It’s a trend that we’re starting to see around the world and something tells me this is going to move from “trend” to the new normal. I’m talking about the next generation of sports fans opting for eSports over traditional sports. ESPN recently covered the story of a Dad who wanted to take his kids to a Jets game…only to find out they preferred something a bit different:
It all started with Chris Champlin wanting to take his sons to a New York Jets game.
A father of two from Long Island, Champlin grew up as a die-hard Jets fan — his dad had season tickets. But when he asked his teenage boys last fall if they’d be interested in going to a game, the boys asked if they could go to something else instead: a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament.
“First I said, ‘Listen, I’m not into it, I don’t really know what you’re talking about,'” Chris said. “But then I said, ‘Fine, I’ll take you, where is it?’ It was at the Barclays Center, and it was sold out. I had to scalp tickets! I was like, really?” (Source – ESPN)
While this might sound a little silly to you if you don’t follow eSports, it actually makes a lot of sense and given that eSports tournaments are now selling out arenas like the Barclays Center, I’m not the only person it makes sense to. The reality is that the world of sports has already changed forever thanks to the growth of both playing and watching video games.
I’ll give you my perspective here since I’m currently getting back into sports for my first time in years…just not traditional sports. So I’ve never been a big football fan, I watched baseball as a kid and yes I do enjoy a good Warriors game every now and then but there really isn’t any sport I’ve watched regularly until eSports came along.
On a Sunday, while so many other people my age are watching football, I’m usually watching Overwatch, DOTA 2 or Fortnite on Twitch. Just like everyone watching football though I am watching a game, following teams, rooting for my favorite players and truly enjoying the strategy and skill that the best players exhibit while they’re playing.
Of course, I’m not a teenager, I’m 37 and while eSports definitely has a larger following with a younger demographic, I’ve found a lot of people like me, who aren’t big traditional sports fans, have found eSports a great outlet to really get into sports for the first time in a long time. Also the bulk of eSports viewers actually aren’t teenagers, here’s a breakdown of eSports viewers in the US:
© Business Wire (Source – eSportsObserver.com)
What I think will be interesting to see over the next 3 – 5 years is how eSports viewership continues to grow. Right now about ten percent of people in the US have watched eSports, I wouldn’t be surprised if that number is over 50% by 2023. Of course I’m biased but hey, I’m watching sports more than ever now so I’m pretty happy eSports came along because it honestly got me back into watching and playing competitive sports…now if only I was better at Fortnite!
What do you think? Is eSports here to stay or is this a fad that will disappear over time? You know what I think, now I want to hear from you. Comment and let your voice be heard!