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Esports fans clamor to get tickets

China Daily | Updated: 2023-09-26 09:22
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Esports tickets costing up to $137 are like gold dust at the Asian Games, with desperate fans signing up multiple times to a lottery system in the hope of getting the chance to see their gaming heroes live.

The unlucky ones are left waiting outside the gates of the futuristic-looking Hangzhou Esports Centre, craning their necks to catch a glimpse of their heroes on the official Games buses as they pass by.

Esports is making its debut as a medal event in the Chinese city, seen as a major step towards one day being included in the Olympics program, with renowned gamers such as South Korea's Lee "Faker" Sanghyeok in action. Medals are up for grabs across seven gaming titles, including Arena of Valor, League of Legends and EA Sports FC Online.

Underlining just how popular it is, esports is the only competition at the Games where tickets were allocated through an initial online lottery, before being opened up last week for direct purchase.

At around 1,000 yuan ($137) per ticket, esports is one of the most expensive events to watch at the Asiad. "Getting tickets for the esports competition was quite intense," said Xu Kezhen, a 20-year-old fan at the swish new venue.

"I had to try five or six times before finally getting one. Everyone wants to come and support the Chinese team and their favorite players, so there is a rush to grab the tickets and show their support."

The hassle and expense did not deter Zhao Xiaohan, who signed up for all possible lotteries before eventually bagging a seat in the arena.

"It felt like quite a challenge to secure the ticket, and luck played a role as well," Zhao, 23, said.

Another lucky spectator, Jiang Xinyou, 29, said: "I really wanted to see the Chinese team play, but I wasn't able to get tickets for those matches."

Those who made it inside the 4,500-capacity arena waved light-sticks and cheered as two-dimensional "heroes" battled it out, controlled by athletes furiously swiping at their phone screens.

Games organizers, who have not said how many tickets they are releasing in total, require spectators to register their identification documents when buying tickets and to show them when entering the venue in an effort to prevent scalping.

AFP — China Daily

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