E-sports, or electronic sports, is one of the fastest growing sports. Fans of the sports has grown by 25%, according to ESPN.
Approximately 300 million people worldwide watch e-sports today, and that number is growing rapidly. By 2020 that number will be closer to 500 million. Now ESPN is hosting an e-sport channel for the game “League of Legends.”
In 2013, the League of Legends finals sold out the Staples Center and in 2014, the same finals took place in a 40,000-seat World Cup stadium in Seoul, Korea. Last year, 43 million people watched the League of Legends finals, and the prize pool split among the winners of the tournament was almost $7 million.
Even for smaller games, for example “SMITE,” which is another game similar to League of Legends, the prize pool was $1 million. The second largest gaming community and the richest is “Dota 2.” The prize pool for the upcoming 2017 International World Championship, is currently $21 million and still rising.
One of the biggest reasons e-sports is growing so fast is because of a Twitch. Twitch has only been around for five years and in that time has built a large and supportive community.
Last year Twitch was bought by Amazon and it was purchased for $1 billion. It is a platform where a user can stream other games for people to watch. If a viewer likes a streamer, one can donate or subscribe to that streamer.
Twitch has clocked around 241 billion minutes of live stream. One of the main reasons that Twitch pushed more people toward e-sports is because many professional gamers that play e-sports will stream some of their gameplay for viewers to watch regularly on Twitch. Tournaments will also be livestreamed on Twitch for viewers to watch and take place in.
Twitch allows interested viewers to watch video games from any device in their home, giving people the ability to watch e-sports without spending money to watch.
So what does this mean for the large gaming community? One of the main reasons the growth of e-sports is that it gives serious gamers a more realistic option if they want to become professional gamers. For example, some colleges now offer scholarships for people to play on a college gaming team. Because of the advances in professional gaming and the amount of people involved with professional gaming, it can now become a job. Not only a job, but also a well-paying job where most of your expenses are paid for. Most expenses, even living is paid by the company that sponsors your team to play for them.
E-sports is making its own mark on sports because it is the only sport in history that is played on a computer.