Hello Esports, goodbye traditional sports


Divine Idiku

The Esports industry continues to rise by stimulating employment and economic growth. The sports industry continues to decline due to numerous negative reasons like questionable coaching and extreme pressures placed on athletes. Popular sporting events, such as the Super Bowl, consistently diminish in viewership, with 96.4 million last year compared to the year before with 100.45 million viewers. On the contrary, the 2021 League of Legends World Championship in Iceland garnered 76.3 million viewers.

Divine Idiku, Reporter

The Esports industry continues to rise while traditional sports decline over the years; Esports competitions generate millions of dollars, as the fan base grows. People love playing video games, and the potential of making money draws millions to the field. The video game industry consists of Esports, where people compete professionally on games such as “Call of Duty ”, “League of Legends” or “Fortnite”. Companies hold these competitions in various massive stadiums like the Esports Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Professional gamers generate around $4000 to $5000 a month, or 50 to 60 thousand dollars yearly. Traditional sports decreased drastically due to their high cost, unfair coaching, and excessive pressures. Despite the high income of both paths, it became boring and monotonous to watch sports for all types of fans.

According to Statista, Esports produced about $243 million in the US and about $360 million in China in 2021. Additionally, Athletic Panda sports editor Stevan Plavsic mentioned that over 443 million people watched Esports tournaments regularly in 2020 alone. Esports’ popularity rose dramatically largely due to its inclusivity; anyone of any age, gender, and physical ability can become a champion. Also, with its wide array of games to choose and various styles to watch and play with, it possesses amazing graphics and characters that draw people into the industry. It provides a great source for socializing, through numerous chat rooms to communicate with different people from different cultures. Prizes rope people into Esports competitions, such as computer equipment, money and other various awards. 

Multiple traditional sports require payments of about 600 dollars annually for participation, which seriously limits the ability of potential players who could perform well simply because they cannot afford to pay due to financial situations. Furthermore, coaching encourages people to not participate in sports. Coaches only focus on the people who they believe will succeed, and criticize the players who cannot meet those expectations. 

“I feel like it’s definitely a lot of the parents, I think it’s mostly parents actually but I feel like if kids our age would stop playing video games all the time and spend a little bit of time watching live sports, i think they’ll be a little more interested in that. When we were kids, I think that we were not exposed to certain sports,” junior Weslee Rainey said.

Platforms like Twitch and YouTube make it easy for people to watch their favorite Esports players and teams in action, and the growing young population contributes to the industry’s rise. The time spent surfing the Internet leads to gaming becoming a source of entertainment to the young generation; watching traditional sports used to entertain people but now bores them. People face great difficulty in the sports industry to break out professionally compared to the ease of entering the Esports industry, which contributes to its decline.

“I think that there are so many athletes who are so good and that kids don’t wanna play. They believe that they don’t have a chance to play professionally because of other people. Work hard and extremely hard and I think you’ll make it,” Rainey said.

Teams and players compete to win prize money, which stands as the prime method to earn money in the field. Several companies and organizations continue to join the Esports world, such as Spotify partnering with League of Legends, and sponsoring an Esports team in 2020. The National Basketball Association (NBA) similarly launched its own gaming league in 2018– 2K league– named after a popular video game. A popular streamer, Tyler Blevins also known as Ninja, earned 17 million dollars back in 2019 in the Esports industry by streaming numerous “Battle Royale” games on YouTube. According to Twitchtracker, he holds the largest following platform on Twitch with 18.4 million followers. Colleges like Cornell University and Ohio State University offer scholarships to students willing to compete in Esports and help students pursue a passion for tech through careers such as producing video games. In contrast to traditional sports, only successful students receive scholarships to play in college or professionally.