A major e-sports company now has an office in Tacoma.
Swedish company DreamHack hosts video game tournaments on popular gaming platforms, often in arena or conference venues. So far, DreamHack has hosted events mostly in Europe, but it expects to expand to a robust schedule of events in North America.
To help facilitate that expansion, the company opened an office in Tacoma earlier this month.
Gary Briggs, DreamHack’s head of events for North America, said the company will expand to a staff of six working out of the second floor of the Harmon building on Pacific Avenue. Workers there will organize events in North America.
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A second office in Denver will have sales staffers who arrange sponsorships for their tournaments. The two sites are the only North American offices for the company, with headquarters in Jönköping, Sweden.
This weekend, DreamHack is hosting a tournament in Las Vegas for the top “Counter-Strike” game teams in the world, who will split a prize pool of $450,000.
DreamHack’s first U.S. event, in Austin in May, drew more than 24,000 people, but up to 2 million people have watched live-streams of its tournaments, Briggs said, rivaling traditional sporting events.
Briggs, who spoke from DreamHack’s Las Vegas event, said the Tacoma office could grow to 20 employees within a year or two.
“There was a pull to be close to Seattle,” Briggs said of the company’s site selection process. “The cost of office space and housing is a lot better in Tacoma, and Tacoma is close enough to visit customers in Seattle.”
Tacoma’s higher education institutions also played a role, Briggs said. University of Washington Tacoma, Bates Community College and Clover Park Technical College would graduate students who could become future employees of DreamHack, he said.
“We’re definitely needing to have a workforce that’s technologically savvy,” Briggs said.
After Las Vegas, DreamHack will host North American events in Austin, Atlanta, Montreal and Denver.
But will it come to Tacoma? Briggs said he’s talked with people at the Tacoma Dome, and other arenas nearby, to get to know the venues.
Tom Alexander, booking manager at the Tacoma Dome, said the Dome can handle the bandwidth such an event would require.
If a DreamHack or similar event were to come to Tacoma, “I think every hotel in the Tacoma radius would be packed for days. You would get international travelers as well as people coming from out of state,” Alexander said
Pat Beard, project manager in the city of Tacoma’s economic development department, said the company originally looked to Redmond for a location but decided to give Tacoma a chance.
“The tech sector is pretty much regionwide,” she said.