Hong Kong esports festival back on after organisers find weather-proof venue

But the Hong Kong Coliseum will hold fewer visitors and ticket prices are being cut

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 July, 2017, 9:09pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 July, 2017, 9:47am

The city’s first e-sports and music festival will be relocated to the weather-proof Hong Kong Coliseum in Hung Hom after organisers decided the original venue on the Central harbourfront was not such a good idea in the sweltering summer.

But the trade-off for holding it in a smaller venue will be fewer visitors. Tickets go on sale on Friday, with a cheaper range added to the list.

After flagging the event since February, last week the Hong Kong Tourism Board suspended ticket sales for the e-sports event – a video game tournament – and pop concert “in view of the recent unstable weather”.

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The executive director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, Anthony Lau Chun-hon, said on Wednesday the Coliseum was a “much better venue” as it was immune to the changeable weather and easily accessible.

Lau said a controllable setting would help gamers focus on their competition. Visitors would also be offered a comfortable environment to enjoy the games.

Asked why the board did not opt for an indoor location in the first place, Lau said that was their first choice but they had to settle for the harbourfront because all suitable indoor venues were booked.

The Coliseum only became available two weeks ago when another event fell through.

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The festival runs from August 4 to 6, with former champions of a popular video game, League of Legends, from around the world expected to take part in an invitational event. K-pop boy group Shinee and other artists under Korean entertainment company S.M. Entertainment will perform.

“This is the first time we have held such an event in Hong Kong. We want to do it well and develop it into a long-term event,” Lau said.

He expected tourists to make up 10 per cent of numbers. However, ticket revenue could fall below expectations as the new venue would not hold as many people, the board admitted.

Lau expected about 4,000 to 5,000 at the video game tournament, down from the estimate of 6,000 to 7,000 in Central. The audience for the K-pop concert would be down about 40 per cent, he said.

Cheaper tickets would also be available – HK$80 for the tournament and HK$660 and HK$880 for the concert, as well as more expensive options – as some seats in the Coliseum were far away from the main stage.

The tourism board hopes the festival will attract younger overseas visitors with plenty of spare cash, after a 4.5 per cent drop in tourist arrivals last year.