthusiastic audience. Just by looking at the arena, tickets have been sold out for the entire three days of the tournament. This is enough to show how big scene is in Malaysia.
“It is not just the fans, as we have seen many strong development among the local players,” he said.
He added that more teams have risen up while some international teams have made Malaysia as their home (Fnatic).
“That is why it was a good decision to introduce ESL here to Malaysia as it has been well-received for the two years we have held it. So without a doubt, we will definitely be coming back to Malaysia for years to come,” he said.
Competing at Arena of the Stars, Genting Highlands
Ulrich said the Genting Group had initially approached ESL to hold events at Genting Highland.
“That said, we were also looking for venues around in Malaysia to hold some events. However, after many discussions, we were convinced to hold ESL at Arena of the Stars, Genting Highland as it has a convenient setup – hotel accommodation, shopping malls, eateries and the arena.
“Convenience is key for the players, fans and even for us, the organisers. And based on our success, Genting Highland will be the place for ESL for the coming years,” he said, adding that he is looking forward for the theme park to be reopened.
In regards to future plans, Ulrich said there are plans to introduce more titles to the tournament.
“Counterstrike: Global Offense (CS:GO) is definitely one of the top titles that we are considering. Two years ago, we held a CS:GO qualifier here for a Cologne, France, and it garnered a decent crowd.
“And as since CS:GO was launched in China, it has became phenomenal in Asia and it is something to be look at as an additional title to our tournaments,” he said.
He added ESL is also looking at the mobile e-sport scene as it has grown to be interesting and has exponential growth, especially in a country with a large mobile presence.
“Additionally, we are also considering FIFA while we are explore other options too,” he said, adding that plans to expand would probably take a couple of years while adding CS:GO is expected to happen in either 2019 or 2020.
Red Bull Partnership
For the second time running, Red Bull Product of Europe (Red Bull) is the official energy drink of the tournament and ESL One globally.
“We have worked together with Red Bull for a very long time where it started on smaller projects such as the Red Bull Wings Academy.
“However, today, Red Bull is now our global partners and been providing drinks for the players as well as activation for the fans,” he said.
Ulrich added Red Bull shares the similar vision of ESL which is to partner new and exciting things and to push the boundaries in which e-sport does.