While e-sports may still be at its infancy, Japan's largest fighting game tournament seems to be off to a bleak birth.
According to financial reports by Hearts United Group which runs the EVO Japan tournament, the event made a loss of 124 million yen (approx. $1.13 million USD), contributing to the group's decline in operation profit for their fourth quarter. The company in its statement noted that while EVO Japan was a huge hit with over 7,000 entrants, sponsorship income came below expectations while running costs surmounted beyond their planned budget.
Hearts United's media division originally intended to run the event at Akihabara UDX, but after experimenting a test run event [sai] in May 2017, decisions were made to run Evo Japan's preliminaries at a larger venue, which can be presumed as one of the factors that mounted on the event's budget. Preliminaries were held at Ikebukuro's Sunshine city Bunka-kaikan venue, a wide-floor venue commonly known amongst the pop-culture generation for doujin events such as Sunshine Creation and the soon to come Pixiv Market. The finals were held at Akihabara UDX as originally intended. The event did not recoup from players due to its free entry; spectators were charged for seating only at the finals.
EVO's debut in Japan is seen as one of the many movements in the country to pre-invest towards the potential future in the e-sports market. Hearts United is well-known for its media division and the popular gaming news site 4Gamer
, which frequently covers fighting games and features exclusives from various publishers. While Evo Japan may have dented their profits, its advertisement from the site still brings in stable profit for their media division.