Turkey’s growing esports community crowned by new venue
Engin Esen – ISTANBUL
Considering the country’s estimated 12 million-strong fan base of esports, even the Riot Games Esports Stage’s seating capacity of 1,000 can be deemed as relatively low.
“Surveys and statistics show that almost 30 million people in Turkey play video games. We can say that some 12 million of them consist of the younger generation with a perception of esports. Tickets for a final game at the 15,000-seating-capacity Ülker Sports Arena go sold out in four hours,” Murat Tayhan, a communication officer at the Association Esports Clubs, told Hürriyet Daily News.
“The figures are incredible and keep increasing. Awareness is also on the rise,” he added.
Istanbul’s big three sports clubs, Fenerbahçe, Galatasaray and Beşiktaş, embraced the trend quite well, according to Tayhan, who is also among founders of the Galakticos esports team. Anatolian sports clubs Bursaspor and Trabzonspor have been following suit.
“Investment team Supermassive is among the best in Europe. Royal Bandits won the world title in playing Hearthstone game. Space Soldiers, one of the best CS:GO teams in the world, represent Turkey successfully,” he added.
One of the well-known Turkish esport players, Sergen Çelik, also known as Broken Blade, was transferred to the United States. Local players sign contracts for wages up to 700,000 Turkish Liras ($130,000). Esports economic volume is running towards $1 billion worldwide.
The human resources departments of some Turkish companies also pay attention to esports, seeking a beneficiary to enhance discipline, motivation and team spirit among the employees.
Watching the esports finals in huge football stadiums would not be a surprise, he adds.
Beşiktaş’s Vodafone Park Arena already houses a gaming area. There are tens of gaming houses in shopping malls and modern building estates of Istanbul.
“We have been building a museum as well. Visitors will be able to explore the journey of LoL in esports,” he recently told daily Hürriyet.