I. Attention-Grabbing introduction:
Staple center, Los Angeles, California. Friday November, 4th 2013 1:24PM The Championship match. After a weekend full of ups and downs, twist and turns it all comes to this. 1 week earlier, the previous Friday thousands have flown down to the heart of it all. Crowded around the event hall doors, people everywhere, spectators itching to get the best seats.
Players going over in game builds, timings, and strategies just one more time until the doors finally open. 8 teams of 5 players to a team were seated into the week long tournament and now only two remain. Royal Club and SK Telecom are season veterans of League of Legends and now they sit on opposite ends on top of the world championship main stage. Ready to compete head to head for the grand prize of 1 million dollars in front of 1000s right there in Los Angeles and millions watching from all around the world.
These millions from around the world have emitted their love for gaming into a hugely popular phenomena known as Electronic sports or better known as of E-Sports. Viewership has seen explosive growth in 2013 and is still growing with no sign of deterrence. Now with the integration of technology into our culture a new type of athlete has risen. One that doesn’t achieve victory heavily based on the bronze that is armed but with the critical thinking and reflex of the mind. An outsider might find this such a concept laughable but these pro gamers are far from any negative stereotypes you may have.
III. Ethos & Audience Adaptation:
My name is Jonathon Allen and I have been a fan and member of the E-Sports community for nearly a decade. I have had opportunities to play professionally at the MLG North American Regionals in Columbus and New York in 2012 which I have placed 2nd and 3rd in out of 30 teams. Over the years I have also conducting extensive research on E-Sports ranging from players and teams to the technology side of running and mending events in the industry. E-Sports can be a lot to digest for someone looking in for the first time so I’ll explain exactly what and how big E-Sports really is including the potential E-Sports has to expand and grow. Before we go any further I’d like to present this video to visually show you exactly what E-Sports is and most importantly what it feels like.
I.This is E-Sports, competition at its finest.
Players competing for cash prizes ranging from thousands to millions. Top players make 6 figure incomes and are even sponsored by big corporations such as Monster, Intel, Redbull, Asus, and Kingston. Pro gamers are locked into head to head combat in games like League of Legends. A DOTA-MMO style game that’s played as a team of 5 people VS 5 people. The object of the game is strategizing on how to win by taking the enemies base while leveling up and generating gold. Most games usually last around 40 minutes.
II.You may ask; why would someone watch someone else play a video game? That’s simple; the excitement from watching others play video games stands as the same excitement we get from watching other athletes perform at sports such as football. T.J. Heffer from PC gamer Magazine states
“What makes any competition interesting is watching very skilled individuals struggle for victory in a setting where the outcome is uncertain and the moment to moment back and forth keeps you on your toes.” Heffer continuous “Rather or not you want to call them sports they showcase people with amazing critical thinking, planning, and decision making skills and frankly inhuman reflexes as well. The level of professional level in a game lie League of Legends is mind boggling.” Professional gamers put their heart and soul into the game.
They have drive, passion, hard work and dedication just like any professional athlete you can think of.
III.As I’m assuming E-Sports may be alien to many of you but in nations like South Korea games such as StarCraft have already become something of a national sport. Paul Tassi of Forbs Magazine said “Overseas, top players are treated like professional Athletes.” Though South Korea has become atoned to the notion of playing games professionally North America believe it or not is where the biggest interest for pro gaming lies.
In North American E-Sports, leagues and organizations have risen and grown in the past 3 years. In of these leagues the biggest E-Sports organization is Major League Gaming or MLG. Founded in 2002 Major League Gaming features numerous tournaments in a year where various gamers fly out to major cities across the US like Columbus to compete. In MLG’s Annual Viewership Report for the 2013 season they reported 15 million unique viewers tuned into watch online during the 2013 season.
As those 15 million viewers tuned in last year it’s clear that E-Sports has already landed a very stable footing into the hearts of Americans across the United States. But perhaps even more thrilling and exciting is the growth that E-Sports has already shown. Between 2010 – 2013 MLG has seen a 733% growth in viewership from 1.8 million to 15 Million. Comparing that to the NFLS record growth of 18% in the past 3 years that’s 715% more than the NFL.
Let’s not down play the viewership of the NFL which has recorded a record of 28.1 Million viewers for their 2013 – 2014 season. But you start to understand thus to how much potential E-Sports has when MLG a company that’s only been around for 11 years has acquired a viewership of 15 million. Just a little above half of the NFLS record viewer count 28.1 an organization that has been around for nearly a 100 years.
With these statistics of expansion and with how overseas treats E-Sports like a national sport and with pro gamers possessing the same set of virtues that any professional athlete has along the millions around the globe that already are a part of the community only drives E-Sports. It’s not really a question of is it, it’s really a question of when! When asked about where he sees E-Sports going and what to expect of the industry. MLG Co-Founder Sundance DiGiovanni in a position that puts him at the hell of the entire E-Sports industry told Forbs Magazine in 2012 “that in 5 years he expects E-Sports to be a globally recognized phenomena. A truly established global sport.”