Competitive gaming is now one of the fastest growing and most popular forms of entertainment, with millions of fans right across the globe now investing hundreds upon hundreds of hours of playing and viewing time into the likes of League of Legends, Counter-Strike, Dota 2 and Fortnite. Forbes have the numbers behind Esports’ incredible rise at 433 million viewers around the world and adding up to global revenue of well over $138 billion now.
However, the industry remains something of a mystery to most of us and can easily be undervalued or dismissed. Here’s our take on exactly why Esports are getting the better of real world sports at the moment. What Esports have over Real world Sports?
Esports Aren’t A Big Deal, Are They?
Quite the opposite in truth. As we move further and further into a world of instantaneous connections, it has never been more important for the worlds of sport and entertainment to develop their online footprints via social media, videos and online fan forums. The big benefit Esports has over its counterparts is the reality that it has existed on these mediums ever since its inception, and continues to adapt and move with the trends.
And the results of this are already pretty telling. As we said earlier, viewing figures regularly climb into three digit millions, and the duration in which they tune into broadcasts regularly extends past the length of time they would have to sit through a game of football or basketball. A BO5 game of Counter-Strike could extend into the three or four hour mark, and streams on Twitch or YouTube regularly extend into double digits of duration.
Investors in the scene range from influential celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher and Drake, to huge companies such as Intel, Coca-Cola, Red Bull, MasterCard and Barclays, with said investments regularly worth tens of thousands of dollars per event or per sponsorship at a time.
Even wagering on these events has become a popular pastime amongst fans of the scene, with sites such as Unikrn delivering a fresh and exciting dimension on keeping up with the action from their favourite games.
How Threatened Are Real World Sports?
There’s certainly a danger in certain sports being left behind in the dust if they fail to adapt to the growing trends on how sports reach out to their audiences. Examples such as Golf, Tennis or even the Olympics all have audience age demographics on the rise and it’s no coincidence that all three of these sports and events have seen their viewership eclipsed by League of Legends’ World Championship, Fortnite’s World Cup, Dota’s International and Counter’s Strike’s StarLadder Berlin Major.
However, there are plenty of signs that current real world sports stars are boarding the Esports train, rather than trying to combat it.
Superstars such as Mesut Ozil have highly active Twitch channels where they regularly stream Esports titles such as Fortnite, Apex, Fifa or Counter-Strike, to their thousands of fans. It’s a new and far more intimate way of engaging with communities and fans, and will only continue to surge in the coming months and years.
On top of that, Gareth Bale and Antoine Griezmann, two of Europe’s most famous footballers, have both started their own Esports sides for Fifa and Fortnite and expressed their interest in joining the likes of CS, League of Legends and Apex which just further cements the exciting possibility of further collaboration between Esports and real world sports.