Bar Fights: Videogame Fans Muscle their Way into Sports Bars

  • Sports bars have become venues for live Internet videogame matches between professional gamers.
  • The events attract a large numbers of gaming fans that have already been watching alone at home, but are attracted to the energy and screams of other fans. One tournament in July attracted some 85,000 online viewers via
  • “This summer, ‘Starcraft II’ has become the newest barroom spectator sport,” according to The Wall Street Journal. “Fans organize so-called Barcraft events, taking over pubs and bistros from Honolulu to Florida and switching big-screen TV sets to Internet broadcasts of professional game matches happening often thousands of miles away.”
  • The “Starcraft” franchise is very popular in Korea, where two cable stations provide dedicated coverage of “Starcraft II” (in addition to “Halo,” “Counter-Strike” and “Call of Duty”). Fervor for public viewings is spilling into the U.S. for the first time.
  • “This feels like the World Cup,” said one Barcraft attendee recently in San Francisco. “You experience the energy and screams of everyone around you when a player makes an amazing play.”