Sky's the limit for e-Sports boom

Aug 22, 2017 3:01 AM

Editor’s Note: GamingToday welcomes Savannah Drews, who is a published writer with a keen interest in the ever-expanding world of eSports. Ms. Drews has also competed in eSports tournaments.

No other industry has ever boomed quite like eSports.

With a 51.7 percent increase in revenue from just last year alone, and a BI (business intelligence) report of brands spending more than $440 million this year on it – it’s become very clear just how much eSports is grabbing the attention of both players and big time companies around the world.

There is even talk of making it an official Olympic medal sport by the year 2024; it already has a spot on the program for the 2022 Asian Games in China.

Tony Estanguet, co-president of the bid committee for the Paris 2024 games, let the press know he intends to get together with the International Olympic Committee and speak about adding competitive gaming to the Olympic program.

The Guardian reported that the Olympic Council of Asia has made a decision in acknowledgement of “the rapid development and popularity of this new form of sports participation among the youth.”

“The youth, yes they are interested in eSport and this kind of thing. Let’s look at it. Let’s meet them. Let’s try if we can find some bridges,” said Estanguet. “I don’t want to say ‘no’ from the beginning,” he added. “I think it’s interesting to interact with the IOC, and the eSports family, to better understand what the process is and why it is such a success.”

Success is definitely a word that can be used to describe the eSports scene right now. The gaming world’s premier tournament,

The International, went underway in Seattle last week and competitors from around the world met to hash it out on Dota 2 for a chance to win a part of the massive $24 million prize pool. Saahil Arora, aka UNiVeRsE, is the highest paid eSport competitor in the world and has won 67 tournaments – averaging a prize pool of about $42 thousand at each one.

This new and booming industry has gone as far as to sway NBC and its regional partners to cover a recent Rocket League tournament, even at the potential costs of straying from traditional sports coverage.

Four of NBC’s regional sports networks – Philadelphia, Chicago, the Bay Area and New York – all hosted the regionals with four and a half hours of livestreamed coverage and one hour of televised coverage, complete with a three-person commentating team, on all eight of its networks.

“In my professional lifetime, which is probably 30 years at this point, I can’t really remember a sports-related property or idea that has come onto the scene and generated so much interest and has such a big fan base,” SNY President Steve Raab said. “It’s remarkable when you think about it.

“Like I’m sitting in the control room with guys that are 65 years old who haven’t seen a video game in their life, and they’re starting to cheer for these guys and by the end of the broadcast, they’re pumping their fists and yelling,” Raab said.

Although it’s a new concept, the vast world of eSports is forging its own path to becoming one of the most popular and successful sports industries in the world. Step aside baseball and soccer, there’s a new guy on the scene.