It has been quite clear for a while now that the sports industry has been plagued by a plethora of issues – these include the drastic decline in live viewership as well as the possibility of the legalization of sports betting in all states which the leagues are not yet prepared for. The drastically declining live viewership has its roots deeply entrenched in the distribution model that has by all means been outdated. The dominant companies are to blame for this since they are responsible for the slow rollout and implementation of technological innovation in the industry – for instance, the NFL is still not allowing teams to post replay content on social media and FIFA snailed its way to the implementation of goal-line technology.
The sports industry has quite a lot to put up with and with the entry of eSports, the atmosphere is about to get even more competitive. eSports has been on a roll for a while now and as is stands, even people who are not avid gamers acknowledge its popularity. With the tremendous annual increase in viewership over the past couple of years, the eSports industry has bloomed rapidly thanks to the constant experimentation as well as the innovative ways it allows viewers to engage with online content.
Now, platforms like Twitch and even YouTube are facilitating the streaming of hundreds of games including popular eSports titles like League of Legends and Dota 2 both of which generate over 60 million viewed hours monthly. These numbers are significantly large and thus it is impossible to downplay the importance of game streaming especially after putting into consideration the current media landscape. eSports is breaking new grounds for content delivery and interactivity through a number of outstanding service models and this can be partially attributed to the inherently digital nature of eSports which makes the integration of new technologies rather easy and natural. On the same note, this presents new ways to cash in on revenues from different aspects of the eSports business models that are apparently way more efficient than those of regular sports. But why is there such a huge divide between the two?
As it turns out, eSports is more open to innovation, is very engaging and has the potential to grow into something much bigger. This does not necessarily mean that traditional sports completely lacks similar qualities – there are just a number of issues that are holding the industry back. One of the most significant being the dependence of large sports corporations like UEFA and FIFA on revenue streams from cable companies who in most cases buy rights to be the sole broadcasters of matches. It is rather obvious that this leaves regular sports in the stone age in terms of delivery as viewers are now migrating to streaming services. This is where the changes need to be initiated and many of them have already acknowledged the huge market shift and are already taking necessary steps towards regaining the lost glory. Meanwhile, eSports has never shown as much promise as it has now.