The future of esports in Latin America

When it comes to esports, there are several countries and regions that come to mind. Japan, South Korea, Europe, America… but not necessarily South or Latin America. The global phenomenon that is esports is strongly focused on North America, though not exclusively so.

Latin America does have esports teams and tournaments, however they don’t seem to gain as much attention as tournaments in other regions do. Games like League of Legends have their own league specific to the region – it’s called the Latin American League or LLA.

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© Mexicanist

New records hit at the Latin American League

This year, the LLA managed to achieve new records – a larger audience than ever before, and a much higher level of competitive play. At the moment, South American pro gaming leagues lag behind others. In the last two years, in particular, more and more brands have taken an interest in sponsoring esports events.

As it is, Mexico is the largest market in Latin America, with roughly $1.8 million dollars in revenue, followed by Brazil with $1.6 million. Argentina, Chile, and Colombia are close behind, but they don’t match up in revenue just yet.

When we look at esports fans, things look a little different – Brazil leads the charge with 20 million fans – that puts them in one of the top spots worldwide. In other words, Latin America lacks mainly when it comes to revenue, rather than potential as an esports market. That means that, like certain regions in Asia before it, Latin America is in the perfect position for a major upswing when it comes to esports.

Esports organisations all over Latin America

Some organisations have already aimed to get the ball rolling there – Pro Play Esports, based in Mexico City, for example. Its CEO, Carlos Cortizo, sees potential in mobile gaming especially. His organisation runs events both in Spanish and in English, eliminating language barriers between players and fans, even internationally.

Other brands have already started investing in esports as well – TV Azteca, a TV channel that primarily shows sports has spent a solid $5 million in order to buy up Black Ride Acquisition Corp, a sports production company in the US. At first glance, this may not be esports related, but their plan is to create a channel that will show esports programs 24 hours a day, the way some international channels already do.

Riot Games foresees a bright future for esports in LATAM

Riot Games, the publisher of League of Legends, sees a bright future in Latin American esports, but not quite the same way that Carlos Cortizo does. Riot sees Mexico especially as a great market, partly because a lot of gamers use computers, and partly because there is a huge population of fans and thus a lot of income potential as well. Already, some 11% of gamers also watch video games online – that’s less than in other regions, but it’s a great starting point for services like the channel that TV Azteca is planning.

Of course, it’s not just Mexico that has potential. Argentina and Chile, for example, each have tournaments that show huge growth, year on year, such as the Argentina Game Show, and the SP Gaming Tournament in Chile.