Welcome To The New Wide World of (e)Sports
There have been many ‘golden eras’ within sports. The 1920’s were known as the Golden Age of Competition, in which sports started to separate themselves from just enjoyable events into the super-mega-star-studded games status we’ve come to know them as today. Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig occupying those roles of celebrities back then.
Sports began expanding across the globe, with different nations favoring different sports. The US took to baseball, and seemingly everyone else took to soccer/football. But, there is a new challenger in the realm of sports. One, unlike anything this world has ever seen.
If I were to tell you 20 years ago when the video game Quake was released, that not only would it have evolved in terms of graphics but the number of fans following it…seems like a fairly reasonable thing to predict right? Now would you believe me if I told you that Quake and other games like it now have massive online and real-world followings into the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, including conventions all around the world? Conventions not only for specific games and game makers but also the systems they operate on. And don’t get me started about the competitive scene, ok yea, let’s talk about that too….
Walking into BlizzCon for the first time, let alone the first time seeing any competitive gaming, was a lot like walking into the Thunderdome. (check out the OG Mad Max if that’s over your head) Awe-striking is the best word to describe the initial sensation. Seeing teams of professional video gamers play in front of a crowd of thousands was such a surreal moment, and there’s no sign of it slowing down.
South Korea already has a system in place for professional gaming leagues of various games (KeSPA), the highest followed being League of Legends aka LoL — appropriate acronym, right? With the United States already following suit with plans in place.
To give you a sense of what that will look like: Team NRG just signed a 17-year-old to a $150,000 contract to play Overwatch professionally (and my parents said I was wasting time…) & more people watched online the World Finals of LoL than did the last Super Bowl, let that sink in - That was even a pretty darn good Super Bowl too… And with the rise of ‘Lets Plays’ popularity on youtube, a new platform specifically for video game-streaming has risen.
Although just as with every new industry-venture, there is going to be some hiccups along the way. As most sports have an All-In-One location for finding out about information and even new events/teams soon to be announced. eSports, still in its infancy to the general public, is working on this. Typically, only die-hards knew where to look for any upcoming event information or game-specific info (I used Nintendo Power) or have to be involved somewhat deeper into the gaming community.
If that describes you, you’ve probably chosen your go-to console/PC, game maker, a genre of game (fps, MMORPG, RTS, MOBA, etc — that’s not a genre FYI — or that….) and signed up for newsletters from your favorites to stay in the know. But, as more and more events about the games you love, start showing up in the mainstream, how we go about getting this information is changing.
Recently, Twitch.tv has announced a new ‘Extension Manager’ program into their dashboard options, letting online streamers have better tools to help their followers keep following, chat with each other, or have access to other types of data not readily available. And you guessed it, Stanza is one of those tools. With the success we’ve held in the sports world, we’re looking to stay on the forefront of entertainment development, and it doesn’t take a marketing genius to see that there may be some interest in this whole eSports thing.
Armed with the understanding that this is a completely new world of sports, filled with an entirely new demographic compared to your typical sports fans, the need to follow and know when these events are upcoming remains constant. Though these platforms are evolving, the goal is shared with those of the other major sports leagues around the world: grow your fanbase, and get people to show up and watch.
We are definitely not the go-to source for all things gaming-information, but we definitely are when searching for your favorite pro team, or upcoming events. With teams like Echo Fox, NRG, Cloud 9 and Ninja in Pyjamas embedding StanzaCal’s within their pages, their followers will be able to see when and where their upcoming events are going down.
Never used Twitch? Check it out, there’s a good chance that you will be able to find someone playing a game you used to, or still, do love. Or, check out what pro-gamers look like in action. You may think to yourself, “hah I can do that too!” Just like every weekend warrior thinks they can hop into an NFL game and catch a few passes, not going to happen. These guys are the real thing and here to stay.
Welcome to a new world order.
Author: Alex Fitschen — Inbound Marketing at Stanza.co