Vancouver signals esports ambitions with new regional strategy

Vancouver signals esports ambitions with new regional strategy

Vancouver Economic Commission & partners publish landmark study mapping Vancouver and B.C.’s transformation into international esports hub

February 18, 2021 (Vancouver, B.C.) – Vancouver’s bench strengths in entertainment, technology, and sporting events could yield unexplored opportunities for B.C.’s post-COVID-19 economy, says a new report by the Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC). The Vancouver Esports Strategy assesses Metro Vancouver’s base potential as an esports hub while covering the economic benefits associated with tapping into an industry anticipated to double global revenues from $1.1 billion to $2.2 billion in the next four years.

“Vancouver shares many key attributes with the world’s top esports hubs, so our key challenges are less about building new things and more about pulling together the ecosystem we already have. That includes urging leaders in industries like tourism, telecommunications, broadcasting and education to consider opportunities in esports,” explains Shawn Caldera, Vancouver Economic Commission’s esports coordinator. “It means finding the local esports companies talking to overseas investors and the local investors chatting to U.S. esports teams and finding a way to connect them instead.”

The report augments an overview of leading practices in international esports hubs with a survey of esports businesses and communities throughout B.C., including COVID-19’s impact on both. It lays out a general roadmap for building Metro Vancouver as an esports centre with a gap analysis and strategy recommendations aimed at helping policymakers, businesses, investors and community stakeholders learn more about the emerging industry and the region’s greatest barriers to success.

“The Government of Canada is pleased to support Vancouver Economic Commission’s esports strategy, an exciting example of British Columbia’s economic diversity,” says The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for PacificCAN. “By tapping into the booming global market for esports, the VEC is inspiring young Canadians to harness emerging digital technology, while building on Vancouver’s bench strength as a hub for creative and entertainment industries. British Columbia’s tech industry continues to attract investments from local and global stakeholders, creating well-paying jobs and boosting regional economic growth.”

Numerous esports industry stakeholders noted the significance of government support and confidence throughout the esports strategy’s consultation process. “The esports industry has seen tremendous growth over the last few years and shows no signs of slowing down,” says Spiro Khouri, CEO of The Gaming Stadium (NYSE: TGS). “B.C. has the opportunity to be a hub for esports, as it already has buy-in from secondary and post-secondary schools, has hosted large-scale international events, and has anchoring esports companies trading on stock exchanges, including ours. Additional support would allow us to scale even further and showcase the talent in B.C.”

Vancouver Esports Strategy: Esports’ access to revenue streams across multiple industry verticals is a potential boon for post-COVID economic recovery efforts.

The Vancouver Esports Report highlights alternate modes of revenue generation for businesses in events management, software development, hardware development, games development, and media and content creation.

“Over the last 10 years, esports has grown in popularity with major events drawing international audiences,” comments Royce Chwin, President and CEO of Tourism Vancouver. “Investment in the esports events industry has provided Tourism Vancouver access to new markets and travellers that broaden our marketing reach, and helped Vancouver to be recognized as a base for innovation and creativity.

“The development of Metro Vancouver as an esports hub will be an important contributing factor to the rebuilding and recovery of the visitor economy, and the related growth of partners in the digital entertainment field. It is a priority for our 39 downtown Vancouver hotel association members,” says Russ Cowan, Executive Director of the Vancouver Hotel Destination Association. “This emerging industry in Vancouver will support not only our hotels, but also the culture, innovation and vibrancy of our destination for residents and visitors alike.”

“Vancouver has a strong interactive gaming cluster and is a natural fit to develop as an esports hub, especially since hosting the International Dota 2 Championship in 2018,” notes Chwin. “When it is safe to hold live events again, we see esports as part of the rebuild of our visitor economy in bringing visitors back to Vancouver and supporting tourism and hospitality businesses in our region.”

The Vancouver Esports Strategy may be accessed here.

About the Vancouver Economic Commission

The Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC) serves one of the world’s fastest-growing, low-carbon economies. VEC works to strengthen Vancouver’s economic future by providing programs, supporting local companies, convening with purpose, attracting targeted high-impact investment, and conducting and publishing thoughtful leading-edge industry research. As the economic development agency for the City of Vancouver, VEC contributes to building a prosperous, inclusive, zero-carbon and resilient Vancouver economy, competitively positioned in the global market today and in the future.

VEC respectfully acknowledges that it is located on the unceded ancestral territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ / sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

Media contact

Media interested in interviews, images or other visuals may contact Ingrid Valou, Communications & Media Relations Specialist at the Vancouver Economic Commission.
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