Electronic sports (or esports) is the fastest growing sports market that anyone can see right now. Whether it is classic games like Dota 2, League of Legends, and the various iterations of FIFA or newer titles being bred for esport viewers like Overwatch 2 and Valorant, the views and prizes for these professional events and tournaments just keep going up. The question is, how will this growth affect the viewership and engagement of these fans?
More traditional sports teams are now seeing this growth and want to get their fans involved. This fan engagement level has only increased, with teams like Chelsea FC in the U.K. and Flamengo in Brazil either forming their own eSports team or endorsing one that has already started. Executives realize just how valuable this new market could be to their brand and want to get involved.
Questions do remain about this expansion. Yes, it is suitable for the companies who want to expand into this burgeoning market, but it can take its toll on the players’ health. They train like regular athletes but work on playing for many hours a day, knowing that slip-ups could cost them everything. Especially considering how young many of the esports stars are, this can lead to some long term health issues that will need to be addressed.
One thing is sure: fan engagement is only going to increase with the popularity of esports. Whether from traditional sports teams or the new game companies designing it with esports in mind, the interaction will increase. Where it will stop, nobody knows.