An ever growing industry with profits that range in the billions, is it time for esports to become more mainstream?
For a long time esports has been considered something of a joke, something the media would joke about before cutting to commercial. But times are changing, and it seems that at least some in the mainstream media are recognising this change themselves.
For decades, video gaming as a competitive event was fairly small scale. You might have small competitions here and there, or the occasional event like the Nintendo World Championship from the 90’s. At best, classic gaming had places like Twin Galaxies to record the events and deeds of various tournaments or showcases. But these days, other media have begun to pay attention, as the rise of esports takes over.
ESPN is one of the big names paying close attention to the growth of esports, offering coverage on major tournaments, such as the League of Legends Championship Series and the Overwatch League. They even offer an esports related time slot on their own channel on occasion. Another big name getting involved in the coverage of esports is TBS (Turner Broadcasting), with their own ELEAGUE television show, aired on Twitch and YouTube Gaming. That said, this kind of coverage can be a little hard to track down on their main websites, often buried under a few drop down menus.
Another huge name getting involved is Facebook, signing an exclusive streaming deal with ESL, though this hasn’t left fans the happiest. So what is it that drives big name companies to invest so much time and effort into esports coverage? Well, for starters, the gaming industry is literally pumping out money, with fans willing to shell out to watch their favourite pro players play their favourite games. With the average age of fans often younger than those of traditional sports, it’s a market that can be expected to stick around for a while. With gaming companies and esports teams now making their own merchandise, and fans demonstrating their desire to view esports content by the hundreds of thousands, it’s not hard to see why the more traditional market leaders want a slice of the pie.
So what are the major concerns with this kind of new activity? Well for one, fans don’t want to see traditional media jumping in without doing their research first. There are few things more irritating that seeing someone in the traditional media spousing off falsities about a topic they don’t understand, as we covered here. So really, the only advice we can give is this: do your research, understand exactly what it is that drives the fans to view this content, and for the love of god, don’t sacrifice quality to make a buck, else you risk the backlash of the fans or even worse, the game companies themselves.