Esports

ESports Is The Future

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An AKA98 Track

An arena is filled with diehards cheering on their favorite athletes. The energy is palpable; it’s clear there is juice in the spot. The vibe is something like a WWE pay-per-view event, except instead of beer-guzzling, pot-bellied 30/40-somethings, its crowd is young, multi-ethnic Gen Z’ers who’ve traded booze for Monster Energy Drinks, but with the same veracity & investment into their fandom. Their superstars aren’t known for their high school yearbook names. Instead, they’re known for their Player IDs & usernames, like “karrigan” & “mONESEY”, “ImperialHal” & “Doki”.

They don’t look like typical star athletes; most are not over 6’2”. Almost none of them are black, with the standard tattoos & loud fashion which accompanies a certain level of athletic success. Most look like your average college student; the ones who attend whatever fad SJW protest is happening on campus that day, or the ones who attend “Hackathons” (participant or spectator). And while there may be stark differences between the two athletic bases, the share three similarities:

  1. Their fans are loyal to the bone
  2. This loyalty has turned into million$ in paychecks for the athletes
  3. As their popularity continues to trend upward (with no end in sight), so do the profits of all parties involved, from event sponsors, to the gate (ticket sales), and most importantly, to the athletes themselves.

(Top Career Earnings)

I know what some of you are thinking right now….

“What a fucking schmuck.”

“This will never be a thing.”

“It will never be as big as traditional professional sports.”

Well, let me respond.

I am a schmuck. It is a thing. It has already surpassed women’s sports in popularity. And if media/entertainment put as much money & effort into ESports to make it relevant as they did women’s sports, it would already be challenging some of the most popular global sports, like Rugby & Cricket.

I was watching an ESports event a few months back with my dad who took the standard position of most adults who don’t understand the complexity of modern video games. They are stuck in 16-bit, 2-D vision games (albeit masterpieces) like “Super Mario Bros.”, “Zelda”, “Final Fantasy”, and “Blades of Steel”. Watching my father rummage through our entertainment center to find one of those grey, block cartridges reminds me of a paleontologist digging up dinosaur bones. Both are prehistoric to my generation. 

So, we were watching a team event (I want to say “Call of Duty” or “League of Legends”) and my frustrated father finally blurted out:

“How can you watch this crap?”

“What crap are you talking about, father?” 

“This crap! How can you just sit here and watch people play video games!? You guys like this stuff? Wouldn’t you just rather play it?”

My next rebuttal forever changed the way my father viewed ESports:

“You love football, right?

“Yeah….”

“You love watching & betting on it, don’t you?”

“Your mom doesn’t like me betting on it, so yes & no”

“But you know how to play football. You have all the necessary equipment to play. So why do you sit here on this couch, every fall & winter, and watch a game that you can easily play? Wouldn’t that be more fun?”

He paused for a moment & it finally hit him. It’s the same concept. He may not have understood the popularity of ESports, but he could certainly understand watching something that he loved playing. And more & more, eyes are opening for dad’s like mine, some with fat wallets who know a good product when they see one. Some of these dads are able to read the tea leaves and see a sellable product with a bright future, predicted to never go dark.

 Right now, the top earners of 2023, like Denmark gamer Finn Andersen aka”karrigan”, have cleared $250k ($250,300). Other gamers like Johan Sundstein have already accrued over $7mill in career earnings ($7,184,163.05). These earnings are only going to increase. Tournaments such as LPL Spring 2023 hosted a 3-month long tournament where the main prize was $611,520. Other global tournaments can range anywhere from $86k to $450k.

While the best of these gamers are cashing in on tournament pots, most of them are making their bread from sponsorship deals from GLOBAL BRANDS. And that’s the key. ESports have a global dedication whose community utilizes social media to keep the hype going. Individual gamers have been utilizing platforms like “Twitch” to further reach their audiences, and many times, these two worlds flow in the same direction.

As technology expands, games become more realistic, and self-isolation continues to be encouraged (who knows when the next pandemic will be assigned) it is fair to say the climate for growth in ESports is perfect for smooth sailing. It will, eventually, become one of the most profitable sports on the planet. Deny it if you want, but once I don’t have the assets of a homeless ghost, you better believe I’ll be investing in this community in one way or another. 

I suggest you do the same.

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