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Esports growth and comparisons with the traditional sports market

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Competitive gaming has of course grown over the years – gone are the days when gaming was regarded solely as a pastime activity.

The current gaming industry has grown into a massive sector from which thousands gamers earn a living, from pro players to streamers and others in-between. In and outside of esports, you can also log into your favourite online casino and make money playing or betting on a competitive game. Besides that, other video games have become big over the years, like Fortnite and Valorant, making the esports sector ever more competitive and popular.

Professional Gamers Are Role Models

Nowadays, you will come across kids talking about Tyler “Ninja” Blevins and his gaming exploits on Twitch. Some speak highly of him as though he was a celeb like Tom Brady or LeBron James. Gamers analyse his moves on Fortnite, cite his stats and kill ratios and follow him closely on socials. Besides that, some will emulate his moves as they aspire to become streamers and/or competitive gamers.

Additionally, studies have shown that around half a billion people watch esports, according to analyst Newzoo. Moreover, many of them also play games.

Blevins’ viewership raised his profile as a professional gamer, so much so that he appeared on the cover of ESPN Magazine, was sponsored by Red Bull and amassased millions of followers. It also branded him as one of the first major crossover stars in streaming/gaming, ahead of the SEA Esports 2022 Championship which is about to begin.

The top-rated gamer Ninja also averages over 72,000 viewers during competitions and has over 17m followers. Besides that, he previously said he earns more than $500,000 per month.

Streamers and Viewers

Steamers and viewers are integral players in the esports industry. In some ways, esports is giving traditional sports a run for its money with the freedoms and accessibility its platforms offer. The leading streaming service is Twitch, owned by Amazon. On the other hand, other video platforms such as YouTube focus more on content creators who upload videos for their fans to watch.

Streaming esports have become a massive business venture for those involved. Industry experts suggest that the streaming business will grow to unprecedented heights. UK consumers spent £45.6m on streaming donations, subscriptions and other gaming video content in 2020, according to Ukie’s Consumer Market Valuation report.

In some ways, game developers and esports broadcasters compete with traditional sports for a similar audience in terms of age. For instance, individuals aged 18 to 34 make up 73% of esports viewers. This is one age demographic that traditional sports also targets.

To capture this age group, game developers use many tactics from the traditional sports industry. For example, they have designed competitive leagues that fans can root for. Other developers have invested big prize money in competitions like The International, a Dota 2 esports tournament held annually by Valve Corporation.

What the Future Holds

The future of esports could lie in more closely emulating the structure of traditional sports, for instance, creating governing bodies such as FIFA that will help the sector leverage investors who are experienced in conventional sports. But, to many, that is unlikely.

Esports already has tons of investment without the need for a FIFA, and so far, the game publishers setting the rules of their own esports games has worked organically, as the esports industry has slowly found its feet over the years.

For now, time will tell what will have a significant influence on esports’ future. Let’s not forget human vs computer speedrunning competitions either, and data analytics, which may be instrumental in athlete development and game strategy.

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Esports News UK

Esports News UK was established in late 2015, and features the latest stories, match reports, interviews and videos covering the UK esports scene. We predominantly focus on League of Legends but also cover other games like FIFA and Overwatch, as well as streamer articles and news from the wider gaming community.

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