Is esports really the world’s most accessible sport?
Esports has come from nowhere to become one of the world’s most exciting entertainment trends. Whilst there is still plenty of debate about whether competitive gaming can be truly classed as a ‘real’ sport, it’s evident that this phenomenon is not going to go away, and it could soon become a real match for traditional sports like football and basketball.
There are many reasons as to why esports has become a potential world-beater. From the constantly changing line-up of top gaming titles, to the fun and irreverent antics of celebrity streamers, it seems that esports could tell traditional sports a thing or two. But above all of this, it’s the sheer accessibility of competitive gaming that could be its greatest asset.
Whether you are playing a top esports title like LoL or Dota 2, or are just watching a top-level CSGO tournament, there are relatively few obstacles that stop you enjoying the very best in competitive gaming entertainment. So what could traditional sports learn from esports about accessibility?
Easy ways to enjoy playing esports at the highest level
Whilst it’s true that both competitive gamers and traditional athletes have to put many years of practice into becoming the best in their chosen fields, it can’t be denied that things are a little easier to become a top gamer.
Not only are many of the world’s biggest esports like League of Legends and Dota 2 free-to-play, but all gamers can gain access to entering top-level tournaments like the ePremier League from the comfort of their own home. Many esports tournaments feature an open qualifying system so that any potential gamer can fight their way through the knockout rounds in order to eventually compete against the best in the business.
In addition to this, the mobile esports revolution has further boosted the accessibility of esports participation. Events such as the Clash Royale World Finals could simply be accessed through a smartphone, and by not having to use a PC or gaming console to join in the action, it has further boosted the demographic reach of the esports phenomenon.
Whilst both esports and traditional sports are notorious for the relatively short playing careers of their competitors, the fact that anybody can participate in competitive gaming from the comfort of their home further boosts the case for the accessibility of esports. And whilst traditional sports like basketball have a fairly fixed list of demands for the physicality of their competitors, for esports, it’s clear that even the biggest coach potato has a pretty equal shot of being a future competitive gaming star.
Free access to viewing top esports events
You can’t try and explain the esports phenomenon without mentioning its immense growth on live streaming services. Whether it’s watching a top CSGO tournament on Twitch.tv, or viewing the Clash Royale World Finals on YouTube Gaming, esports has managed to use these new broadcasting facilities to great effect.
Such initiatives are a marked contrast to the traditional sporting realm. UK football fans will know how tricky it can be to keep up with all of the latest Premier League action without splashing out a significant amount of money.
By way of contrast, gaming fans can instantly catch up with the latest esports action from all over the world via Twitch or YouTube on a laptop, smartphone or tablet for free. It’s already helped many top-level esports tournaments dwarf those of traditional sports with top Dota 2 tournaments like The International proving to be capable of attracting five million viewers in 2017.
Esports offers a more engaging platform for fans
In addition to this, there is little denying the fact that the content of this esports coverage is frequently much more engaging than traditional sports content. Whilst the sight of sports anchors wearing ties and offering banal insights into the action may give the impression of a newsroom, esports shoutcasters and pundits are much closer in age and attitude to their target audience.
Obviously, this irreverent attitude can sometimes backfire as has been seen numerous times through the outspoken and controversial attitudes of some top streamers. But when it comes to engaging with an audience in a fresh and informal way, it’s clear that esports has the upper hand.
It’s been interesting to see how traditional sports have been aiming to keep up with this trend by making tentative steps in the online realm and aiming to make their broadcasting services more interactive. But sports will have some serious way to go before they can hope to make the sheer accessibility of the competitive gaming world.