Allied Esports Entertainment Inc., owner of the HyperX Arena Las Vegas at Luxor, is starting a rewards program that will integrate its Epicbeast non-fungible tokens into real-world experiences.
The company will kick off the program Friday in an “Unleash the Beast” launch party that begins at 5 p.m. at HyperX Arena. It’s free, but attendees must register online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/unleash-the-beast-tickets-327593349527.
Tekken, Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. tournaments will begin shortly after the opening.
Jud Hannigan, CEO of Allied Esports, said the new rewards program is geared to familiarize players and fans with blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies, NFTs — financial securities consisting of digital data in the form of blockchain — as well as Web3, a new version of the internet driven by blockchain.
Under the Epicbeast NFT rewards program, participants at the esports arena will earn Beast Points by participating in tournaments or buying merchandise.
Points can be used to access monthly prizes or they can be collected and cashed in for an Epicbeast NFT. Royalties on collectible figurine sales, high-end monthly giveaways, free merchandise, and access to future metaverse land are a part of the company’s new blockchain project.
Anyone who competes in a tournament at HyperX Arena will receive a raffle ticket called a Beast Pass as a reward. Gamers can also earn Beast Passes through merchandise purchases. Winners of tournaments will receive an Epicbeast NFT.
Hannigan said the rapidly growing popularity of NFTs and cryptocurrency fit right into the demographic of fans who participate in monthly competitions staged at HyperX Arena either in person or online. Thousands of people from around the world regularly log on to participate in or view competitions held in Las Vegas.
Market research company YouGov recently released results from a study that showed the proportion of esports fans likely to use cryptocurrency in the next year increased from 32 percent to 46 percent year-over-year compared to an increase from 11 percent to 19 percent in the general adult population.
Allied Esports has begun using the monthly tournaments at the HyperX Arena to reach fans on live streaming service Twitch and its giveaway show called “For The Horde.” Horde is what the company’s NFT holders are called and each NFT owner is part of “The Horde.”
One recent prize was a round trip to Las Vegas for Friday’s event. Hannigan said he is looking forward to meeting the two prizewinners, one from Germany and another from Switzerland, in Las Vegas.
Hannigan said the move to a rewards program is the latest iteration for Allied.
“The big news for us is that in the last four years, Allied and the HyperX Arena have become a renowned destination,” he said. “They flock to our tournaments, they drive in and fly in to compete on our stage.”
Hannigan said the rewards program is bridging a gap between casual fans and being part of a rewards community.
“We definitely appeal to a digital-first audience,” he said. “They have a natural understanding of how digital ownership works. We look at this as the next step.”
Allied isn’t the first group to dive into the NFT world.
In March, MGM Resorts International took a technological leap into entertainment by becoming the first Las Vegas resort to sell NFT-enabled live performance experiences.
MGM, partnering with New York City-based ticketing blockchain YellowHeart, sold 1,100 NFT tickets to performances by the Jabbawockeez dance troupe for its new production, “Timeless.”
NFT ticket holders received premium seats, behind-the-scenes access and meet-and-greet opportunities at Jabbawockeez’s “Timeless” events in April.