The past few years have seen the meteoric rise of esports as a whole, whilst some of the longer standing games have been around since the late 90’s and early 2000’s with a developing scene even back then, it hadn’t been until the past five or six years where the growth had really been seen – the cancellation and postponement of elite level sporting events last year during the height of the pandemic had managed to show something about esports; it can be very resilient where others are not. Combined with a whole host of other strengths, esports as a whole are looking primed to take over the sporting market, but where do the biggest strengths lay?
Accessibility and familiarity – Noticed especially over the past year by newer viewers, the accessibility offered in esports is certainly one of the biggest benefits as the biggest game’s broadcasts aren’t tied behind a paywall or locked to certain broadcasting channels. Most are livestreamed on platforms such as Twitch which remain free to watch and remove much of the difficulty that’s often associated with certain sporting events. Alongside this, there has been a big push to include familiarity into esports too as games depicting more traditional sporting like football in FIFA and basketball in the NBA have both become more popular titles, and the growth of esports betting through the sites here has also provided an opportunity for fans a little more reluctant to make the change to experience something a little more familiar before making the big leap.
(Image from Mercedes-benz.com)
Big leap for viewership – There had been a lot of speculation around when esports numbers could start to surpass those of regular sporting events, but in many instances it has already started to happen – back in 2019, the League of Legends World Championship event reached a suggested 44 million concurrent viewers on the final day of the event, only rivalled by events like the Superbowl which already reports lower figures at their peak – more viewers brings yet more attention, and as fans of more traditional sporting events these viewer numbers will only continue to increase, and bring yet more viewers.
Changing attitudes toward gaming – The biggest shift has been within changing attitudes towards gaming as a whole – whilst this may not be directly tied to esports but more tied to the growth of mobile gaming and other easy platforms, it has allowed a demographic to be introduced to gaming on their own terms and be more likely to consider esports as an option and has led toward a new viewership demographic that may not have otherwise turned to esports. This is a space that will continue to move forward too as gaming as a whole grows, and so will allow for more strength and priority on esports as those who either were uninterested by gaming or esports, or stout followers of traditional sporting, to be more appealed with making a change.