eSport

More than just a game: e-sports in the fast lane

eSport

01/17/2023 - For a long time now, e-sports can no longer be described as an insider tip: The digital showdown of the world's best e-sports players has long since taken on dimensions that were previously only known from events such as the Superbowl or the Champions League final.

The rapid growth of the scene and the enthusiasm surrounding computer games is already evident from the fact that 92 million people watched e-sports events in Europe in 2020. By the end of 2023, the global audience is even expected to grow to 646 million people.[1] The development of recent years shows: e-sports is setting its own standards. "While comparisons can be made with other sports in terms of popularity and professionalization, far too often this overlooks its great independence. In many areas - such as international orientation or distribution channels - e-sports has successfully forged its own path and set new standards," says Jürg Isler, CEO and founder of Scenotech GmbH and an event architect himself.

Rising audience figures

Sponsorships are considered to be a decisive pillar for market growth. The increasing and already impressive viewer numbers of major e-sports leagues and tournaments have made this area particularly interesting for many companies. For example, almost four million people watched the final of the League of Legends Worlds 2020 on a live stream at the same time. And the number of spectators on site has also grown strongly in recent years: While a total of 104,000 visitors traveled to ESL's Intel Extreme Masters in Katowice, Poland, in 2015, the multi-day e-sports event, consisting of the "IEM World Championship" competitions and the IEM Expo, already attracted 174.000 visitors on site.[2] "This development also ensures that sponsors in these environments have the advantage over partners in traditional sports in that they generally enjoy greater exclusivity due to a smaller number of partnerships overall," says Isler. However, this is not due to a lack of interest from the industry, but rather to the fact that partner spaces are still marketed comparatively exclusively here to date.

Around the globe

New technologies and ever-growing digitization are seen as the key to e-sports. Players can compete against each other at any time and from anywhere in the world - all that is needed is a PC and functioning Internet. But even now, e-sports events fill entire halls and the prize money sometimes runs into the millions. In addition, many Germans are now active in clubs and are playing an important part in making the sport socially acceptable.[3] There is certainly provision for ever new talent in the popular games - thanks to the growing popularity of video games. "Attention to e-sports will thus continue to grow, enthusiasm will continue to increase and the fan base will continue to grow rapidly," is how the expert assesses the situation. There is no sign of stagnation here for a long time to come, because unlike traditional, static sports, e-sports is constantly changing. "It not only connects people around the globe, it connects entire generations. It creates equality, cohesion, togetherness, technology and passion," concludes the event architect.

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