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League of Legends event delivers economic boost to Rotterdam

Rotterdam received an economic boost of more than €2m (£1.8m/$2.3m) through its hosting of the first League of Legends European Championship (LEC).

The Dutch city’s Ahoy Arena staged the LEC Spring Finals on April 13-14 this year and analysis from Riot Games – the developer of League of Legends –  shows the eSports event had an impressive economic impact on the local area.

According to the analysis, the LEC Spring Finals contributed €2,358,417 to the local economy in Rotterdam. The study, which combined personal on-site surveys with Riot Games’ verified accounts and ticket-sale data, found that guests spent an average of €52.60 per day, and that some 87.13 per cent of the event guests were non-local.

Guests said they would be willing to travel long distances to visit the event, which welcomed visitors from the likes of China, South Korea and Peru. Additionally, 37.83 per cent of international visitors said they would consider moving to Rotterdam if the right job opportunity arose.

Alban Dechelotte, head of business development and sponsorships for the LEC, said: “Esports is maturing. We’re establishing processes based on long-standing sports to elevate the industry and to develop the ecosystem further.

“At the same time we’re offering something traditional sports doesn’t have, a younger tech-oriented audience, and this provides tremendous value for cities looking to attract a hard to reach demographic, whilst the broadcast potential of esports means we’re able to promote a city on an international scale. Streaming knows no borders.”

Riot Games, in association with Burson Cohn & Wolfe Sports, developed a programme that saw over 40 cities bid to host the first edition of the LEC Finals. The high demand has resulted in Riot Games expanding its programme, with cities being invited to bid two years in advance with applications for the 2021 event now open.

Ahoy Arena hosts the annual Rotterdam Open tennis tournament and has staged Premier League Darts events since 2016. It has staged a number of other sports and entertainment events over the years.

Jolanda Jansen, chief executive of the arena, said: “Our indoor arena is made for big and exciting sporting events and is the perfect location in Rotterdam, and even in the Netherlands, for esports tournaments. Amazing atmosphere, great audience and we would love to host more esports events in the future.”

Ahoy Arena is also hoping to host the Eurovision Song Contest in 2020. The event will be held in the Netherlands after the Dutch won this year’s event in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Image: Ahoy Arena