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The Dark Horse Of The Sports Economy

1080 words - 5 pages

Professional video game player, to the uninformed this title would seem ridiculous and made up, but the U.S government not only recognizes this title as a viable career, but they have granted professional athletic visa’s (on the same par with international stars in professional basketball football and baseball) to foreign gamers traveling to the U.S to take part in their championships. The term for the league these professional gamers come from is eSports. eSports is quickly growing and on track to becoming a professional sport and as such major multinational companies such as Nissan and Coca Cola are racing to grab an early foothold in the sport. As with any popular professional sport the economic impacts are potentially enormous.
The eSports competitive scene as with any sport has had a growth phase. Competition in eSports has been around as long as the first video games, but the first official video game tournament was recognized as the Space Invaders tournament that Atari held in 1980. The tournament drew over 10,000 participants and from that eSports was born. As gaming consoles became more and more popular in the home, companies such as Sony Nintendo and Blockbuster helped to foster growing competition by holding national tournaments across the country. The 1990-2000’s ushered in the new era of gaming that would not only prove to be more responsive to general public (creating a larger fan base and audience) but was a form of gaming that had a practicality sense to it, this was of course personal computer gaming or PC gaming. While PC gaming was not considered the first instance of organized video game competition, it is credited with having the first instance of eSports. In which 2000 competitors competed for the prize of a Ferrari. A short time after that the CPL was established or Cyberathlete Professional League and was credited with being one of the first “gaming leagues.” They offered prize money in excess of over $10,000 for their tournaments.. The 2000’s paved the way for what would be considered the flourishing eSports of today when computer games such as StarCraft became global selling hits across the world, and companies saw the opportunity to host leagues that would receive a large viewing audience. This sparked the start of Major League Gaming or MLG which was founded in 2002 and became the staple industry standard for eSports. The league featured a plethora of games to appeal to almost every type of gamer. The league offered major prize pools with certain championship prizes of over $165,000, as well as premiering the first televised gaming league. Although the televised league was short lived it served as an indicator for how far the eSports had evolved.
In 2009 a game called League of Legends would grow to become the most played video game on the planet having 33 million different registered players, which is more players than kids who part take in America’s favorite past time, otherwise known as baseball. League of...

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