50,000 expected at Hong Kong’s first e-sports and music festival

League of Legends champions and K-pop stars the main attraction at three-day show

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 July, 2017, 6:47pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 August, 2017, 2:49pm

About 50,000 video gamers, K-pop fans and tourists are set to descend on Hong Kong next month for its first e-sports and music festival as the city seeks to broaden its appeal among free-spending youth amid a tourism downturn.

Twenty former world champions of the online game, League of Legends, from Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, mainland China, North America and Europe will compete on August 4 and August 7 in front of a mass audience at the Coliseum in Hung Hom.

For the uninitiated, the game is a test of strategy, skill and speed in which two teams of five players each try to destroy their opponents’ castle.

Mason Hung Chung-hing, general manager of the events and products department of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, said: “Our statistics show that around half of tourists staying overnight are young people aged between 16 and 30. What attracts them most are concerts, e-sports contests and tours highlighting local culture.”

Tickets for the August 5 pop concert at the Coliseum, featuring a dozen South Korean singers and groups, have already sold out.

Electronic sports are becoming an increasingly popular form of entertainment, reaching a global audience of 226 million in 2015, many of them young people with money and time to spare.

A report in February by NewZoo, a game market intelligence company, predicted annual global revenue of US$696 million, more than half of which would be generated in China and North America.

E-sports are heading to the Asian Games and probably Olympics – but cashing in on the revolution might be more difficult than it appears.

Tourist arrivals in Hong Kong dropped by 4.5 per cent to 56.65 million last year from 2015, though there was a 3.2 per cent rise in the first five months of this year on the same period in 2016.

Another festival highlight will be a zone showcasing games and e-sports equipment from about 20 brands, which will be open daily from 11am to 10pm. These include the first sofa in Hong Kong designed for mobile and tablet game players, along with various debuting games.

On the main stage will be a ring for gaming professionals to battle it out, with visitors given the chance to test their skills against the best in an open public challenge.

The League of Legends champions will also meet fans and sign autographs on the main stage on August 4 and 5.

Admission is HK$10 per person, but visitors will receive two coupons of the same value that can be used to buy refreshments.