The League of Legends World Championships are set to kick-off this weekend, with 16 teams vying for the $1million 1st place prize.
Among the teams are European organisations G2 Esports, H2k-Gaming and Splyce.
So, what exactly is eSports? The ‘sport’ includes players competing in a range of video games for large sums of money up to $20million. Yes, you read that right. Competitors often play in organisations more commonly known as teams who are backed very similarly to football with major investors pumping money into the industry to fund training, player salaries, accommodation and equipment.
With investment being key in the success of eSports teams much like in football, money speaks volumes especially for the players at the top level of gaming. These stars have a career span of around four to five years, often from their early 20’s to mid 20’s and with such a short career before ‘retirement’, players often move on after one season to allow them to win as much as they can during their short reign.
With the industry of professional gaming growing at an alarming rate, it certainly won’t be long until you see kids (and adults) playing video games for large sums of money on popular sports media channels in this country, with the BBC already dipping their toes in the water of broadcasting live commentary for games.
The League of Legends World Championships in 2015 were held across Europe, with London being the chosen destination for the quarter-finals, which brought much exposure of the industry into the mainstream media in this country. The BBC broadcasted commentary and talk shows on their BBC Three TV channel with other mainstream media organisations such as the Telegraph and more getting involved with coverage.
Both Yahoo and ESPN are currently producing content centered around this year’s event, with more likely to join them over the course of the championship. With statistics estimating eSports will reach a viewership of 335 million (NewZoo) in 2017, don’t be surprised to see organisations such as Sky Sports running with eSports related coverage in the near future.