The PRI Esports Arena Presented by SRO Motorsports America brought the ESports and racing communities together in an unprecedented way, and with over 200 applicants jumping at the occasion to put their skills to the test in front of both in-person and online audiences tuning in worldwide, it became clear that such an event was long overdue.
The success of the three-day event is a testament to the growing interest in both real life racing and the increasingly popular realm of virtual racing, and shows great promise for being a driving force in the future of these industries.
Where Virtual Meets Reality
As Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium was filled with thousands of eager attendees, it proved once more that esports has the power to attract highly engaged audiences. Although the barrier to entry in motorsports has traditionally been elevated, the unique format of the PRI Esports Arena Presented by SRO Motorsports America provided an immersive platform that was able to intertwine the power of the digital landscape with a hands-on experience, all while remaining accessible to the masses.
Creating a space for motorsport enthusiasts to share their passion is crucial for the development of the sport on all fronts, connecting fans, drivers, teams, and vendors in order to come together and open doors to further opportunities.
Expanding International Audiences
It’s no secret that esports has been a rapidly growing field, but the proof is also in the numbers. With a total reach of over 2.3 million, accompanied by over 15 million impressions, it’s clear that the conversation over the importance of nurturing this industry will only continue to get bigger.
Nearly thirty thousand viewers tuned in across YouTube and Twitch to view the action, transcending geographical boundaries and showcasing that motorsports have the power to attract and appeal to all demographics when given the opportune outlets. The PRI Esports Arena Presented by SRO Motorsports America not only provided people with an outstanding source of entertainment, both in person and online, but also served as a gateway into the world of racing.
This crossover not only further encourages current motorsport enthusiasts to engage with racing in new, innovative ways, but also aids in bridging the gap into different sectors in order to create long-term success for the industry overall.
“Sim racing is an accessible way to get more people involved in motorsports,” explained sim racing driver and streamer Annemarie D'Alessandro. “Sim racing can be done no matter the weather or time of year, so it can give race fans something to watch and drivers to cheer for during the off-season of the real life racing series. As a streamer, we see increased viewership during the winter months when there are no other real life races taking place, and the engagement levels from audiences are elevated as well. It has been great to see more involvement and advocacy from racing drivers highlighting the importance of sim racing. There are even groups pushing for sim-to-real programs, which will certainly allow for more talent to enter the driver pool for real life races without the high cost barrier of the typical karting to cars pipeline.”
Showcasing Innovation and Technology
Cutting-edge technology not only drives forward and enhances the level of competition, but also connects esports and motorsports in deeply intrinsic ways. The PRI Esports Arena Presented by SRO Motorsports America showcased the latest advancements in gaming, simulators, and racing technology, with partners Assetto Corsa Competizione and Fanatec displaying the level of innovation that has been achieved to be able to seamlessly mirror the intricacies of racing into an online format.
“We not only want to elevate the racing simulator experience, but we want to provide valuable feedback and innovations that influence real-world racing,” said Fanatec. “Our aim is to push the boundaries of what is possible in the virtual world and make it a reality on track as well. It was phenomenal to see the floor of the Lucas Oil Stadium filled with Fanatec sim rigs, and further demonstrated that there is a great deal of potential in continuing to merge these two forms of motorsports.”
Looking to the Future
After a successful first edition of the PRI Esports Arena Presented by SRO Motorsports America, the objective is continued growth with a strategic initiative to see the success of both esports and motorsports flourish and reach new heights.
Bridging the gap between the real and the virtual serves as a catalyst for innovation and technological advancements, creates a merging point for fans and professionals, and expands engaged audiences worldwide. Passion knows no boundaries, and this pioneering collaboration is a testament to the transformative power of embracing technology and evolving with the times to ensure a prosperous and sustainable future for racing.