September 3, 2014
Over 70 million people watch e-sports over the Internet or on TV worldwide, estimates SuperData Research. ESL, Major League Gaming and other independent game leagues put on dozens of competitions per year. Game tournaments now sell out arenas in the same way that professional sports do, and top players receive incomes in the millions. Professional gamers are now granted visas, just as professional athletes are. And the success of the gaming industry is attracting advertisers worldwide.
“Having already upended the entertainment world — global revenue for games is $20 billion higher than the music industry’s and is chasing that of the movie business — the games industry has turned its ambitions toward the lucrative world of professional video game competition, widely known as e-sports,” reports The New York Times.
Amazon paid $970 million to acquire live video streaming service Twitch, that boasts 55 million monthly users who tune in to watch gamers compete. The deal was announced after Google backed out of its $1 billion deal.
“The idea of Google acquiring Twitch made perfect sense, given how incredibly engaged Twitch users are (the average user watched nearly 2 hours per day in 2013) and the lucrative implications that would have had on Google’s advertising business,” explains USA Today.
The move could help Amazon distinguish its Fire TV set-top box apart from the competition. It could also tie in nicely to Amazon’s anticipated ad network. Regardless, the demand for e-sports online and in physical locations continues to grow.
“A championship tournament last October for ‘League of Legends,’ an arena battle game, streamed around the world, attracting 8.5 million simultaneous online viewers at its peak — the same as the peak viewership for the deciding game of professional hockey’s Stanley Cup finals in June,” notes NYT. “This year, the ‘League of Legends’ championship is expected to attract 40,000 to 50,000 attendees to a soccer stadium in Seoul.”