Can eSports overtake the real sports market in the upcoming years?
This topic has been trending since 2014 with most of the predictions being fulfilled. Competitive gaming has been on rising since the 2000s when computer technology took another twist. Since then this information age has encouraged eSports with better visual graphics and improved gaming. This has resulted in many companies investing in the genre.
In 2019 GAMEGRIN reported that it was predicted that the esports industry would exceed 450 million viewers by the year 2020. As predicted, in 2020 the viewership reached over 496 million viewers. To show how huge the sport is becoming, the International Olympic Committee has discussed the possibility of having the sport as a medal sport in the Olympics. The Asian Games to be held in 2022 will have esports as an official medal sport.
In 2018 the esports world championship finals had 99.6 million viewers online which were more than the Super Bowl had on television. Appreciating the sport, ESPN among other sports broadcasters now shows esports events. Popular artists like Drake and David Beckham are now sponsoring the sport.
However, due to lack of physicality and endurance unlike the so-called real sports like soccer, rugby and basketball, other large networks refuse to recognise esports as a real sport. In terms of overtaking the real sports market, esports competes with all major sports played in the world which makes it a bit difficult. The COVID-19 pandemic stopped all sporting activities but esports continued online and viewers were not disturbed as opposed to other real sports.
Africa is still to fully embrace the opportunities presented by eSports. Kenya for example was one of the first countries to legalise online casinos. Online casinos in Kenya are regulated by the Betting Control and Licensing Board of Kenya (BCLBK). The regulating body was created by the parliament in 1966.
However, the continent suffers from a lack of infrastructure and internet connectivity to allow youths to participate in the popular sport.
In Africa, most parents tend to discourage children from interested in video games. The sport itself in Africa is a luxury as most parents and guardians want their children to be professionals in medicine or engineering.
Despite all this, SPORTS SHOW published the top ten most viewed sports in 2020. These include Golf with the least viewers pegged at 450 million and soccer topping the charts with 4 billion viewers. Other sporting activities in the listed range from 500 million to 2.5 billion viewers which is still more than the 496 million recorded by esports.
Viewers of esports also watch other sports so it is safe to say esports has overtaken other real sports and with time will continue rising. All technological developments encourage the sport and what is required is for people to appreciate esports.