CEO Darren Cox revealed the arena during a talk at Esports BAR Miami, an esports conference I’m attending this week. The arena is part of a vertical effort to capture racing game enthusiasts, from the time they start playing in the home to racing in simulators at retail venues to learning how to become real race drivers on the track.
Millennial Esports counts F1 superstars Juan Pablo Montoya and Rubens Barrichello as investors and advisers. In an interview with GamesBeat, Cox said the company has a whole pyramid of potential revenue generators, from high-end simulators down to free-to-play racing games you play at home or on the run.
“Our racing simulation venue in Miami is always packed,” Cox said. “These things are cash cows. The vision is to have linked centers around the world. You can be on a Ferrari simulator. You pay your $25. Then maybe someone says you are good at that, maybe you should try it for real.”
The Allinsports Arena will be the world’s first dedicated esports racing arena and will be located in Miami’s entertainment-heavy Wynwood neighborhood. The 12,000 square-feet arena is scheduled to be open in early 2020. Key to the choice of location was Miami’s well-known car culture, said Cox.
“Miami has so much enthusiasm for cars,” Cox said. “We are in the middle of two huge industries, esports and gaming.”
The arena complex will host traditional esports competitions as part of its growing business model. The facility will train both esports and real-world racing drivers. The company hopes it will be the first of many esports racing facilities planned for around the world.
Cox and Millennial Esports are the creators of the World’s Fastest Gamer contest, which just launched its second season last month. Gamers are competing for the chance to win a prize package worth more than $1 million.
“We take kids who have never driven race cars before. They have learned how to drive in racing simulators,” Cox said. “Then we put them in real race cars. We are doing it in an Aston Martin this year.”
The contest includes F1 and Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya as lead judge and will culminate in a finale contest that pits ten of the fastest esports racers on the planet to battle it out in an arena to win a year of racing for real with R-Motorsport and their partner Aston Martin.
Cox is also the founder of Nissan’s GT Academy, where he turned Grand Turismo gamers into pro racers. He now does the same with World’s Fastest Gamer.
“You can race virtually, but you can also go out and touch the thing and race it for real,” Cox said. “Everything we do is an esports platform.”
Allinesports is also providing a data analytics service for the larger esports industry, via a division dubbed Stream Hatchet. Allinesports also owns the free-to-play racing game maker Eden Games, and it owns a maker of $250,000 racing simulators.
“There’s not enough data in this esports space,” Cox said.
The organizers of Esports BAR Miami paid my way to the event. Our coverage remains objective.