I wanna start by saying I fucking hate the name eSports. I’m not sure where it came from, but I hate it. It’s stupid and makes no sense, which in turn opens up the “its not a sport!” crowd. I’ll just assume ESPN made it up in their pursuit to fit in.
eSports stands for electronic sports which means its just professional gaming. In the simplest terms, eSports is literally any game that can be played in a competitive tournament. In terms of views and following only a handful of games really matter. League of Legends, Dota 2, CS:GO, Overwatch, Smash Brothers, and Smite. Yeah, these names mean nothing to you, you may have heard of a few of them or played some, but for the most part you’re lost. Let’s be honest though, everyone has played Smash Brothers, if you havent you’re the goddamn loser here. These kids will destroy you though.
So should you care? Probably not. For the most part unless you like these games, have played these games, or care for this culture, you wont understand any of it. The streams can be entertaining with some great announcers. It is still a video game and there will be a stigma on that for the next few years. eSport leagues have a difficult wall to break through to really hit the mainstream.
eSports are starting to blow up in a big way. Youre seeing ESPN cover it, live streams shown on TBS and ESPN during nights on weekdays and weekends. Why? Because it pulls in massive numbers. The League of Legends 2015 World Championship pulled in 36 million unique viewers. To compare, 2016’s game 7 of the NBA finals pulled in 31 million unique viewers, which is the highest they’ve hit on ABC in a decade. Nerds playing games puts asses in the seats, this years championship is projected to beat last year’s numbers. It’s also a target demographic advertisers and sites want to grab. If they’re smart they’ll get in quickly. It opens a huge door to males 18-35.
End of the day the eSport market has a long way to go. It needs to find a way to break the stigma of video games and get more national attention, which may not happen until old executives who think of video games as a toy to distract kids die off. When it does you’ll see it year round and everywhere. But please for fucks sake change the god damn name.