The Philadelphia 76ers acquired two E-Sports teams recently. E-Sports is shorthand for electronic sports – video games played professionally. The winners of E-Sports receive real money as well as college tuition, (and other prizes), as winnings. E-Sports events are broadcast and have many viewers across the world.
Several professional sports franchises, such as Spanish soccer team Valencia, already own E-Sports teams. E-sports is gaining in popularity expecting to bring in nearly half a billion dollars in revenue in 2016 (an increase of nearly $100US million from the previous year). Already a part of culture in South Korea and increasingly becoming more so in the U.S.. ESPN, the sports magnate, has a special page dedicated specifically to E-Sports. Websites such as Twitch.TV broadcast E-Sports events for viewers worldwide. Many dedicated pages exist broadcasting E-Sports news and coverage.
E-Sports teams and athletes take it very seriously and train many hours. Some E-Sports events offer scholarships and tuition assistance as prizes. Many universities are treating E-Sports same as other athletic programs and admit students based on their E-Sports competitive ability. There are recreational E-Sports leagues and clubs across the nation.
Many parent’s fears might subside as society moves in the direction of accepting video games as a normal part of life. Some E-Sports athletes train for many hours daily to remain in top competitive performance shape. The Philadelphia 76ers’ E-Sports team is called ‘Dignitas’ and will have sales, sponsors, marketing, merchandising, and recruiting of new players, same as any other professional sports team. The E-Athletes will compete in many games including League of Legends, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, and Heroes of the Storm.
Perhaps there is a bright future for this growing trend in treating video games like the normal part of life it has already become. The Dignitas are already competing against major E-Sports teams and hopefully will do well as Electronic Sports is surely on its way to becoming a multi-billion dollar industry.