Streaming technologies have had a huge impact on the way we enjoy so many different forms of entertainment. At first, it was exclusively movies that became the focus of streaming technologies, and the rise of services such as Netflix have been phenomenal, as has the surge in illegal streaming. Then the wave washed over the sporting world, where over 17% of the Super Bowl viewing figures came through online streaming.
As such, it was only a natural progression to see streaming capabilities give rise to a whole new facet of sporting entertainment; professional video gaming. Quite simply put, e-sports is very quickly becoming the fastest growing and most viewed sport in the USA.
The Viewing Figures
According to Twitch, the leading platform of live video game broadcasts, more than 100 million viewers login to watch video games being played online every single month. What’s even more incredible than this is the fact they predict this number will jump to over 145 million by the end of this year. That is staggering. To put it in perspective a little, Netflix has less than 94 million subscribers.
Tournaments Have Become The Big Thing
It started off as a thing that amateur players fancied doing. But this grew and it grew quickly, and now there are over 2000 tournaments held in the US alone, featuring the world’s leading games. But it isn’t just about the players because the crowds have grown massively too. A decade ago, these amateur competitions were drawing in a few thousand viewers in person and over the internet. Compare that to the 2013 championship of Riot Games’ League of Legends, that brought in viewing figures of over 32 million people on services such as Twitch and Youtube. That is more than a number of viewers who tuned in for the season finales of The Sopranos, 24 and Breaking Bad combined. Yes, combined.
The Future Of It All
With the rise in this facet of sports being so ferocious, it is only a matter of time before big television broadcasters will become interested in showing the big competitions; either on their cable channels, their on-demand options or on their pay-per-view services. It may even be that betting takes on an even bigger role as people look for ways to increase their watching enjoyment, with it becoming as simple as clicking a button to get the latest William Hill download. After all, the major tournaments have already hooked some of the biggest sponsorship deals in the world, including big brands like Coca-Cola, Ford, and even Amex.
The Prize Money Is Growing Every Time
To put it simply, the prize money has grown seventy-fold in 14 years. Obviously, that could mean anything, and be any number. So to put it in real-life terms, in 2014, when nearly 2000 tournaments were held, the prize money that organizers coughed up was over $35 million. That’s just the prize money. We’ve already mentioned the big name sponsors attached to these tournaments, which means that figure could well be just a third of the total amount spent on this fixtures.
In short, e-sports are huge, and they are growing fast.