Steve Bornstein, former ESPN and NFL Network Chief Executive, spoke at Activision Blizzard’s annual Blizzcon on November 6. The event took place at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA, and over 20,000 people came to hear him speak about the lofty goal of having sports-sized arenas packed with fans as gamers competed on the “field.” As the new chairman of Blizzard’s Media Networks division, Bornstein hopes to raise e-sports up to the level of reception real life sports currently enjoy.
Because there is no international organization dedicated to e-sports, the past-time has more difficulty gaining footholds with large audiences interested in purchasing tickets and merchandise, as well as finding investors and large companies willing to take the business risk of supporting e-sports. But Bornstein and his colleagues believe the future is bright. “What we’ve been tasked with is to grow something very big,” says Senior Vice President Mike Sepso. “And they haven’t put much restraints on what we can do.”
From Lets Plays to annual international championship tournaments, video games already enjoy countless smaller dedicated conventions. Time, effort, and money may well see e-sports as a whole come together in front of a global audience.