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Andrew Chen Reveals Secrets Behind Thriving in Esports Business

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Esther is a business strategist with over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur, executive, educator, and management advisor.

Andrew Chen Reveals Secrets Behind Thriving in Esports Business

In the dynamic world of esports, where the thrill of competition meets cutting-edge technology, we’re excited to present an exclusive interview with Andrew Chen, co-founder of TAP Esports Center. Nestled in the heart of Philadelphia, this modern gaming haven isn’t just a place for intense gaming; it’s a vibrant community hub.

Join us as we delve into the entrepreneurial journey behind TAP Esports Center, exploring the challenges, innovations, and the future of esports with one of the industry’s emerging leaders. Discover the story behind the screens, where passion and business converge to create a unique space for gamers and community members alike.

Andrew Chen

Inception of TAP Esports Center

SBS – What inspired you to start TAP Esports Center, and how did you identify your target market?

Andrew – My love for gaming and my professional career in networking/data centers was the inspiration for TAP. My former career was in FinTech and I lacked passion for it. I wanted to build an actual network that caters to the gaming community. Hence, TAP was created.

My target market is simple. Cater to all the youths and young adults in the city of Philadelphia that have a passion for gaming, build a community, and they will come. Not many places exist like this in Philly, and I want TAP to be a frontrunner.

Overcoming Tech Challenges

SBS – Can you discuss the challenges you faced while setting up a high-tech gaming facility?

Andrew – Anything that could have gone wrong went wrong. TAP is where it is today because of past mistakes. From sourcing the wrong equipment to buying the wrong monitors to COVID-19 restrictions and shutdowns three months after our grand opening, we learned every step of the way. We listen to our gamers and cater to what they want. We learn from each challenge and mistake and try to make TAP bigger and better.

Staying Ahead in Tech

SBS – How do you keep up with the rapid advancements in gaming technology and ensure your equipment remains state-of-the-art?

Andrew – Always studying and keeping track of the latest gaming news and trends has helped us keep up with the last gaming technology. It is ever so rapidly changing, and gaming trends are always changing, so we must keep on top of it.

Our strategy is to always reinvest in the business. Because technology moves so fast and every so often, once our equipment becomes outdated, we always reinvest back into the business to make sure our equipment is the latest and greatest!

TAP Esports Center

Customer Engagement Strategies

SBS – What strategies do you use to attract and retain customers in a niche market like esports?

Andrew – If you build the community, they will keep coming back. The strategy is to make sure everyone who enters our doors is well taken care of and our staff caters to all their needs. We make sure we understand our customers and what their gaming preferences are, and we make shifts in our business model to cater to what most of our gamers want. For example, our gamers wanted higher hz monitors and better chairs, so we completely upgraded our monitors and secured newer, more comfortable ergonomic chairs to make our gamers feel like royalty.

Balancing Cost and Quality

SBS – How do you balance the cost of high-end gaming equipment with affordable pricing for customers?

Andrew – Our business is very similar to that of a gym. We want to make the experience very positive, and we want our customers to keep coming back. We don’t want them to just come once, have a good time and then never enter our doors again. At TAP, we want to take care of our customers and make it a safe spot for them to come unwind and be in their zone. By giving them the best service and experience, it is our hope that our customers keep coming back every time they want to game.

Community Focus

Can you share your approach towards community engagement and why it’s important for your business

Andrew – As mentioned before, the community is the main focus of TAP. We want to make sure our gamers all get to know one another and create a nonjudgmental space where everyone who enters can focus on what they do best — gaming. Communities are what makes businesses succeed, and we try to engage with after-school programs, meetups, and low-income communities as much as we can to give kids an opportunity to game with ease.

Esports in the Community

SBS – What role do esports play in the local community, and how does TAP Esports Center contribute to this?

Andrew – Esports leverages leadership, teamwork, communication, and hand eye coordination skills. In a large city like Philadelphia, by having a safe zone center where kids can game comfortably after school, it gives them a refuge from the dangerous streets. Our goal is to have more organized programs, tournaments, and be a center where kids can feel important and safe when they are here.

Effective Marketing in Esports

SBS – How do you market your business, and which channels have been most effective?

Andrew – Social media and word of mouth are key channels we use to market our business. We want to make our business “Instagrammable,” so we love it when people enter and take videos and pictures of our space. Through social media, people will tag IG: @tapesportscenter and their friends will all see it and hopefully come visit!

Keys to Success

SBS – What are the key factors that you believe contribute to the success of an esports business?

Andrew – Our key success is making every gamer feel comfortable when they enter our doors. If one gamer has a great experience, he/she will tell their friends about it, and if their friends come, they will tell more friends. By keeping a good reputation and having credibility amongst gamers, we feel this is the perfect strategy.

Operational Management

SBS – How do you manage the daily operations of a facility like TAP Esports Center?

Andrew – TAP Esports Center is solely managed by the co-owners, Peter Mark and myself. Peter Mark handles everything internally — finances, network, accounting, payroll, and I manage everything externally — operations, facility, sales, marketing, partnerships. We make an amazing team by splitting the roles into what we do best.

Unique Industry Challenges

SBS – Can you discuss any unique challenges or opportunities you’ve encountered in the esports industry?

Andrew – The esports industry is always changing, much like the technology sector. Something that was popular a year ago can pretty much be obsolete in the next year. One of the biggest challenges we face is the everchanging habits of gamers. Pre-COVID times, people would travel far for a lot of in-person tournaments. However, since COVID, a lot of gamers feel comfortable gaming in their own quarters. It’s our objective to create incentives and reasons for them to come to TAP.

Andrew Chen

Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

SBS – What advice would you give to someone looking to start a business in the esports or gaming cafe industry?

Andrew – The job itself doesn’t have any down time. There are always game updates, new games to download, technical difficulties, and staffing issues. It is a lot of work even though we are in the entertainment business. The biggest advice is that in order to start this type of business, there needs to be a passion for gaming. When there is passion, it makes everything so much easier. The best reward is seeing all of your gamers at your facility smiling, laughing, and engaging in very competitive games.

Future of Esports

SBS – Looking to the future, how do you see the esports industry evolving, and what plans do you have for TAP Esports Center to adapt to these changes?

Andrew – The future of gaming is trending towards mobile gaming and VR/AR/AI. In order to adapt to these changes, we need to constantly research and develop the best technology that caters to the most popular games. Whether it’s an arena for mobile gaming or having high-tech VR machines, TAP will always carry the latest equipment for the most in-demand games.


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Andrew Chen Reveals Secrets Behind Thriving in Esports Business