Competitive video gaming is nothing new, but its surge in popularity is taking the world by storm. Now the fastest growing spectator sport, esports will cross the billion-dollar threshold in 2019 with a global audience expected to reach 380 million online viewers.

With an unprecedented diverse and far-reaching audience, it’s no wonder music plays a starring role in the rise of esports. From the video games themselves to live tournaments infused with Olympics-style grandeur, music and esports have created a cultural phenomenon that has spawned a booming entertainment ecosystem.

A recent Forbes article explored the intersection of music and esports with an in-depth look at the big business that’s building momentum across live and digital experiences. The article ran the same week Drake and Scooter Braun announced their investment in 100 Thieves and HyperX named Post Malone brand ambassador.

While more and more brands, media, producers, marketers and investors are flocking to the music and esports ecosystem, entertainment lifestyle ticketing brand Attendee.com has remained a frontrunner for the entertainment merger that’s redefining the attendee experience.

“Music has always been a vital part of the video gaming experience that gamers enjoy and have come to expect, but as esports grows and extends its influence, more and more music lovers are embracing gaming along with their favorite music,” said Attendee.com partner Mark Zanders. “We’re seeing a growing number of attendees that purchase tickets to see their favorite artists in concert are gaming—and eager to explore the world of esports. That’s why it’s always been essential for Attendee.com to provide total access to what attendees now consider the ultimate experience—music and esports.”

Take gaming’s rise at music festivals. For attendees, watching celebrity gamers play video games is turning out to be just as exciting as seeing their favorite artists. SXSW Gaming is now a major draw for the world’s leading cultural conference, while Hyperplay by Riot Games and MTV is leading a new crop of festivals dedicated entirely to music and esports.

As entertainment producers, Zanders’ Attendee.com team experienced gaming’s impact on live music at Lollapalooza’s first-ever Gaming Lounge. The exclusive-vibe at the festival’s new backstage area was packed with music lovers and gaming fans watching celebrity gamer Ninja take on artists and special guests throughout the four-day music festival. According to Zanders, Attendee.com team plans to introduce gaming to Chicago’s North Coast Music Festival and is eyeing concerts in the Attendee.com line-up ripe for adding gaming to the mix.

So why is music and esports such big business? Because it’s mutually beneficial. Music gains from esports unprecedented reach through streaming to hundreds of millions of attendees through online platforms like Twitch and YouTube. The FIFA eWorld Cup 2018 Grand Finale in London generated more than 29 million views—a 400% increase in viewership from 2017—and engaged more than 20 million players from 60 different countries. And that’s just one esports tournament.

Beyond streaming, esports relies on music to bolster the experience at live events and tournaments. While the online audience is massive, esports fans are filling stadiums and major concert venues to watch gamers compete for million-dollar championships. Music serves as the backdrop for esports events—and artists take centerstage as an opening act, halftime headliner and finale for tournaments, some on par with the largest concerts and sporting events in the world. In 2017, the Intel Extreme Masters World Championship finals in Katowice, Poland drew a whopping 173,000 live attendees—about 100,000 more than the Super Bowl the same year.

In the U.S., venues known for concerts like Madison Square Garden and Staples Center in Los Angeles draw tens of thousands of attendees at a time for esports tournaments with accompanying musical performances. Taking a cue from China and Europe, the U.S. is now home to several esports venues, including the newest Esports Stadium Arlington in Texas, now the largest at 100,000 square feet, and the state-of-the-art Esports Arena Las Vegas at Luxor Hotel—all designed to deliver the ultimate attendee experience.

While the intersection of music and esports is bustling, the Forbes article points out that brands and artists approaching solely to benefit from the hype should just keep moving. Authenticity is an integral part of music and esports. Music lovers have discerning tastes, but the entire esports industry grew out of a community—a community of dedicated gamers that remain passionate about gaming and the experiences that gaming creates.

Zanders says Attendee.com recognizes the distinction and appreciates that authenticity is at the core where music and esports meet. “It’s exciting to be part of the music and esports ecosystem because it’s constantly changing and always challenging us to stay true to what we believe in—giving every attendee access to the ultimate experience for those unforgettable moments that last forever.”

Attendee.com is a dynamic entertainment lifestyle brand focused on engaging the attendee with the ultimate experience. We activate esports events and music festivals. We manage ticketing and ecommerce through official affiliations with Ticketmaster, Amazon and iTunes.We curate an online lifestyle magazine that offers a virtual backstage pass and inside look at the latest in the music and sports scene. Our dynamic team has an extensive track record in successfully connecting industry giants with market-leading sponsors in sports and entertainment to cultivate attendee-focused experience solutions. From virtual to VIP and from the concert stage to the gaming arena, Attendee.com delivers immersive experiences that ignite the attendee.