by ALEX BAUMANN, CSU Public Relations Intern
eSports – short for electronic gaming sports – is now a global phenomenon.
Even college campuses are getting on the eSports bandwagon. More than 50 colleges have varsity eSports programs, recognized by a governing body called the National Association of Collegiate Esports. NACE championships dole out thousands of dollars in prize money, which is put towards scholarships for the winners. To read about what that might mean specifically to MSU, click here to for the related story by CSU Public Relations Assistant, Brett Marshall.
Gaming tournaments around the world have brought hundreds of thousands of people to enjoy and compete in the growing platform that is eSports.
These organized video gaming events draw competitors from different leagues or teams who face off in the same games that are popular with at-home gamers: Fortnight, League of Legends, Counter-Strike, Call of Duty, Overwatch and Madden NFL, to name a few. These gamers are watched and followed by millions of fans all over the world, who attend live events or tune in on TV or online.
Streaming services like Twitch allow viewers to watch as their favorite gamers play in real time, and this is typically where popular gamers build up their fandoms. One of the most popular eSport games, League of Legends, had over 60 million tune into its Finals in 2017.
Even the NBA has partnered with the makers of the NBA 2K video game to create the NBA2K League, an eSports league dedicated to NBA gaming.
380 million people worldwide will watch eSports this year, including 165 million eSports enthusiasts (a term that describes frequent viewers, as opposed to occasional viewers). The bulk of these enthusiasts watch from North America, China and South Korea.
eSports are growing at a rapid pace with more and more people getting involved with it by the year. It should be interesting to see what the future of this growing industry will be to say the least.