International sports have played huge roles in bringing together many nations as they watch their best and favorite athletes battle it out on the court or field. Within the last 30 years, a new sport is rising that could take over as the most popular sport in the world—competitive video gaming, which is more frequently known as E-sports.
Whether or not you believe competitive video gaming to be a sport, it is hard to deny the popularity that it has gained over recent years. According to the “Global E-sports Market Review,” E-sports made a total of $325 million with over 226 million people watching these competitions in 2015 alone. According to the same source, E-sports has risen in popularity, especially in Asian countries like China and Japan, who are both in the top five grossing E-sports countries in the world. In those countries, it is common to watch E-sports on television, and many star players are household names.
With internet video game streaming services, such as Twitch and YouTube, making it easier to watch these competitions, more people have started watching. The Philadelphia 76ers became the first North American sports team to purchase an E-sports organization. “We like to be agents of change, rather than sit and watch from the sidelines,” 76ers CEO Scott O’Neil told ESPN senior writer, Darren Rovell. “Our owners, Josh and David, have big eyes, big vision and big appetite.” Many other teams have followed suit.
E-sports has been under question for a long time on whether it is an actual sport. E-sports has earned its position among the list of international sports as it is becoming just as big as other sports. Millions of people are watching these events and competitions and millions of dollars are coming from it. Not only do E-sports level with some of the biggest sports in the world in revenue and viewership, but it also takes just as much skill and time that these other sports take to master. Competitive video gaming takes careful planning, precise timing and skillful execution. Many of the same traits that it takes for other international sports. Even if they are not moving their bodies physically. they are still using many of the same parts of being a professional athlete to be a professional gamer.
Right here at Arkansas Tech, an E-sports club has surfaced. The club’s main function is to be a central place where many Arkansas Tech students can get together and form teams to go and compete in college level tournaments. As E-sports continues to grow in popularity and, more importantly, revenue, it is becoming clear that E-sports is here to stay.