A Familiarity in Esports

The growth of esports as a whole has been phenomenal as it is quickly on its way to becoming perhaps the most viewed subset of sporting events in the world – capturing millions of players across several different game titles, we’re moving into a time where there is something from everyone. For many however there has always been a bit of a disconnect, for those who aren’t particularly interested in gaming as a whole it can often be difficult to understand the nuances of the bigger and more popular titles and make understanding them much harder, but things are slowly changing as more familiarity is entering the world of esports.

The change is largely coming from two titles – FIFA and NBA2K. Both in recent years have started to develop their online leagues directly through these games with the NBA directly supporting its esports prospect and with that the introduction of some familiarity into the gaming world. Fans who may have typically only followed more traditional sporting options now have something within the esports world that is more recognizable and something they’re able to follow and understand much more easily.

Not to say there aren’t differences, as there are many adjustments needed but it does allow for the more casual fanbase to start the change over without feeling overwhelmed by something entirely new.

This is something shown to be extremely valuable throughout the pandemic period too – the postponement and cancellation of many events throughout the start of the year left many fans without much to watch, particularly those involved in sports betting. The rising popularity of these different esports has changed that however as it gave fans something familiar that hadn’t found as much disruption as regular sporting events, and within larger operators becoming involved and offering benefits such as the William Hill promo code aimed at these esports titles, it has opened the door for the crossover as betting and gameplay continued without cancellation.

Other more traditional sporting names are also starting to make the change with more investment moving into the esports space, with the biggest games starting to bring in numbers that rival some of the largest sporting events too it’s easy to see why – viewership numbers for the Superbowl in 2019, for example, were estimated to be at around 99 million during the peak, with around 3.1 million of these viewers being concurrent through online platforms. In comparison, the biggest esports title in the world, League of Legends, boasted a similar number of peak viewers.

However, the numbers suggest that peak concurrent viewership hit around 44 million during the final days of the competition – with esports only really growing in the way they have over the past ten years or so, and the betting side of that growth in the past four years, the numbers are certainly impressive and it’s easy to see why so many of the bigger names are looking to have their franchise represented in the online space, and why so many sports will soon make the change to an online league too.

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