US eSports Federation founding member questions esports venue investment

Lance Mudd, founding member of the US eSports Federation, told today’s Sports Decision Makers Summit that valuations for esports stadia were unreasonably high.

Speaking at the conference in Miami, Mudd said it was not clear there was the appetite from fans that could supply the various initiatives for physical esports stadia in the US.

“When I see these $50m valuations coming in,” he said. “It’s kind of difficult to see how they are going to make the revenue.

“I do know [casual esports friends] want to go to an event once in a year; I don’t know if they’ll want to do that every week.”

He said that Formula One-style temporary stadia looked a better bet, adding: “I don’t know if the NFL model, which it seems like Blizzard is doing, is going to be the sustainable model for esports.”

Mudd was speaking on a panel alongside Electronic Gaming Federation chief executive Tyler Schrodt and Bobby Sharma, founding member of the Electronic Sports Group.

Sharma told the conference that esports represented an opportunity for traditional sports to hedge against the aging of their fanbases, saying: “There’s a lot of really smart owners in the NBA. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that you saw dozens of owners get involved in assets in the esports space.

“I think it makes sense as a hedge, I think it makes sense with that it’s the NBA owners rather than the NFL, which has a more conservative ownership group.”