eSports: The New Sport

For all of his life, Pinocchio wanted to be a real boy. Now that’s how eSports feels today. Fans of competitive games have been fighting for eSports to be shown on television. Games such as League of Legends , Starcraft II , Halo , Call of Duty and Counterstrike have a growing fanbase that attracts millions of gamers. In 2012, League of Legends had 70 million accounts registered from all around the world with 12 million daily active players. Every month, over 1 billion hours of the game are played. How is it that the Lumberjack championships have been shown on ESPN and eSports have not? eSports deserve to be shown in the spotlight the way football and basketball are. Like many sports shown on television, eSports holds events with large prize pools, teams competing against each other, commentators giving insightful analysis of the games and fans watching live. In Season 2 for League of Legends , multiple tournaments were held with a total $5 million prize pool. The Season 2 World Finals had a $2 million prize pool with the winners getting a nice $1 million. It was streamed in HD for free on the popular streaming website, Twitch TV, as well as Own3d TV. It also had 13 different streams for 13 different languages so people from all around the world could tune in. The most concurrent viewers the stream had was 1.1 million. It had 8.2 million unique viewers. In fact, the tournament was so big that it took 5% of the country’s bandwidth. eSports clearly have a large enough player and fan base to be featured on television. It’s not just the players recognizing the potential of esports though. Many well-known companies are beginning to recognize its potential as well. Reputable computer and gaming companies such as Razer, Origin and Corsair have already sponsored teams and leagues. With eSports growing audience, non-gaming companies are starting to become sponsors as well, such as notable soft drink companies Dr. Pepper, sponsoring Major League Gaming, and Mountain Dew, sponsoring the IGN Pro League. One of the main arguments towards eSports is that if they are shown, many viewers won’t understand what is going on. But let’s look at the World Series of Poker. ESPN managed to get many people to watch and understand how the game works. They included unique cameras so the viewer knew each player’s hand. It wouldn’t be hard to implement similar features in eSports. The beginning of eSports has the potential for being shown on television. Indeed they already have the base for becoming one of the largest industries. It is only a matter of time before you will start seeing competitive video games on TV.