You’ve heard it a million times:
“Can Esports even be called a sport?”
I couldn’t believe my ears whenever anyone asks me that question.
Why do I say this?
Because when it comes to Esports vs sports…
…Esports are just as big as any other sports out there.
What do you think? If you like the infographic, go ahead and share them with your friends!
Let us now explore these findings further:
Esports tournaments give millions of dollars in prizes
If a tournament rewards the winner with 6 or even 7-figure prize, it’s a clear sign that Esports has come quite a long way.
Of course, Valve’s Dota 2 consistently gives out the highest dollar amount each year.
But if we look at the bigger picture, several tournaments in other games have reached 1 million dollar mark as well.
You might be wondering: Where did all the money come from?
Initially, the game developers would shell out the cash from their own pockets. They realized that their games can be much bigger as a spectator event.
It was quite a big investment on their part, one could even call it a reckless gamble.
Why? Simply because it has never been done before so no one knows for sure how much of a success it can potentially become.
At first, Esports tournaments were conducted on a smaller scale. The stages were smaller, and the majority of its audience comprised of online viewers at Twitch.
As time goes on, the demand for high-level competitive play continues to increase. As the audience grew, the potential for making more money continues to increase.
Sponsors came in, investments in the Esports industry became plausible. The tournament organizers made their events more compelling, which attracts more viewers and ticket sales. That translates to greater prizes for the Esports winners.
Mainstream media covers the Esports scene extensively
CNBC employs its journalists to write news pieces about teens playing computer games on a cleverly decorated stage.
A few years ago, something like this would have been nearly impossible.
Yeah, until recently that is.
Now we’re seeing news channels like TBS, The Guardian, BBC and CNBC report news about the latest development in Esports.
These gigantic media has a reputation to uphold. They definitely do not want to be a laughingstock in the world of journalism.
When they are contemplating about reporting a particular topic, they will first make a survey/research on the aforementioned topic.
When they know for sure that the topic is quite a big deal, that is when they will begin to make a substantial coverage.
In the case of Esports, many of these media channels have noticed that it is now on such a large scale that they cannot ignore it anymore.
They could have allocated their resources to some other proven news topic.
Putting it another way: they realized that there are benefits to be reaped from covering the Esports industry (probably by gaining more readership).
Celebrities approve of the Esports events
Think about it like this:
Celebrities are extremely busy people. They don’t easily give anything their time of day unless it’s meaningful for them.
Ashton Kutcher is a very successful person both in the worlds of entertainment and investments. The TV show Shark Tank proves that he is very serious about where he puts his money into.
Guess what? He made a hefty commitment with Esports when he invested into a company specializing in Esports events.
Most importantly, he is not the only celebrity that is involving themselves with the Esports scene.
Two’s a company, three’s a crowd. We have celebrities Steve Aoki, Shaquille O’Neal and Alex Rodriguez making their foray into Esports as well.
Want to know the best part? They made quite a sizeable amount of money too!
An article over at Gamopo reveals that they are indeed laughing all the way to the bank with Esports.
With more than half a million dollars gained in a year, that’s really not a bad investment at all.
The bottom line is that the money they invested did not go into a black hole after all. We can expect this trend to continue as their peers start to notice the opportunity themselves.
Sponsorships from Large & Multinational Companies
Now I’m going to stop you right there…
…and point out that I will not mention companies that directly profit from Esports.
These companies are manufacturers in the computer industry such as Nvidia, Intel, AMD, and the likes.
But here’s something really interesting: even companies that have nothing to do with Esports are becoming exclusive sponsors!
GEICO is a company that sells auto insurance. Here’s the kicker: they have their very own Esports Team SoloMid (TSM).
You might have heard of a highly-skilled Chinese Dota 2 team called LGD.Gaming.
But did you know that LGD stands for LaoGanDie which is a company that produces chili seasoning for cooking? Mind. Blown.
(Try to associate this with Esports, if you can.)
Sponsorships from Coca-Cola and Red Bull make a bit more sense to me. After all, who doesn’t enjoy drinking beverage while watching these highly-trained teams duke it out on the stage?
But I’m jumping ahead here, my point is this:
Esports are now so big that companies whose businesses are worlds apart make serious commitments with it.
When they do such a thing, it’s only because the companies are confident that the reward is well worth it.
Esports VS Sports: Both have professional lineups
You get the idea:
Professionals have coaches, managers, and people working for them along similar lines.
The Esports competitors we see on stage are no longer the average kids playing games for leisure.
They have similar schedules like the professional athletes in other sports. They have to strictly train for several hours and conduct strategy meetings.
Add that to fulfilling their responsibilities with sponsors, that’s a fairly stressful environment.
It’s hardly a surprise though, at the level they’re on the stakes are pretty high.
But it doesn’t stop there:
What about the other roles and responsibilities that come with a professional team?
- Who analyses the strategy and tactics for them?
- How do they create content for the team’s website?
- What about their public relations and marketing aspect?
- Who manages the team’s products?
- Social media? Sales and partnerships?
It’s pretty obvious once you think about it…
…these kinds of management problems exist only in a professional setting.
And boom! Suddenly it’s no longer just about playing games all day long anymore.
Astonishing, isn’t it?
There’s a silver lining to this; it’s a golden opportunity to work in the Esports industry.
For instance, just look at the job vacancies here. They list out Esports job that you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else.
Sports Visa for Esports Athlete?
Immigration is no joke, they go through stringent procedures for obvious reasons.
Even so, Esports competitors gain visa under the notion that they are deemed as professional athletes.
There is a caveat to this: it hasn’t been applied yet to everyone everywhere (but it’s getting there).
The fact that an Esports participant even managed to get a visa is something to take note of.
According to an article over at VisaPro, Esports contestants are issued P1 visas.
Remarkably, that type of visa is the very same one being issued to professional athletes in MLB, NBA, and NFL.
By the way, here’s a video that explains this affair in a hilarious manner:
The way things are right now, it is still an arduous process to get a visa for an Esports occasion.
Some competitors have difficulties with securing a visa before a tournament.
By contrast, chess competitors seem to have an easier time with getting a visa for their events.
Frankly speaking, I personally don’t see much of a difference between chess and Esports.
It is for this reason that I am very optimistic that Esports will soon be an undisputed factor for a sports visa.
Business Executives Decide to Work on Esports Industry
Here’s the thing:
The executives working at big companies are some of the highest-paid employees.
You would think that they would not be willing to leave their secure (and lucrative) jobs for something like Esports, right?
Not really, no.
You see, I found this piece of an interview with VentureBeat…
…where they talk about the Esports industry with several big shots.
Their comments about the future prospects of Esports blew me away. Keep in mind that they are some of the best and brightest people the world has to offer.
They mention things like how Esports will soon eclipse traditional sports in terms of popularity.
We can safely presume that these guys have done their own intensive research before coming to that conclusion (they probably look at Esports viewership statistics & growth rate).
But it doesn’t stop there:
It’s one thing to talk about the potential of Esports, it’s another thing to dive headlong into it while risking your family’s well-being.
That’s exactly what Mark Coughlin and Jason Moore did, they left their corporate jobs to work full-time onEsports.
Hats off to these guys.
If we can have more people like them who are committed to developing the Esports industry, we can rest assured that the future of Esports is in good hands.
Pro Sports Team Owners Venturing Into Esports
Buckle your seat belt because:
The top executives are not the only ones dedicating themselves to Esports.
Those rich owners of professional sports teams are pouring enormous amounts of cash into Esports as well!
Think about it, these individuals stand at the apex of the people who question the integrity of Esports against conventional sports.
Would they be willing to spend so much money just to take part in an arena that’s not one bit smaller than their own teams’ audience?
According to an article at Engadget, yes they are willing to do so. It’s kind of like the saying, “If you can’t beat them, join them.”
With an entrance fee of $13 million, that’s a pretty steep price to join but they paid it anyway.
Why? Simply because by being involved in Esports, they expect to earn much more.
They have come to realize that Esports have as much potential as their own staple sports. In addition to that, they can leverage their own resources to make a solid footing thus securing a fanbase early on.
So go ahead, let the naysayers know that Esports are here to stay and not going anywhere anytime soon.
Esports VS Sports – The Conclusion
So it all adds up to this: Esports do have an equal standing with any other sports.
In fact, it eclipses traditional sports in some cases. Kotaku states that League of Legends beats NBA Finals in terms of live viewers.
However, it’s too early to say that League of Legends has more viewers than Super Bowl.
While there is a difference between sports and Esports, we can agree that they are similar in many ways.