Once upon a time major sporting events had the whole nation glued to the screen.
Friends and family would come from afar to gather and watch.
For example the fight of the century Frazier vs Mohamid Ali was watched by over 300 million viewers in 1971. It must have felt like the whole world stood still.
Compare that with the 2020 Super Bowl Kansas City Chiefs vs San Francisco 49ers ratings of 102 million. While 102 million isn’t too bad its not 300 million!
Historically many traditional sports are so popular in the U.S. because children start playing these sports at a young age at school.
This grass roots interaction at an early age instills a passion for these sports.
Sports are a tradition and have become part of the culture.
So Why Are Traditional Sports Ratings Lower Than They Were Historically?
So why are sports ratings down?
One word millennials.
Twenty to thirty year olds were raised in the mid 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.
Recent college grads don’t sit in front of the TV, they don’t have TVs or buy in to link.
With declining sports ratings and aging audiences many major sports teams are finding a lack of interest from twenty to thirty year olds.
So Sports teams have to work extra hard on marketing to bring this disengaged audience in.
Recent college grads live in a faster paced world and have shorter attention spans.
Mobile phones and tablets are what young people are interested in.
You will find them on Tik Tok or Instagram for the duration of the day and viewing their shows on YouTube.
Terrestrial television is a thing of the past to this generation.
This generation and the ones coming up now love computer games. The new tech savy generations when they are not gaming they are watching gaming.
The image of computer games was once totally different from that of traditional sports.
Video games were once seen to be played by nerds and outsiders but have now become accepted as the mainstream.
How Video Gaming Has Grown
In 1970 when someone talked of playing a computer game they meant a 2 color game moving a thin line across the screen with two buttons.
Tell this to a 10 year old now and you would get a vacant look of confusion.
With gaming technology becoming cheaper and more accessible now it has now begun to encroach on the territory and viewership of major league sports.
Computer games are a billion-dollar business and have been for a long time. In 2020, the computer game market in the United States was estimated at 32 billion U.S. dollars.
“There has been huge investment in the gaming industry. The gaming sector is now more profitable than the movie industry. At this rate it is possible that this trend continues into sports” says Andrew Blumer of finance resource site compare brokers.
In 2020 modern games are photorealistic and simulate reality to an astonishing degree.
Some of the first computer games in the 70s and 80s were simulations of major sports.
With each technological leap in computing sports games have been right there.
Better graphics, better sound and controls.
The birth of the internet has allowed people to connect and play the same game anywhere in the world.
Talking on headsets in real time when playing in leagues and tournaments.
Some players have become professional computer game players earning their living from playing in large scale computer game tournaments.
These tournaments have come to be known as eSports.
eSports are organized multiplayer video game competitions.
These eSport competitions can be between individuals or teams and increasingly pro players.
Is There Money in eSports?
Winnings for large scale gaming tournaments in the world are getting up there if not surpassing winnings in established sports that have been around for over a hundred years.
After the St. Louis Blues took home the Stanley Cup, the winning team was awarded $3.75 million and the runner-up got $2.2 million.
The first and second place winners of the 2019 International gaming tournament took home $25 million in 2019. Total winnings for the International gaming tournament in 2019 was $34 million. Not bad at all for playing computer games.
It’s possible the winning computer gaming teams couldn’t even complete a lap around a running course.
We can see that for at least a few years to come eSports will continue to grow and become part of the mainstream.
In 2020 some professional eSports gamers are winning big sums of money.
eSports Increasing Faster Than Traditional Sports
eSports has had huge growth throughout the last four years.
eSport viewership and income has been increasing since 2015.
The expanding esport viewership has helped greatly in the income growth of the industry.
One of the fundamental reasons why there has been development in eSports viewership is on the grounds that more individuals are sharing substance via web-based networking media.
There has been a gigantic ascent in attention to eSports since its introduction to the world in 2015.
Back then, there were around 800,000 people who were active in eSports.
These numbers expanded significantly as the following year, in excess of a billion people were active in eSports around the all around the world.
In 2019, an estimated 1.8 billion people were actively viewing eSporting events.
This viewership will likely increase and the industry will further see revenue growth in the coming years. This is in contrast to traditional sport events that are having to fight for sponsorship deals.
Twitch and YouTube have over 2 million active video game streamers.
Active viewers of eSports is estimated to increase to more than 2.6 million in 2020.
eSports and The Future
The growth in eSports tournaments and the eSport prize money has been immense over the last four years.
In 2020, the total prize money for 5000 tournaments was more than $1.8 billion.
There is a huge amount of money in eSports. This will only get bigger and bigger as the decade goes on.
While traditional sports will probably always be there in one way or another, the world is moving to integrate technology into the sports world.