The rate at which technology has exponentially evolved over the last decade is greater than ever, changing the way we communicate, the way we work and the way we entertain ourselves. How we watch our sports have been no exception to this trend. Although tweaks to the rules have resulted from new technologies, the sports we watch haven’t changed, but that will soon change as people are exposed and begin to buy into a new avenue of sports entertainment: eSports.
Not only is video gaming more popular today in the world than it ever has been before, but it is already covered by sports television networks, such as ESPN, and receives feature stories in prominent sports magazines around the world. Even though television networks are only picking up gaming now, internet streams have been gaining popularity for more than a decade.
In a sports world in which a sports fan is growing more and more accustomed to quick-hits and highlights, gaming offers the perfect avenue for action-packed highlight reels, with commercial-free games lasting usually less than an hour. People talk about a two-hour soccer match with one commercial at half time being time efficient. Let’s cut that in less than half and have no commercial breaks. Sounds like a sweet deal to me.
Even though there are no commercials during the game, there is still the need for funding the production. Sponsorship is another reason why gaming is on its way to jumping into the mainstream with titles such as League of Legends, Starcraft, Counterstrike and DOTA.
An important issue in the world of contact sports right now is injuries and prolonged effects of those injuries. Gaming doesn’t have that contact that makes you cringe whenever you see a collision. There are no injuries in gaming, just knowledge, skill, momentum and maybe a bit of luck, all of which are needed in other sports.
Coupled with the fact that children can’t be injured playing video games, another reason to practice has recently surfaced, and parents can get on board with this. If you are skilled enough at the right video game, you can put yourself through college, as athletic scholarships are now awarded at the institutions of Robert Morris University and the University of Pikeville. Players look to transition to the next level after college.
Once in the pro realm, players can make more than what some professional athletes make in the NFL. With the backing of sponsors, major teams emerge against one another and play time and time again, making for skinny dudes providing trash talk that could rival even Richard Sherman’s.
Fans get behind their favorite players and teams, buying merchandise selling out arenas around the world to watch them play live. Chants and cheers arise in the audience during matches, along with excitement and passion from the announcers. The fans, avidly social and technologically savvy, may very well be the reason gaming makes its final push into the mainstream. Gaming, based on built-in stats and loaded with fantasy appeal, may be the perfect hybrid for those who like don’t favor physical sports and those who love competition however they can get it.
Image: League of Legends