Esports: The Convergence of Two Worlds
Jonathan Pan
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While this is in no way an assault on the heart of this piece, which I found an extremely interesting persepctive on an emerging category, I think the assertion that: “For the first time ever, there will be an opportunity to compare global streaming metrics between one of the most successful sports in the world and one of the most successful eSports in the world,” wildly over-simplifies the comparison.

The NFL game being streamed is A) between two small market franchises playing away from both fanbases and in an early-season game, largely devoid of any overarching consequence. Compare this to the World Championships of its competitor, and it’s clear organic interest even from fringe eSports supporters should skew this audience.

B) The NFL football game is being broadcast on its non-native platform, as it relates to historic context for the content. Which is to say, a platform that its audience has not habitualized or routinely turns to (long-form, 3 hour, professional football games); versus eSports, which has organically grown through online streaming as its natural environment.

We could just as easily use E! networks broadcast of YouTube personality Grace Helbig’s show as a way to measure if/and how content manages to migrate across media. In June Helbig’s show posted viewership among 18–49, of 150–300k viewers (http://headlineplanet.com/home/2015/06/02/ratings-es-the-grace-helbig-show-posts-viewership-high-in-sunday-timeslot/). Juxtapose this to Helbig’s YouTube channel, where she has historically built content and audience, that generates views 2–3x this level. (https://www.youtube.com/user/graciehinabox).

The comparison, and all associated measures and metrics, certainly are worth our continued research, but “sports eventing + common platform” runs the risk of being distilled into a sound byte of over-simplification.

Looking forward to more pieces on this subject.

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