Picture a stereotypical gamer. What does he, or she, look like? Possibly slovenly, sitting in a chair surrounded by potato chip crumbs and empty soda bottles. What if you were to instead see teams of players on some of the biggest stages in the world, competing for large monetary prizes? Would that shock you?
Electronic sports has risen from obscurity to become the fastest growing entertainment option in the world. Fortune.com is projecting a worldwide audience of 335 million fans by 2017. This would completely dominate national fixtures, such as the NFL – whose global fan base is 151 million – and is gaining on the English soccer league, Premier League, which has a fan base of 780 million, the most popular lWhile not nearly as lucrative as other leagues, fortune also projects e-sports to generate a revenue of $451 million in that same time span. It is also drawing in big names for sponsorships. Fortune reports that Intel, Coca-Cola, American Express, Duracell, HTV, Nvidia and Benq have all joined in on the e-sports craze, and if these numbers are accurate, more companies will likely join in to capitalize on the new market.
Not only are the fans growing, they are showing up to prove it. NYtimes.com reported that 73,000 people attended a four-day competition in Katowice, Poland, in March of 2014. The Wall Street Journal stated that 11,000 attendees packed New York’s Madison Square Garden, one of the most famous arenas in the world, to see an e-sports competition on Aug. 23, 2015. Such events help the growth of the sport, but that only goes so far. Unless television gets involved, these large attendances won’t matter as much.
eague in the world.
Included in that is the money. Fortunately, ESPN has stepped in. Fortune reports that in January of this year, ESPN3 broadcasted the Dota 2 International tournament in Seattle, as well as the League of Legends Championship Series Finals in Seoul, Korea.
All of this adds up to the fact that e-sports are quickly gaining traction, and can possibly become one of the major competitions on the world stage. Very soon, instead of Michael Jordan wowing people with spectacular dunks and fantastic ability, it could be an 18-year-old wowing those people with a video game version of Michael Jordan’s spectacular dunks and fantastic digital ability.