Today, entertainment has a multitude of different sub-genres, including movies, music, and reading.
Whenever video games are brought up, they have always been viewed as a pastime with friends every few nights, but could videogames really become a sport, even one to participate in professionally?
Since the start of videogames itself in the 1970s, video game tournaments have been present.
In November 1980, Atari held the first-ever large-scale video game tournament, the National Space Invaders Championship, with its main purpose being a promotion of their console, the Atari 2600.
The tournament consisted of 10,000 participants and became the catalyst for the rest of eSports history. After the NSIC, when the arrival of the PC came into play, eSports became more than just local tournaments. Players could practice with other players online, getting better every minute, becoming faster in their mind.
Now in the 2000s, eSports has become one of the fastest growing watched event. According to polygon.com, more than 20 million tuned in to watch the International Dota Championship in 2014, and the concurrent amount of viewers peak was approximately two million. It was only beaten by the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) World Championship, with the concurrent peak of 11.2 million viewers at once, and the overall unique viewer count for the finals came in at 27 million.
Chances of getting into eSports as a professional career are slim, with only .08 percent of players in the game League of Legends in the highest tier of skill out of the 27 million daily players. Yet, it is still being taken seriously by many TV networks, such as ESPN and TBS.
For the companies that create the game, the earnings from these tournaments comes mainly from ad revenue from sponsors and the tickets that are sold to be at the event, while the players get their earnings from the prize money for winning a tournament or achieving a certain place, which may be seen as a risky way to make money.
The total amount of prize money that has been given by Riot Games to teams in tournaments has come up to $30,866,103.39 throughout 1748 tournaments since 2010. These players also make money from sponsorships with companies that create gaming keyboards, mouses, and other accessories.
From the covering of competitive gaming on national channels like ESPN and TBS, the high amounts of money coming to the companies that created these video games, and Players coming from all across the world to create a career in eSports, the question, “Are eSports worth the time of day?” is easily answered with a confident yes.