Esports v Sports – Is the Future of Sport Online?
Are you an eSports gambler, player, coach, trainer, executive, owner, or simply one of the millions of international fans worldwide because if you are, you are not alone by a long-shot, amigos. Watching video gamers play is as common an activity as going outside and playing the same sports with most all Gen Z and a large number of millennials. Esports is growing as fast as a super storm hurricane. Believe it or not, data indicates by 2020 fans will spend approximately 11 billion hours viewing this new technology enabled sport. Now consider 70 million interested fans are ready to use tech to stream the gaming major finals through online platforms. That is more viewers than the MLB and NBA finals produce. Various reports also foresee that by 2020, the half billion sized eSports community will surpass the NBA’s 400 million fan base. At the same time, the NFL, Premier League and the Winter Olympics all had decreases in viewership. Many feel the waning popularity of traditional sports is a non-reversible trend. Does this mean that the future of sport is online? The money and sponsors seem to think so.
Is eSports a trend?
Do the next generation of sports fans dream of being behind a controller, or out on the field?
I believe Esports is here to stay and will only get better to play and watch as technologies improve. Virtual and augmented reality is such cutting edge tech. Faster 5G internet speeds is another example of game changing technology soon to move the industry forward.
During the 1990’s, publishers, programmers and players took advantage of the increased internet bandwidths and online-centric web games.
Today, mobile gaming is the new massive opportunity for stake holders with the amount of connected smartphones and tablets in use.
Esport leagues using gaming consoles or computers popped up so fast many of our readers and followers may not know the NBA and TakeTwo Interactive launched a new NBA2K League on the tail of the recently launched Overwatch League by Blizzard Entertainment.
The NBA 2K League Inaugural Draft | The Entire First Round
The Inaugural NBA 2K League Draft was held April 4th at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden. The inaugural season tips off this May.
According to the NBA, each of the league’s 17 teams selected six players from a pool of 102 gamers. Mavs Gaming picked point guard Artreyo Boyd (handle Dimez) from Ohio with the historic first pick of the 2018 NBA 2K League Draft, announced by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
It’s Not Just A Job
What does all this mean for eSports athletes, parents, colleges, leagues, associations, federations, and sponsors alike when compared to the same folks and entities associated with traditional sports?
It means gaming is now a legit job not just an adventure. The gamer named Miracle earned just over $1 million per year as a living legend. Kids now look up to the 8 superstar professional gamers earning $600,000 or more per year and think I can do it.
A survey by Limelight shines light on the demographic group of young men preferring to watch esports more than traditional sports. Also, esports is now the second highest ranked preferred media source behind movies.
Take a look at the Betway comparison of the viewership, sponsorship, revenue and earnings in both online and offline sports. They rapidly discovered esports is catching up to traditional sports.
Esports vs Sports stats include:
• Esports is set to eclipse traditional sports revenue by 2020– with esports revenue expected to hit $1.2 billion.
• Figures show that from the 10 highest earning competitors from UFC and esports, gamers dominate when it comes to average yearly earnings.
• The recent prize pool of $17.5m from Dota 2: The International 2017 event already far outweighs the combined prize pool of other major sporting events, such as Tour de France, Cricket World Cup and The Open.
Think Long-Term View
Brands have begun to take notice in the generational shift towards eSports.
It’s not if but when will esports earn more than traditional sports when it comes to yearly revenue. It has been reported that esports revenue will reach an astonishing $1.2 billion by 2020 with 600 million viewers. Are one billion viewers and $5 billion in revenue a possibility by 2025? You betcha.
Both tech and media companies are investing in this exploding space.
Back in 2015, Amazon acquired Twitch for $970 million and became an esports champion financially supporting their new platform flush with happy gamers located all over the world.
More exposure and popularity equals added revenue across these new platforms, in particular from savvy advertisers.
Sustainable revenue is on par when compared to other traditional sporting organizations such as the Major League Soccer (MLS) and Cricket’s Indian Premier League (IPL).
Show Me The Money
I have heard the same thing a zillion times. All my kid does is play video games. That was twenty years ago!
When you shift the conversation to the amount in eSports prize pools, parents start to look at the time eater that gaming to a generational wealth opportunity much like the traditional sports represent to many of their players and families. The $50 million per year player salary mark for traditional sports is upon us and flying by fast. The earning power of eSports superstars is coming on just as quick or even faster.
Competitors at the last Dota 2: The International 2017 event hosted in Seattle divided up the prize pool of $17.5 million. This marked the highest prize money ever offered in esports history.
Substantial prize money will increase quickly as brand investment into the sport meets growing consumer interest.
Sports Techie, we live in a time when a $17.5 million payout at a video game tournament beats the combined prize pool of other major sporting events, such as the Tour de France cycling, Cricket World Cup and The Open in golf.
New eSports specific venues are another reason why this is not just a trend.
The 2018 esports season is truly just the beginning.
See ya later sportstechie in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world!
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3 responses to “Esports Is More Mainstream Than Traditional Sports”
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As many sports fans have been, I was skeptical about the watchability of eSports. I had a roommate in college who always watched youtube videos of pro-gamers playing the same goofy games we were. When I realized he wasn’t watching for tips and tricks, but for pure entertainment I let the jabs and jokes fly. “Why would you waste time watching someone else play?” I realized shortly thereafter when I had dragged him to a bar to watch a playoff game he asked me the same question. We watch sports to watch the very best, do what they do best. It also helps if players have personality and a story. Last year, I watched the Smite World Championships and was blown away by the production value and pure entertainment of a game that I had enjoyed playing. The teams were in deep strategy and had coaches calling plays and ensuring the right team composition was made. As “kid gamers” become money makers and spenders, I see eSports booming even more. There will be more events that fill places like Key Arena in Seattle for the DOTA world championships and more casual fans like myself willing to watch while socializing. Now if only they played it in bars….
[…] is growing, and it’s being fueled by strong business financials that have helped it become more mainstream than ever before. With these stats as a backdrop, here are a few trends to watch for in esports this […]