‘E my sports’ Simpsons episode makes waves
Popular and long-running TV series The Simpson saw something pretty interesting this last Sunday. Bart Simpson, bratty son of Homer Simpson, got into esports! Specifically, he got so good he managed to be in competitions (along with some other recurring characters). Homer is taking up the role of Bart’s passionate coach.
— The Simpsons (@TheSimpsons) March 15, 2019
Bart gets a new computer and finds himself hooked to the game “Conflict of Enemies”, a title based on League of Legends. He eventually makes it all the way to a world championship of the game and travels all the way to Seoul! Naturally, Homer is mostly interested because he found out that high-paid players can make millions. Naturally, things aren’t going to go quite so smoothly, but that’s enough on the spoilers if you haven’t seen it!
That’s a pretty fun setup to begin with, but it gets even better when you add to it the fact that two particular people collaborated on the episode – Whalen Rozelle and Jarred Kennedy. If those names don’t mean anything to you, they are the co-heads of Esports at Riot Games. Riot Games are, of course, the company behind popular esport League of Legends.
These two lent their expertise to the animators and writers in order to ensure that the episode would show esports as authentically as possible to players, fans and coaches. The show’s producers also toured the facilities of an actual esports team – more specifically, of veteran team Team Liquid, one of the oldest esports teams in the world. Team owner Steve Arhancet sees a positive change in this new episode, with more of a focus being put on esports in the West, rather than the previous focus on (East) Asia.
This collab between the Simpsons and Riot Games is pretty cool, but it’s not unique – Riot Games has made several forays into sports and entertainment sectors other than esports in order to promote esports and reach new fanbases.
“We hope that this episode, on top of all the work we’re doing around the world establishing leagues that are working with leading brands like Nike and Mercedes-Benz, as well as the rising popularity of streamers and pro players, will make a real impact on how people view ‘League of Legends’ esports in the long term,” a Riot representative said.
Recently, Netflix also profiled LCS pro players and games in a series called “7 Days Out” which follows teams during their week leading up to one of the LoL league’s most competitive annual events. In addition to that, a Vox program called “Explained” examined the changes in the esports ecosystem over the last few years – the overall rise and professionalisation of the sport. Esports have come a long way since the times of LAN-parties in the basement and friends trading game disks back and forth, and the whole world is watching now – in no small part because companies like Riot Games make the extra effort to raise awareness and get more people interested!