Last year an international tournament took place in Seattle, United States and the winning team took home six million dollars in prize money, while the tournaments fond was about 18 million dollars. You would think that this competition was in tennis, poker, chess, football or athletics but no. This competition was the International 2015 – a eSport event for the game DoTa 2, which took place for the fifth time and gathered 16 teams from all over the world.
eSport is one of the most rising trends in the world and it is getting recognition across the world of sports. The activity that these athletes engage is online competitive gaming, which features multiple participants aiming to defeat other teams in the targeted game. Similar to other modern sports, there are multiple championships and organizers: Electronic Sports League, Major League Gaming, League of Legends Championship Series etc.
The origins of eSports can be traced back to 1972, when Stanford University first organized a tournament for the now legendary game Spacewar. The price was a yearly subscription to the Rolling Stone magazine – imagine the improvement this sport has made since the beginnings. A couple of years later, Atari organized the tournament for the game Space Invaders, but the real beginning of the eSport can be brought to year 1990, when Nintendo hosted the first World championship, which attracted couple of thousand players. The main games were Super Mario and Tetris.
eSports went a long way from being associated to geeks, children and loners to professional players that are earning your monthly or even yearly salary by participating in a single event. The most common saying is that everybody can participate in online competitive games, but that is not really the case. In every sport you need to make effort and practice and eSports players tend to exercise up to 12 hours a day to prepare for a major tournament. From all the population that plays competitive games, only 1% at the end up living from this, which the percentage associated with every other major sport.
It is estimated that by the year of 2018 the eSports industry will turn over about 1.8 $ billion which is an extraordinary amount for a relatively new sport. Sponsorship deals are being signed every day, with giants like Red Bull, Coca Cola and numerous technology giants publicly supporting the rise of this sport.
When we talk about the most popular eSport today, it really depends who you ask. While there are several competitions for World of Warcraft, DoTa, Call of Duty or Counter Strike, the leading eSport right now is League of Legends, shortened to LoL. This game, released as a free online game by Riot games in 2009, is already called as the football of eSports and have 67 million number of active players on a monthly basis. The LoL World championship is one of the biggest eSports event of the year and numerous teams of five players are participating. 2015 event had a 2.1 $ million prize fond and the winners from China took home one million.
eSports will only rise in the future and it is very important for the overall culture to accept it and start to see it every other sport. Its popularity will only grow and it already has a fan base that some ancient sports can very much be jealous of.
The odds on E-sports is in the menu to the left.