The lines between esports and sports are slowly getting blurred by the day. How far are we until the two become indistinguishable? In this article, we will try to answer this question. Both esports and traditional sports are evolving toward each other. We are facing a rapid merging that could present a new experience made possible by emerging advanced technology. But could the two ever actually become one? Can the gap between esports and sports disappear?
We See Esports Becoming The New Pastime
Media consumers of the younger generations are increasingly turning away from traditional sports broadcasts and instead consuming more online streaming content and esports competitions. They also closely follow sites like 22esport to get the latest esports news. The most popular gaming streaming service Twitch has well over 15 million viewers spread out across almost 75,000 channels. The number of worldwide viewers of esports in 2017 was 335 million and it has only grown ever since. The League of Legends World Championship attracts close to 100 million viewers which is a staggering number. The popularity of esports has also opened the door to a new pastime which is betting on esports. Esports betting is becoming increasingly popular and millions of dollars are bet on major tournaments.
The answer to what makes esports appealing to younger generations is not quite simple however there are reasons why it is obviously appealing to the younger folks. The ability to play from the comfort of your home and the excitement of watching a major tournament with millions of people around the world watching the same thing is what drives people towards esports. There is also a sense of nostalgia.
If you grew up playing basketball with your friends in front of your home it is then only natural that you will either become a basketball player or a basketball fan. Well now let us replace basketball with gaming. People started becoming gamers at quite a young age given the rising popularity of video games. So as with any sport, those who grew up gaming will either become professional athletes or fans.
While there are many reasons we can’t pinpoint exactly which are the ones driving the popularity of esports, however, it is certain that in the near future, we will see a massive transformation in the way sports are consumed.
Are Traditional Sports Attracting Esports Fans Or Is It The Other Way Around?
Youtube was recently awarded exclusive rights to stream the Overwatch League, Call of Duty, and competitive Hearthstone, and we can also increasingly see traditional sports trying to appeal to esports fans. An example of the convergence of the two could be seen when Fortnite released skins to their 250 million players in honor of the Super Bowl. While it could have been an excellent marketing strategy or a way for Fortnite to connect to their players that are sports fans, however, it was a prime example of blurring the lines between esports and traditional sports.
There is now a whole new generation that does not consume sports in the way older generations consumed them, and in order to appeal to them sports organizations are moving closer to esports and even investing in esports teams.
Visualize It To Get Their Attention
While it is evident that the younger generations have less and less interest in traditional sports this might not be the reason behind the viewership battle between esports and sports. We are presented with an endless amount of content every day and our brains have evolved to become pickier about what we like to consume. So our brains decide to consume content that is more visually pleasing. Younger generations find TikToks, reels, and memes appealing, and thus to create content that will appeal to those generations it must be presented in a way they find engaging.
Millennials and Generation Z or the digital generation consume and engage in sports in a way that is different from previous generations. They are in search of a more meaningful way to live it and consume it. So it might be that it is not at all a battle between esports and sports since both will have their loyal fans.
We cannot state that esports will replace sports or the other way around. What is more likely is that the way sports are broadcast and esports are streamed will change as the way in which we consume content evolves. Just a couple of years ago the main way of consuming content was through a TV and that has changed to our main source of content nowadays being a smartphone. So for both sports and esports and well all other industries it is all about presenting content in a way that people evolve to consume it.
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