Rooted in mythology and history, traditional sports have the cultural capital and institutional stability (and government subsidies associated with that status), the types of support eSports lacks. And the comparison with sports that developed in the first half of the 20th century is simply unreal. “The US is trying to copy that NFL/NHL/NBA concept,” Scholz says. “It’s a cultural thing: the US is always associated with this hype, this identity of throwing money at it. They are more risky. It’s something we’ve seen quite a few times in eSports, where when there’s a crisis in eSports, the US suffers the most and several teams quit or are forced to shut down.”
Europe, Scholz says, has always had less wild ambitions and enjoys strong support even outside the top flight. And moving to Seoul shows just how viable South Korea remains (or at least how far ahead it still is). In China, home to four of the Overwatch League’s 20 teams, The league has seen promising growthwith rumors of yet another local team blowing up on social media.
Some of this hype certainly stems from the relentless success of the gaming industry as a whole. However, the queue from billions of gamers to billions of eSports viewers is inevitable.
Karol Severin, senior analyst and co-founder of Midia Research, says one way to attract more gamers (leaving non-gamers aside for now) is to develop a hook beyond the games themselves.
He claims that Riot games, the creators League of Legends and Valiant, has achieved a winning formula with K/DA, a virtual K-pop group with hundreds of millions of views on Youtube, extensive merchandising, fans and regular appearances at events and tournaments hosted by Riot. Turning a profit comes down to finding other ways to make a profit, whether it’s streaming, hardware, or selling merchandise.
“If eSports remains only eSports, it will only appeal to small segments of consumers,” Severin says. While the focus on entertainment over and above the sport itself may seem cynical, it makes good business sense. Popcorn has been known to save many movie theaters Great depressionSeverin says.
The fate of Philadelphia Fusion Stadium fits into these broader questions. Forget Covid-19: Why would a regular stadium make huge profits from a very internet free-to-air sport? The digital scene in Philadelphia, in accordance with Tech, continues to grow, stadium or not. Even the idea of a “hometown team” doesn’t seem preconceived in a sport with digital roots.
Which games will appeal to a particular audience is also somewhat of a mystery. Why Valiant popular in Japan but not Supervision 2? Clarity and accessibility remain obstacles and influence the management system debate. Many of these titles are fiendishly difficult – as they should be to compel professional players. But when a gamer tuned in to a professional League of Legends or Supervision 2 match, will they understand the stakes or skills? Do elements of production—such as commentary—help bridge that gap? Such unresolved issues have relegated eSports to a niche (which most fans won’t care about). But perhaps the answer is simple: eSports can live up to higher expectations only with the release of the right game.