Insight of the Epicenter tournament at the VTB Ice Palace in Moscow.
Credits: Kommersant Photo/Kommersant via Getty Images
The atmosphere in the hall becomes concentrated. Every perch is taken, the stadium is completely sold out. Not only family and friends have taken the long route to support every participant. Fans, reporters, TV camera teams, the support of all spectators is overwhelming. Some more minutes are left until the next category of the competition will start. All the athletes are waiting for their turn. For years they have been waiting for this unique moment. Preparing for it. Dreaming for it. It is not about your origin background, it is only about your skills. The thrill of the championship makes it hard to keep calm, but it is necessary for realizing record performances. The gear has been accurately prepared and is now ready to be used. Now, the competitors are called and presented in a lively manner. The honor they are getting for representing their country is beyond believe. Worldwide, all eyes are placed on them. It is historical. Everybody gets ready for this moment. Few seconds left until it starts. Four, three, two, one, GO! It is going off. All athletes start hitting the keypads deftly. Welcome to the fictional universe, welcome to the world of eSports.
Thinking about a sportive event, this scenario might sound strange to some of us, but is nowadays not fictive at all. eSports is the term for competitive gaming of individuals or teams on video consoles or the internet. Games like League of Legends or Fifa 17 are played under the observation of a high number of spectators online and offline. The evolvement is unstoppable. The times being concidered as a niche category are gone so far. eSports are being integrated in our society with an importance as other sports have. Let’s take a look at the movement affecting several parts of our sports lifestyle.
European Spring Finals EU LCS of League of Legends in 2017
Credits: LoL Esports Photos via Flickr
eSports leading to new dimensions of a classic tournament
First, there were championships organized for the individual video games like regional or global championships. Taking the example of the world finals of League of Legends in 2014 which took place in Seoul (South Korea) 40 000 spectators observed this event at place. The number of people following the occasion online and at public viewing places in the world is even much higher and estimated at tens of millions, increasing every year.
Instantly, spots at big general competition integrating this new evolution are setting eSports equal to classic sports. First planned to be tested in 2018 in the Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) announced in April 2017 that eSports will take an official spot at the program of the Asia Games 2022 in Hangzhou, China. The gaming competitions provided next to domains like taekwondo or badminton are not announced yet. The importance of this event is vast, as it is the second most important and biggest multi-sportive event after the Olympic Games with recently about 10 000 athletes of forty-five nationalities participating in 2014 in Incheon (South Korea).
Trophy of IEM (Intel Extreme Masters) tournament series of ESL 2015
Support of eSport athletes: It’s about the money
Everybody knows, it is hard to live from being an athlete. Nevertheless, money rolling in the eSports industry is huge. The prize moneys of tournaments are evolving. The highest disbursement until June 2017 took place in 2016 at The International 2016 in Seattle (USA), where the game Dota 2 was competed. The best 16 participant teams of the tournament won in total $20,770,640, wherefrom the Chinese winning team Wings Gaming got more than $9 million. In comparison, the prize money of Wimbledon in the same year was at $3,9 million (Rank 10 of all sports prize moneys in 2016).
Taking a closer look to the sponsoring sector not only little interested investors got in touch with this branch. Companies as Red Bull invest in a lot of athletes in eSports sector and support them in their carrier. Other big companies, even sportive companies, as the German soccer clubs Schalke 04 and VfL Wolfsburg propose their own eSport teams.
As surprising as this change of the global sports competition branches is the regard on other sectors in daily life. For instance, the university sports department affecting and integrating young people even more directly recognized also the ongoing change. The University of Utah (USA) announced being the first department supporting students with a scholarship who will participate at the school’s varsity eSports team. As soon as possible new athletes are recruited.
As you’ve seen, eSports contributes to evolve our conception of sport and therefore changes a part of our social heritage. What is the reason organizations are supporting and integrating this kind of sport, where people do not hardly move physically? Take a look at the following blog entry with first hand informations of a eSports-participant to get some deeper insights in the tournament system and you will know!
References (all accessed on 03 of July 2017):