i3 - July/August 2018 - 25
"Tens of millions of people have watched our competitions
over the past year. You can safely say that our games are being
carried by more broadcasters around the world than any other
game in esports," explains Todd Sitrin, SVP and GM of competitive gaming at EA Sports.
But esports is more than the first truly global digital sport.
Video games, by nature, are digital, which is opening up new
ways to capture and analyze data. For example, Tobii has partnered with Turner Broadcasting to track the eyes of CS:GO
players during ELEAGUE practice and competition. Where
professionals focus on the screen creates valuable tips and
strategies that can be used to improve other player's perfor-
boot camps that NBA rookies partake in at their team training
facilities, which includes everything from nutritionists to physical trainers to psychologists. And tracking all aspects of their
daily life from workouts to gaming to nutrition is now common
for the professional video game athlete today.
These athletes are also revolutionizing the way fans can interact directly with their favorite players. Taking things well beyond
social media, which is an established staple of traditional sports,
livestreaming practice allows for pro gamers to chat and interact
with fans daily. And through additional sponsorship partnerships
with the likes of Turtle Wax, Domino's Pizza and Fed Ex, esports
pros are connecting with their global fan base live online and at
physical tournaments at a rate far beyond any traditional athlete.
These types of interactions are part of esports growth and popularity, and traditional sports simply cannot compete with this.
The new report from the Sports Innovation Lab, Tracking
Trends in Sports Technology: A Sports Technology Market
Outlook, finds that the esports market is skewed heavily
towards sponsorship and advertising revenue, but as the industry continues to mature, revenues will become more evenly
distributed across streams. These diversified revenue streams
will, in turn, stabilize the industry, creating a more sustainable
business model for all involved, while opening the door to others who have remained on the fence. The legalization of gambling in the U.S. will have far-reaching growth consequences
for esports, alongside traditional sports.
CRYPTOCURRENCIES AND ESPORTS
which allowed even
less wealthy soccer fans
to get involved.
mances, and also help amateur gamers further enjoy games
where they have invested time and money.
Many esports games are free to play, but offer in-game microtransactions for gamers to customize avatars and purchase new
characters. Epic Games' Fortnite, which is now the most popular
game in the world, brought in $300 million in April alone,
according to SuperData Research.
NBA teams like the Philadelphia Sixers and Miami Heat own
esports organizations Team Dignitas and Misfits, respectively.
They're sending their esports pros through the same type of
C TA . t e c h / i 3
Cryptocurrencies are all the rage in esports, especially with
the recent Supreme Court PASPA reversal in the U.S.
Companies like Unikrn, which includes Mark Cuban as an
investor, are offering tokens that gamers can use to place
their bets on video game matches at the MGM casinos in Las
Vegas (UnikoinGold) or online (UnikoinSilver). Unikrn is
now adding real money to its blockchain offerings for states
that legalize betting.
"Regulated sports betting is healthy for the environment as
it means more consumer protection and will undermine skin
betting and other illicit gambling outlets which take advantage
of at-risk individuals, including minors, by offering unregulated services," says Rahul Sood, CEO of Unikrn.
There are also startups like UltraPlay (eGold), Luckbox and
Herosphere's Herocoin that hope to cash in on this esports
betting craze, which shows no signs of slowdown.
Play2Live (P2L), the world's first decentralized streaming
platform for gamers and esports fans based upon blockchain
technology, raised more than $30 million in token funds. The
company is investing $2 million in this new ecosystem, seeding esports and video game companies that focus on the field
of computer vision in games, artificial intelligence in games,
game strategy optimization, game data analysis and match
Alexey Burdyko, CEO of Play2Live, says the number of
projects in the esports industry, including token sales, will
grow with the industry. "Although there are dozens of them
now, in a year or two we can expect a real boom of gaming
startups," Burdyko adds.
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