The Melbourne Esports OpenTM , presented by JB Hi-Fi, has made a stunning debut with over 12,000 avid esports fans flocking to Melbourne Park over the weekend of 1-2 September. The event saw fans of all ages turn up to watch, play and compete in the biggest number of live esports tournaments ever held at an event in Australia.
The online interest was also huge, with fans viewing content from the Melbourne Esports Open over 12 million times across Twitter, Facebook and Reddit. The massive esports community conversation on Twitter saw #MEO2018 trending number 1 nationally on Saturday.
Co-promoter TEG’s CEO Geoff Jones said the success of this year’s Melbourne Esports Open proved that esports has a bright future on Australia’s major events calendar.
“We see in Europe, Asia and North America that major esports tournaments attract live audiences of 40,000 to 50,000 fans and millions online,” said Jones. “There is no reason to doubt that Australia can follow that trend and make the Melbourne Esports Open a huge live event and a significant global esports competition.
“I commend the TEG Live team and our co-promoters for producing a spectacular live event that has set a new benchmark in Australia’s esports landscape, but we now have the challenge to make it bigger and better in 2019.”
The League of Legends’ Oceanic Pro League Grand Final was the main event on Sunday 2 September, with fan favourites and four-time champions the Dire Wolves taking home the trophy after toppling the Chiefs Esports Club in a 3-1 victory. The Dire Wolves will now represent Australia in the League of Legends World Championship in South Korea, and represent the Oceania region in the global championship.
The Overwatch Contenders Australian Semi and Grand Finals shared the spotlight on the Rod Laver Arena main stage on Saturday 1 September. The Sydney Drop Bears took home the title as champions of Overwatch Contenders Australia Season 2, taking out Dark Sided 4-1 in the Grand Final. It was a titanic struggle where the unrelenting pressure and cool decision-making of the Drop Bears was too much for Dark Sided after a great start.
Meanwhile, Margaret Court Arena was transformed into the ESL Tournament Zone – a multi-tournament venue, featuring Forza, Overwatch, CS:GO, Pokemon and headlined by global sensation Fortnite.
Outside of Rod Laver Arena and Margaret Court Arena, thousands of fans packed into the JB Hi-Fi Game On Zone, to free play some of the hottest games along with first to play access to some of the biggest upcoming games including Marvel’s Spider-Man, Tom Clancy’s The Division and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.
Melbourne Esports Open is co-promoted by ESL, TEG Live and Fairfax Events with the support of Visit Victoria, Victoria’s tourism and events agency. Visit Victoria CEO Peter Bingeman said:
“Melbourne Park is synonymous with major events and it was fantastic to see the precinct utilised in an innovative, new way this past weekend, welcoming Australia’s biggest esports celebration.
“The inaugural Melbourne Esports Open adds digital experiences to Melbourne’s enviable calendar of events and we are confident that the multi-day festival will move from strength-to-strength next year, and beyond.”
JB Hi-Fi, Australia’s largest home entertainment retailer, has joined the Melbourne Esports Open as official presenting partner for three years.
JB Hi-Fi Group CEO Richard Murray said: “It was fantastic to see how much fans enjoyed the event. The energy level and excitement in the JB Hi-Fi Game On Zone over the weekend was amazing. Delivering such a genuinely engaging experience for Melbourne Esports Open visitors was only possible with the support of so many passionate JB Hi-Fi team members and our suppliers.”
“Bringing thousands of esports fans to the spiritual home of sport in Melbourne has been a monumental task for our team,” said Nick Vanzetti, SVP of ESL Asia-Pacific Japan. “To see this scale of event come to life is a testament to the growth of esports in Australia, and we expect next year’s Melbourne Esports Open to continue this growth.”