For most adults, sports means exercise, and exercise is all about training the body. They need exercise to train muscles, develop endurance and also test their willpower time and time again. For many adults, thus sports is mostly done outside on a field, on the tracks, or in the pool. But for routine Internet users, the definition of sports is much broader than that.
They also view playing in front of a PC as a sport too. They don’t use racquets or golf clubs, they don’t need to gear up and put on soccer shoes – all they need is a keyboard, an advanced mouse and large headphones. They play sports games on PC screens and on Internet networks. This is also called “Cybersports”.
Cybersports players are not only regarded as professional gamers, but also as online athletes as well. Unlike what many might think, Cybersports or Competitive Gaming, is not the same as Simulation Gaming where the player is competing against the computer. In these games, players compete against each other. A classic example of an E-Sports game is LOL – League of Legends. It is by far the biggest and most followed E-Sports game so far, and millions of viewers tune in to watch these professional e-Sport players playing against each other.
But often, the question of whether these “players” can be called “professional athletes” arises. Can we really call them that? And E-Sports really sports? According to WIRED, E-Sports is here and it is a big deal, so much that it can threaten viewership for the NFL and other traditional forms of games:
“It’s not just a hobby. It’s becoming a real business. Sponsors like Coke and Red Bull and other major corporate players are dumping cash into online streaming, tournaments, and sponsorship deals with top players. Gaming companies are making millions from game sales and more frequently in-game purchases and merchandising. Prize pools for last year’s pro tournaments totaled $12 million across the industry – and that’s only a drop in the bucket when it comes to money in eSports.”
The success of eSports is mostly due to the fact that technology and gaming has become such a huge part of people’s lives, not to mention that there are a lot of people who play video games in their spare time, so in a way it comes as no surprise that this has become a sport followed by people from all over the world.
Although the E-Sports fan comes mostly from Asian countries, it is becoming popular in various countries especially in America. In fact, it is suggested that by 2020 E-sports will have more viewers than NFL Football, making it an advertising goldmine. There is no doubt that E-Sports generates multi-million dollar businesses in each championship. And it is presumed that it is more seen than many of the conventional sports tournaments. In fact, a lot of people also bet on e-sports games just like they would on a game between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots.
When you stop and think about the advertising, the image of the big brands, the multimillion-dollar profits they generate in betting, the conception of a club that brings together the best players in the world and the ever-increasing fan-base there is for E-Sports, you suddenly start realizing that it is actually on par with traditional sports and that it does not seem like it’s going anywhere anytime soon.
Is E-Sports Getting Bigger than the NFL?
For now, if we had to compare statistics, not yet, but at the rate it’s growing, many are predicting that it will in the next few years. In 2016, the global esports market was worth no less than $327 million, smaller than the National Football League market in the same year. However, E-sports will be included as a medal event at the 2022 Asian Games, and so the forecast for that shows that the Esports market will grow by 21.7 percent to nearly $ 900 million, bigger than the forecast growth in the NFL market. So … will Esports be bigger? The answer is yes! In a few years.