eSports is the competitive playing of video games. Champion players play against each other as individuals or as teams. Just like playing tennis with a friend does not mean that you are playing competitive sports, neither does playing video games with friends and family count as competitive eSports.
eSports give prize money to winners and recently awarded a 16-year-old boy with $3 million. Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf earned the award in a Fortnite World Cup championship, not in eSports bets, which also holds lumpsum amounts of money to be won. Similar to well-known sports personalities in conventional sports, there are well-known eSports personalities, too. Thanks to live streaming on Twitch and YouTube, some players have become household names amongst viewers, and have huge followings.
eSports Rely Heavily on Social Media
eSports heavily rely on social media for dissemination of information and broadcasting. eSports broadcasts most matches through either YouTube or Twitch. Since watching eSports on these channels is free, this means many people can watch the games as they are played.
Viewers of the video games can engage with each other via chat rooms as the matches are played. The majority of fans and players in eSports are young, and thus very social media-savvy. eSports leverages the power of social media, which is making the games very popular.
eSports Changing How Fans Interact with Sports
eSports is changing how traditional sports are watched. Many conventional games do not allow posting of highlights, and some still crackdown on those who try to do so. eSports is heavily social media-based and allows and even encourages posting of highlights as the games are played. Other traditional sports are now following suit as well.
Many sports fans now want to watch games live as they happen for free or at a low cost. A new trend is emerging where sports fans are canceling cable subscriptions to sign up for live streaming services like Netflix. eSports started streaming matches for free on Twitch and YouTube, and people got used to it. Most people now do not want to pay for cable and then get a sports package.
eSports have a way of making the games very interactive and fun. They use mixed reality visuals to create a revolutionary immersive experience for viewers by bringing the characters to life. When players are streaming on Twitch, it gets even better thanks to embedded chat rooms. Viewers are in direct contact with their star and can message them or give them cash. The player, in turn, shouts out the viewer’s names and reads out their comments, which makes the connection between the player and the fan solid.
NBA Leading the Pack in Copying Esports
NBA is leading other sports leagues in copying eSports. This move by the NBA is leveraging the power of social media such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Allowing social media interaction as the games are played has resulted in NBA growing significantly on all fronts, including match attendance in person. Following the eSports social media strategy has brought NBA only success even in viewership numbers. NBA now allows highlights.
NBA is also leading in providing the ‘Netflix of Basketball’, the NBA League Pass. This pass has been very well received, especially by young people. Other sports leagues are quite impressed by the success of eSports and NBA and are following suit. Traditional sports are no longer content to remain in the dark days before technological advancements and online interactions on social media.
Perhaps, conventional games leagues have seen the success of eSports and rapid growth of video gaming by using social media. The most played and watched video games include League of Legends and Dota 2. Both have a record of up to 70 million viewer hours per month. This are gigantic numbers, which is why conventional games now see the necessity of streaming games live.
Some quarters believe that the current growth in eSports can be attributed to the low barrier of entry. Of the ten most-watched games on Twitch, six are easy to join and play. All that is required is a gaming console or a decent computer and an internet connection. Engagement shoots up rapidly if fans can watch their star playing on live stream and be able to play at the same time.
Traditional sports should have no problem in increasing their in-person attendance and any other metric by leveraging the power of social media, mainly live streaming.