Esports are open competitions in famous computer games such as Counter-Strike, StarCraft, Dota 2, League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, World of Tanks and others. The phenomenon is relatively new. The first tournaments on the game StarCraft took place in the late 1990s. But a large audience of such tournaments have come to gather only in recent years. Organizers of sports competitions and players earn on sponsorship contracts, advertising, and selling broadcast rights. strong,
Prospects for eSports as a Phenomenon
Esports should be considered a full sport. Allow top esports teams to perform at the Olympics necessary for the Olympics to remain relevant to new generations. But it will not be easy to add esports to the Olympic program because of the large number of technical nuances and diverse development of esports.
Championships are held under the auspices of one of the developers of computer games or major esports organizations. For example, publisher Dota 2 holds a tournament with the largest prize pool in the industry. Some games can be difficult for the untrained viewer to understand.
It is not clear what requirements the International Olympic Committee will impose on the esports athletes. Right now, European, Asian and American pro gaming teams managers are making sure that esports athletes lead healthy lifestyles and maintain fitness. This is necessary to create an image of esports. It is important to break the stereotype that computer games are interesting only to people who do not watch out for themselves.
But giving up the usual foods and drinks may discourage esports athletes from participating in the Olympics. On the other hand, there is already experience when sports organizations hold esports tournaments. For example, FIFA holds the World Championship on the computer game of the same name.
The Olympic Committee is a rather conservative body. It will have to be convinced that the sport will be relevant for many years to come. Esports will bring stable income from advertising. The industry is young and dynamic. But that may not be enough for the International Olympic Committee. They will be scrutinizing how many athletes are involved in the sport, and how many countries are involved.
Future Prospects for eSports
Esports are much more popular than Olympic disciplines like dressage or curling. In fact, they are more popular than most mainstream sports. Only 28% of British boys ages 16-19 watch any traditional sporting event live. Fifty-seven percent of them play video games.
Some might argue that esports are the wrong sport. But video games are very competitive. Professional leagues have already been created that draw crowded stadiums. There are only 200 tennis stars in the world who can make a living playing tournaments. Unlike League of Legends, a fantasy game played by esports teams of five, more than 1,000 are well paid. Its World Cup finals last year were watched by 44 million people.
New sports were always unpopular at first. The king of England tried to ban soccer in 1314. He thought boys should learn archery. In 19th-century America, church leaders objected to baseball. The best Esports require as much skill and dexterity as many regular sports. Professional gamers typically perform five actions per second. Video games are also cheaper and more accessible than, for example, sailing or horseback riding.
What advantages do esports have that professional sports lack?
Professional sports have long moved beyond positive competition into sublimation of war. States refuse to participate in championships, boycotting the host nation. Esports teams from different countries are bred not to find out who is better for political reasons. All of this goes against the original idea of the Olympic Games. There is no politics in esports. In that sense, esports is more international and open.
Professional sports is inevitably losing ground in terms of audience. According to Mediascope, broadcast coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics was the worst in 20 years, despite expanding digital broadcasting capabilities. The younger generation is particularly affected. With each passing year, young people are opting for a gadget screen rather than a TV. The development of streaming online services contributes to the outflow of this part of the audience.
Do eSports Need the Olympics?
Esports can rejuvenate the Olympics and boost their ratings. But the question of the Olympics’ usefulness for the virtual competition industry remains open. Today, the prize pools of major esports competitions are in the tens of millions of dollars. Games of the top teams in CS:GO and Dota 2 in terms of views have surpassed many Olympic sports.
According to a report on the esports market from the company Newzoo, in 2021 the worldwide revenue of the industry will exceed $1 billion. In parallel with betting on classic sports, a new trend – betting on esports – is developing. Approximately 90% of bets are placed on League of Legends, CS:GO and Dota 2 video games. These games are literally based on violence, which is still unacceptable to the International Olympic Committee.
But it can hardly be considered the problem of esports, because the representatives of the industry think that in the coming years the popularity of virtual games betting will equal baseball, hockey and basketball betting.
The inclusion of esports in the Olympics program will undoubtedly draw the attention of young people to such competitions. But will esports benefit from it? Many computer games are too complicated for the untrained viewer to understand. Therefore, they are unlikely to add a new age audience. But do not forget about the importance of status in today’s world.
To summarize, it is worth noting that including esports in the list of Olympic Games would be a good decision for the International Olympic Committee and for the fans. The only good thing is that today there are active discussions on this issue.