You don’t have to be passionate about Esports competitions or even gaming to understand the sheer size of Esports nowadays. In recent years, gaming tournaments have broken numerous viewership records and there is no sign of stopping when it comes to the growth of this industry. As a result, because of this growth and popularity, traditional sports such as football and basketball have been impacted in more ways than one, especially once you factor in the digitalization of the entire world.
How Esports impact the sports industry
Digitalization through streaming
In the past, the most common method of watching traditional sports was through cable, which was a very inconvenient way that a lot of people disliked. Because of its steep price and strict schedule, cable swiftly became obsolete with the introduction of streaming and traditional sports are now being streamed on online networks.
Esports have highly contributed to this change, as they pioneered the streaming method of broadcasting competitions in the early 2010s. Games like Dota2, CS:GO, and League of Legends streamed major competitions to millions of viewers before traditional sports even began to digitalize their content in order to keep up. This has allowed Esports to reach a new generation of fans who may not have been interested in traditional sports before.
Social media interaction
In an environment where we find passionate and interactive audiences, people need more than just to watch sports. Fans want to interact with other viewers while they watch and traditional sports make it very difficult to properly do that unless you’re watching the action live in a stadium. The way Esports make the connection between fans stronger and build the community is through social media and the engagement through interactions on social media platforms is primarily made through YouTube and Twitch.
One of the main selling points of social media websites like these is the fact that anyone can create an account for free and join the action. In addition, sites like these always have a chat box where you can exchange messages with other viewers that are watching in real-time. This level of interactivity is why a lot of traditional sports have adopted this method of broadcasting, with some of them fully migrating to websites like these.
Increased viewership through rewards
Even though watching most Esports competitions is fully free through sites like Twitch, competition organizers have found a creative way of monetization through online in-game passes. Popular games like League of Legends often sell themed passes that are related to the competition that’s actively held at the time. Those passes reward players for in-game commitment and performances by giving them free skins and exclusive in-game content.
Additionally, companies like Riot and Valve have decided to reward dedicated viewers for watching real-time competitions by giving out free in-game awards. For example, whenever an amazing competition moment like a pentakill happens on a big stage in League of Legends, all of the active viewers that witnessed the moment on YouTube or Twitch would get a free reward for their account.
Innovation and Experimentation
Esports has brought a culture of innovation and experimentation to the sports world that became stale over the years. In order to stay competitive, sports teams and leagues are now experimenting with new technologies and strategies, such as virtual reality training and analytics-driven game strategies. This has led to new and exciting developments in sports that may not have been possible without the influence of Esports which paved the way in terms of many technological achievements.
Traditional sports video games
One of the most significant ways that Esports is impacting traditional sports is through the rise of the popularity of sports video games. Virtual sports are video games that simulate real-world sports, such as football, basketball, and soccer and they have become incredibly popular in recent years. Games like those have a high level of real-time player interactivity with millions of players competing against each other online.
Naturally, given the size of these sports video games, large Esports tournaments have been created that match the best players against each other on the big stage. As a result, many traditional professional sports teams like PSG, Golden State Warriors, and Schalke have started to take notice and have even started to invest in virtual sports teams.
Competitive training and analysis
Competitiveness is at an all-time high when it comes to esports which is further proved by the fact that some players use boosting services to get to the top of the rankings in order to have a chance of joining the professional leagues. Given this competitive nature of esports, they have also had a positive influence on the way that sports teams and athletes train and analyze their performance.
Many professional sports teams are now using advanced analytics and data visualization tools that were first developed for esports. These tools allow teams to collect and analyze large amounts of data, identify patterns and trends and make more informed decisions about training, game strategy, and player development.
A completely new type of audience is attracted to Esports in comparison to traditional sports, which has opened up new sponsorship opportunities for teams and athletes. Many companies that traditionally targeted gamers are now expanding their reach into the sports world. For example, Coca-Cola and Intel are now sponsoring Esports events, as well as traditional sports events like the Olympics.
Esports have also made sports more accessible to people with disabilities. Many esports games are designed to be played with a keyboard and mouse, which can be easier for people with physical disabilities than traditional sports equipment. Additionally, esports competitions can be watched online from anywhere in the world, making it possible for fans who may not have access to traditional sports events to follow and enjoy the competition.
Improved fan experience
Last but not least, Esports has had a positive impact on the fan experience at sports events. In order to match the level of intractability that Esports have, many stadiums and arenas are now incorporating video screens and other technology to create a more immersive and engaging experience for fans. Additionally, some teams are now using augmented reality and virtual reality technologies to create new fan experiences, such as virtual meet-and-greets with players.