Things E-Sports and Professional Sports Could Learn from each other
Hello there E-sports Fans! Welcome to the [E-sports weekl-Editorial] – today, I’ll be discussing things that E-sports could stand to learn from professional sports and things that I feel e-sports have gotten right from the get go.
- Standardized Leagues for Each Game, or involve each separate league in a larger overall series of Leagues, separated by season - Professionalism. Though Starcraft 2 and the MLG have made huge strides in this area, certain genres, the fighting game community in particular, could stand to improve - Better management of teams. Many teams seem to have an issue of sniping top talent from other teams – without Contracts and a form of free agency, many teams just end up dying off when their top-tier players leave for a team that is better funded. - A dedicated channel to cover E-Sports or competitive gaming, a la ESPN. This channel could feature documentaries on players, commentators, actual events, strategy discussion for various games and other game related media such as game music remixes, fan films etc - Fantasy leagues – these are a huge hit in the professional sports world and provide another reason for fans to track all of their favorite players, who are spread out across several teams, thus driving up ratings, site traffic for each respective league, etc. - eSports Arenas, or studios. This idea has already been realized several times over in Korea through KeSPA and now the GSL, and to a lesser extent here, as the MLG is looking at doing this as well. But it wouldn’t have to be big, just a place where 100 or so people could be seated for standard league play to watch events and have a crowd cheering. The fighting game community in particular has been doing this for years with arcades, though those are dwindling in this console based age.
- A more civil community, on and off the field: E-sports has long had a sense of community that is rarely echoed in the Professional sports world. Even long standing rivals have been known to be friends outside of the game and help each other get better. The same could be said of E-Sports fans, as most opinions and fans of respective players get along, which is a stark contrast to the Professional Sports world. Take the Yankees/Boston rivalry for example – fans of each will often say hateful things to each other that can often escalate to violence. While this isn’t to say that some players/fans of e-Sports are not prone to violence at times, in general e-Sports has the more civil community. - User generated content: There are strict laws in place that prevents anyone but the most accredited organizations, such as ESPN, from making any content using footage from a major Sports telecast. However, in the eSports world, fans are constantly stringing together highlight videos of their favorite players creating hype and interest in the community as a whole. Someone might watch one of these videos featuring a game they are unfamiliar with and as a result begin playing said game, possibly even entering tournaments themselves. - A less exclusive recruitment system. You have to be extremely lucky currently to end up playing professional sports. There are thousands of talented players out there just stuck in the minor leagues or even playing in local leagues – a solution to this of course would be more teams, or better coverage of Pro-Am leagues beyond college. It wouldn’t even have to be on TV, as eSports have proven that internet streaming content will be watched. - Thought process on the game itself. Players in E-Sports have a true passion for the game they are involved in, but many professional athletes just tend to look at the game they play as a job and nothing more. Dollar signs have blurred the true reason many of these athletes started playing the game in the first place. - Less attention on player’s personal lives. I don’t care if NFL player X cheated on his wife and had to pay fines to the NFL. Why should he? Because it’s bad publicity? What players get up to off the field should be of no concern to the general public, as long as their actions have no impact on their performance. You rarely hear anything about an eSports player’s personal life other than how they train for the game, and that’s the way it should be. Athletes aren’t like politicians where their ethics can be called into question, as they really have no bearing on life outside of sports. You might say “But they’re role models!”, to which I respond the media has no business reporting on anything that goes on outside of each player’s respective sport. It just wouldn’t be an issue if the media could just focus on real issues instead of wasting time talking about a player’s personal life.
All in all, E-sports and Professional sports are two different things. One thing to remember is that eSports are still really in their infancy. The average demographic for an eSports audience is about 18-35, whereas the target range for sports is a much wider range. As we of the Gamer generation get older, things will begin to get more mainstream. I’m just happy I get to see it evolve.
I know, I know. You're probably tired of EVO videos by now, but this one was so good I couldn't pass it up - This is the top 5 Hype Moments from Evo 2011, via Maximillian. Click through the video to see his channel and all of his other awesome videos
Dustin Steiner is Gamezone's E-Sports correspondent! Follow Dustin on Twitter @SteinerDustin