By Tony Draper on July 11, 2019.
Have you ever walked into a restaurant expecting to grab some food and catch the big game only for the TV to be airing a bunch of kids and adults playing video games? No? Me neither, but this sort of situation may not be too far off in the future. Nowadays, video games are a household staple and have evolved from their inception as simple pastimes to being akin to Hollywood-tier productions. They’ve become deeply rooted in our culture as very popular entertainment and art forms. From the very first iteration of Tetris, to whatever you’re playing on your phone on your coffee break, video games are everywhere today.
With video games being as widely popular as they are, people have been trying to find ways to monetize this popularity beyond simply making games. One way this has taken shape is in the form of eSports. Now if you’re wondering what eSports are, it’s exactly what it sounds like: Electronic sports. More often than not, the idea of eSports usually garners a laugh or a scoff, but I’m going to throw a couple numbers at you really quick. One million dollars. This is how much Team Liquid (an eSports team) made in the last 60 or so days playing in a four-tournament circuit. Now you might think this isn’t exactly close to what many professional athletes are making in more “conventional” sports (hockey, baseball, etc.) but let me remind you this was done in the span of 60 days, or an event every other weekend. Really though, this is just the tip of the iceberg when we look at Rogers Arena last year in Vancouver. The Canucks home arena was practically sold out for a six-day, $30 million eSports tournament called “The International” in August. That’s around 18,000 people, plus more viewing online. The numbers generated by these events point towards the old saying “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” in terms of generating revenue, with eSports being speculated to have generated one billion dollars by 2020. Companies like ESPN and ABC have already taken notice, airing some eSports events on their channels. We could also look to the Paris 2024 Olympic games where organizers are said to be “deep in talks” about introducing eSports as a demonstration sport.
So sooner rather than later, that day may finally come where you walk in to a restaurant or a bar, and you see everyone huddled around a TV cheering for some of their favourite teams, only it’s not the Edmonton Oilers or the Calgary Flames; it’s Team Liquid playing in Vancouver with a million dollars on the line competing in eSports.
Tony Draper (AKA T-2) is all over your radio various evenings on 105.3 ROCK and hosting reports from the 102.1 CJCY Community Cruiser”
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