5 Reasons Why Competitive Video Gaming Is the World’s Fastest Growing Sport
Throughout the past two decades, gaming has seen an increase in acceptance among the general public. In the past, gaming became synonymous with nerd and geek culture which gave it a bad reputation, and the stereotypical gamer was an overweight teenager with glasses who lived in their mother’s basement. Of course, that stereotype has been shut down over the past couple of years and more people are coming out about their gaming passions—even celebrities!
But who would’ve thought that in just a short decade, we’d be watching video games on the big screen and gamers would be taking over sports stadiums but replacing balls and racquets for keyboards and mice? For some people, it’s an incredibly silly notion, but for the younger generation, it’s a dream come true. Electronic sports has grown at a phenomenal rate and if this growth continues, it will become the biggest form of sport in the world within a few years time—but how did it all happen in such a short period of time?
- Gaming Offers Career Choices
Much like how football or soccer gives people career choices, so does gaming. There are news sites dedicated to video games, bloggers who write about everything from the latest video game releases to the hottest transfers in a game such as League of Legends, and even video content creators that do ample research on feature players and strategies that the experts use.
In addition to content creation, there’s also a need for tournament organisers, interviewers, hosts, camera operators, analysts and commentators. It’s as much of a sport as any other physical sport, and if the fact that prestigious sponsors such as American Express and Coca-Cola are jumping onto the video gaming bandwagon doesn’t tell you the full story, then perhaps plummeting NFL ratings due to eSports will convince you to take competitive gaming more seriously.
- It’s Big Enough for Betting Services to Take Notice Of
Betting has always been a major factor in determining the popularity of a sport. If there are not enough people to bother betting on a sport or hiring statisticians to weigh up the odds, then it’s probably not worth getting involved with. However, even popular gambling companies are starting to catch on to the popularity of eSports and they are offering dedicated sections for eSports with dedicated analysts and writers.
For a long time, betting on eSports was done illegally through intermediaries, so if you want to bet on eSports you might be using services that aren’t technically safe and depending on your location, it might still be illegal to bet on any kind of sporting event. If you live in the United States, you can check a list of states with legal online gambling available here so that you aren’t caught by a nasty law.
- There’s Real Money Involved
You probably wouldn’t believe this, but top eSports players can earn up to seven-figure salaries. There’s an incredible amount of money being poured into the game and team managers want nothing more than their players to focus on playing the game and improving their skills, meaning that their lodging might be provided for them and they’re treated like rock stars in countries like South Korea where eSports has dedicated television channels.
In addition to making money from salaries, the top prizes for some of the world’s most prestigious tournaments can exceed a million dollars. For instance, Valve’s International tournament for Dota 2 regularly exceeds a million dollars. A recently concluded major tournament, The Boston Major, had a total prize pool of $3 million. However, that’s nowhere near the current record of The International 2016 which had a total prize pool of over $20 million. These organisers have a fantastic way to fund these tournaments as well. Instead of being completely funded by the organisation themselves, players can purchase in-game items and digital collectables that go towards the prize fund. The International 2016 had a base prize pool of $1.6 million, meaning that over $19 million was funded by fans of the game.
- It Appeals to the Current Generation
Video games are a major part of the lives of people that are growing up in this current generation. Video games are everywhere and there’s no stopping their dominance. Everyone from young children to teenagers and adults are playing the same games instead of going outside to play football or soccer, and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Many young children are growing up with more opportunities to pursue careers in fields they enjoy instead of being pigeon-holed into careers that make money.