Posted | March 18th, 2019
Esports and the Mainstream
In recent years gaming and esports have been slowly filtering into mainstream media and culture. The recent projection of streamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins is a prime example of how gaming and esport cultures are becoming the norm.
The rise of Battle Royale titles such as Apex Legends, Call of Duty’s Blackout, Fortnite and Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds are playing an integral role in increasing interest in gaming and esports specifically. While the rise of the Battle Royale genre has seen considerable growth in such a short space of time, it’s the “traditional” sports leagues becoming increasingly involved in professional gaming which is even more interesting.
While Ninja has transitioned from esports player to full-time streamer in North America, back in Europe there’s another young and extremely talented player making headlines. 17-year-old Donovan “F2Tekkz” Hunt is taking the FIFA esports scene by storm, becoming one of the few players to win four consecutive FIFA Ultimate Team tournaments and accumulating over $100K USD in prize money.
Tekkz was also able to qualify for the FIFA ePremier League where he’ll represent his favourite team Liverpool.
The ePL will see all 20 Premier League clubs compete to become the inaugural ePremier League champion, but the Premier League is not the first major sports league to expand into competitive gaming. Motorsport has also ventured into the esports market in the past few years. Formula One and the World Rallycross Championship have both held championships in F1 2017, F1 2018 and Dirt 4 respectively.
The second season of the F1 Esports series was contested by nine of the ten Formula One teams who compete in the world championship. Over four million people tuned in across a number of weeks as the series culminated with Mercedes driver Brendon Leigh successfully defending the championship he first won in 2017. With such high engagement numbers it’s expected that fans of real-life racing could well be beginning to filter onto the virtual racetrack, where the action and intensity is equally as exciting as the real thing.
Over in North America Nascar is leading the way. Utilising the iRacing motorsport simulation platform, their $100K USD sim-racing series is the longest running sim-racing championship. Now in the 10th season a multitude of esports organisations including G2 and Flipsid3 Tactics are competing against real-world Nascar teams who are fielding their own teams of drivers on the virtual racetrack.
Looking ahead, it’s only a matter of time before other sporting organisations and non-endemic brands become involved in the esport space. With such a large and ever-expanding audience competing across a variety of titles, the opportunity for mainstream names to become involved in esports has never been greater.
About Kairos Esports
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