Public money down the drain as concerts planned for Hong Kong e-sports festival are canned

Deposit to secure Hong Kong Coliseum as a venue is forfeited after organiser dissatisfied with the line-up on offer

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 July, 2018, 6:38pm
UPDATED : Friday, 06 July, 2018, 8:38pm

Tens of thousands of Hong Kong tax dollars have gone down the drain after two highly anticipated pop concerts scheduled for the city’s e-sports and music festival next month were cancelled.

The Hong Kong Tourism Board, the organiser, blamed it on the companies bidding to host the shows, saying their proposed lists of artists had failed to meet expectations.

“It was disappointing,” Executive Director Anthony Lau Chun-hon said. “The stars proposed were not attractive enough.”

Concerts had been planned for August 24 and 25 at the Hong Kong Coliseum in Hung Hom as part of the e-Sports & Music Festival Hong Kong. Organisers had promised gamers that world-famous musicians would be there.

Hong Kong held its first e-sports festival, comprising mostly video game tournaments, last August, and the event drew 60,000 people.

The Post understands the organiser of this year’s festival had to forfeit a deposit for the venue booking upon cancelling the concerts. It amounted to less than HK$1 million (US$127,430), according to a source.

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Without revealing any celebrity names, Lau said the companies had proposed inviting several major stars, but could not confirm their availability when they filed their bids for the event.

“It’s public money and we don’t want to risk it,” he said.

The e-sports programmes set to be held from August 24 to 26 would not be affected by the concert cancellations, the tourism board said. They will go ahead as planned at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai, and local singers and international artists will perform on site instead of at the Coliseum.

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Top e-sports players from Hong Kong and around the world will take part in three tournaments: Return of the Legends 2018, Hong Kong PUBG Global Invitational and ZOTAC Cup Masters CS: GO 2018 Grand Finals.

The latest e-sports games and products will be on display. Ticket holders for the tournaments will also be offered access to the Hong Kong Computer and Communications Festival, being held at the same venue.