It’s back, bigger and better than last year. Melbourne, brace for the Melbourne Esports Open, kicking off on August 31. We spoke with TEG Live managing director, Tim McGregor.

“Our first event was like we were putting the car together while we were driving at 100km down the road and we did it in a five-week period, which was extraordinary.”

That’s the way Tim McGregor describes the inaugural Melbourne Esports Open that opened its doors in early September, drawing a crowd of 12,000 excited fans, extensive media and broadcast coverage, and social media interaction. McGregor pitched the idea as a ‘Big Day Out’ of esports, harnessing a festival for gamers and esports fans alike in the middle of Melbourne’s famed sporting precinct.

This year, the event is planned to be even bigger.

“We’ve got aspirations to really double the audience into 2019 and to build out the event right across the whole precinct of Melbourne Olympic Park – taking over Grand Slam Oval and the distance between Rod Laver Arena and Melbourne Arena, which will become the new home of the JB Hi-Fi Game On Zone,” explains an enthusiastic McGregor.

“We’re also going to be announcing very shortly some international components which will come to the event. I think for the fans, seeing some of those international players and components coming in is going to be an exciting development. With adding the Grand Slam Oval, that will be a large open space which will allow the general public access, but for the people who’ve got a Festival Pass it will allow you to get into Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne Arena and Rod Laver Arena. So, we’re really trying to open up as much as possible and to expand into those areas, adding more outdoor activations and opportunities for fans to connect with the stars of these sports and the games that are being competed.”

This is the second year of JB Hi-Fi’s sponsorship of the event, and if you attended last year, you can attest to the endless queues and packed areas within the Game On Zone, where publishers were offering first-time opportunities to play games releasing in the lead-up to Christmas. The same will exist this year, except JB will be relocating to Melbourne Arena.

“We’ll take over the entirety of Melbourne Arena and transform that into the JB Hi-Fi Game On Zone.”

“Last year [the Game On Zone] was absolutely chockers from the start to the finish of the event, and that function centre was too small. So we’ll take over the entirety of Melbourne Arena and transform that into the JB Hi-Fi Game On Zone,” McGregor says.

“JB are an absolutely incredible partner because they bring the authenticity, the credibility, the legitimacy, because of their existing relationship with gaming and esports fans. When we’re talking to brands about their interest in getting into esports, each one of them is trying to find a way to enter into the space in a way that seems legitimate and credible. So the fans are saying, ‘Why are you here?’ to a brand.

“They have to deliver some level of value or there needs to be some rationale, and JB of course has got that absolutely sewn up because they have got that connection already. They’re the best brand in terms of how they have engaged with the esports fan-base and have all of the equipment and peripherals, and relationships with the publishers. They’ve worked really hard to establish that foothold within the ecosystem and that means the fans already have a great affinity with JB Hi-Fi.”

The 2019 Melbourne Esports Open is set to run from Saturday, August 31 through to Sunday, September 1. Get tickets here.