Hamburg's 20,000 square metre "Gaming World" to boost e-sports
E-sports is a booming, lucrative sector spearheaded mainly by South Korea, China and Japan. And although the virtual sport requires absolute concentration, rapid reaction and fine motor skills, e-sports is not yet an official sport in Germany. In keeping with the International Olympic Committee’s digital strategy, the "Olympic Virtual Series Premiere for e-Sports" was held in the run-up to the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Meanwhile, the Hamburg-based entrepreneur Tomislav Karajica has come up with a grand plan to ensure the city plays a key role in the sport in future and has invested EUR 50 million. Hamburg News takes a look at the world of e-sports prior to the opening of RCADIA World on August 19, 2021.
Shared living, working and retailing in Gaming House
Players of e-sports train hard to deliver top performances. Conditions will soon be ideal when the RCADIA World opens in east Hamburg near the Nettelnburg S-Bahn station. A mix of gaming house, shared living, working and retailing is being created on 20,000 square metres in the former Telekom conference hotel there. Global turnover in e-sports came to USD 947 in 2020 and is expected to increase to around USD 1.08 billion this year based on merchandising, ticket sales, sponsoring, media rights, digital, streaming and game publisher fees.
Home for "Unicorns of Love"
The "Unicorns of Love" will be sitting in front of their screens raring to go when doors open in late summer. RCADIA World is to become the home of successful, international professional e-players. However, the boot camp is available not only to unicorns. "We are targeting both professional and semi-professional players and anyone toying with the idea of a career in e-sports," said Vivien Mallant, Manager of the Unicorns of Love. RCADIA World's stated goal is to boost e-sports across Germany. Thus, education is vital to the concept, which like all of Karajica's projects, combines various elements that are developed successively. "We will offer workshops and host parents' evenings," Mallant said, adding: "Many parents experience their children's growing enthusiasm for e-sports without really knowing what actually attracts them to the screen. That's exactly the point at which we want to educate them."
Dormitories for students and trainees
Mallant has vast experience of the scene especially since her brother, Fabian, set out to become an e-sports player. In 2013, his parents noticed their son's fervour and turned it into a family business. Jos Mallant is now managing director, Vivien is manager and Fabian is the team's head coach. In 2020, Karajica became a shareholder and the company now has a 100-strong workforce. "Training wall to wall with the Unicorns should create a certain pull," said Sebastian Lampe, Head of e-Sports at Home United Management, which belongs to Karajica's group of companies. "And even moreso by living with them under one roof." In any case, the first dormitories for students and trainees are ready to rent for EUR 390 per month, which is reasonable for Hamburg.
ESL One's lure of USD 1 million in prize money
"The rooms are not big. But they don't have to be because under the shared living concept they are mostly for sleeping. RCADIA offers restaurants, work and entertainment rooms and a separate cinema," Lampe pointed out. The design of the restaurant is based on various ideas to meet the requirements of the international e-sports clientele. During the Electronic Sports League (ESL One), the world's best e-sports teams are pitted against each other and compete for USD 1 million in prize money in the sold-out Barclaycard Arena.
RCADIA will likely be a slightly different conference venue. "The large Telekom conference room is now state-of-the-art and we also have a room complete with a fireplace for smaller events," said Lampe. Work becomes easier when there is a professional games console to relax with after a seminar, congress or symposium. Ultimately, anyone can relax there. "We want to make RCADIA a meeting place for the whole district." The Fridays barbecue in the courtyard has already attracted the first curious people. And the kick-off event on August 19 is likely to spark even more attention. After all, 200 rooms await. "We are pursuing a breathing concept. We will see how things go until the regular opening on New Year's Eve 22/23 ...what does the scene actually want and what does it need and we will react accordingly.”