Esports, exploring the popularity of e-sports, egames and professional gaming, is organized competitive video gaming with tournament and league structures just like traditional sports. It is a rapidly growing global industry, a soon-to-be $1 billion dollar business, and championships are watched live by tens of millions of people.
It has become a cultural phenomenon attracting millennials, and is poised to reach a global audience of hundreds of millions of fans. eSports have already eclipsed traditional sports, with more people watching the 2016 world final of the popular game League of Legends than watched the NBA Finals that year.
Rise of the Digital Arena: Exploring the Popularity and Growth of E-Sports
The popularity of eSports has caught the attention of traditional sports owners and investors, who are buying or investing in eSports teams and events to capture a new generation of affluent, young viewers. But they are also wary of the industry’s short-term prospects, because the techniques that make traditional sports lucrative — building fan bases in specific cities and striking lucrative deals with television networks – do not always translate to eSports.
There is still a stigma that gamers sit in their basements all day playing games, but that is changing. At a major event like EGX, which took place this month in London, you see gamers who are competing against each other at the highest level and they are doing it in front of a crowd of thousands of fans. They’re talking to each other through headsets, they are streaming on Twitch and they’re interacting with their communities and coming out to big events.