In E-Sports, Video Gamers Draw Real Crowds and Big Money
Thursday, September 18, 2014
New York Times (08/31/14) Wingfield, Nick
The electronic games industry is targeting professional game competitions as a lucrative revenue generator in the emerging market of e-sports. Such matches sell out giant arenas, and draw audiences watching tournaments at home that are bigger than some top traditional sporting events. SuperData Research estimates more than 70 million people watch e-sports online or on TV globally, while multiple independent game leagues have been established in response to e-sports' swelling fan base and financial opportunities. Factors behind the expansion of e-sports include the proliferation of broadband Internet and free-to-play games, and contestants in one recent tournament in Seattle vied for $11 million in prize money. In addition to ballooning numbers of e-sports participants, the Internet has fostered stronger ties between fans and players. For example, the Twitch website, which enables gamers to stream video of their playing sessions online from PCs and consoles, also lets them earn money from ads, subscription fees, and viewer contributions. Companies with a stake in the video game industry are hoping e-sports' massive audiences will attract more money from major marketers that can subsequently be fed into improving event production values, which in turn will generate more interest in gaming. Marketers find such audiences, which are mostly male, employed, and under the age of 35, very appealing because they are harder to reach with traditional TV ads.
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