In recent years, the sale of broadcasting and media rights has been the largest source of revenue for most of the esports organizers. The revenue generated from the trade of media rights is used to finance major sporting events, renovate stadiums, and contribute to the development of esports at the grassroots level. Forget hanging out with friends in the local 7-Eleven, or kicking about a football until it’s time for dinner – Thailand’s young people are just as likely to be holed up in their bedrooms competing in eSports gaming tournaments.
But behavioural issues are already becoming apparent and he is among other health experts concerned about a possible epidemic within two decades. Suddenly, game companies have seen their products given legitimacy. An activity once done in the shadows in the days of bedroom computing has exploded into the mainstream. This is a place for serious players and is kitted out with high-performance terminals and stadium platforms custom-designed for tournaments.
If the esport athletes are healthy, they will do well,” Lorthong said. Currently, the federation represents only athletes, due to its strict conditions on who is approved for membership. Athletes must, for example, pass stimulant and health tests, show commitment, respect and be strong role models in society. He feels that his own gaming habits are now under control but remembers days when the situation was different, of hours and hours standing in arcades and department stores until they closed, leaving him to beg for more time. The hallmarks of addiction – lying, cheating and stealing – are eroded away as participants learn to have a healthier relationship with technology.
AIS has announced its vision to support esports in all dimensions. Sale of ticket and merchandise is the core aspect of the esports revenue stream. Currently, ticket sales account for a small percentage of the overall revenue of the esports market as the audience size for the events organized every year rarely exceeds 10,000 per events. Further, many esports fans aren’t willing to travel or pay to watch games played live, especially when they are available to watch on Twitch and YouTube for free. The increasing smartphone penetration and better internet connectivity have led to rise in the number of gamers at a rapid pace. All of this, with the potential of AIS and the strength of partners, both from the public and private sectors.
Meanwhile, the Bangkok Post reports that the institute unofficially estimates 1.6 million Thai children are at risk of gaming addiction, and public health officials increasingly warn that adults are also at risk. Thailand is in the throes of a gaming Esport addiction epidemic, with Thais spending more time online than people in any other nation in Asia. Scores of children and adolescents have been treated for addiction in recent months, their parents spending serious baht on rehab and hospital fees.