For most people over 30, almost unnoticed, a new sports scene has emerged in recent years in which competitions are played with computer and video games.
E-sports have long outgrown the niche, there are fixed rules and established competitions.
The players duel on the Internet or meet for multi-day events that are broadcast live. At the largest European esports tournament in Katowice, Poland, 232 million people watched on the screens at home as the opponents battled for $ 2.5 million in prize money.
It is mainly young and tech-savvy people who are enthusiastic about e-sports. And that makes the scene interesting for sponsors – also from the insurance industry.
Football is not even the most popular discipline in esports. One of the most popular games for esports enthusiasts has been the action title Counterstrike for almost 20 years. League of Legends is similarly popular, one of the best German teams in the game is supported by LVM Versicherung, for example.
Otherwise, the games favored in the scene change regularly; the survival game Fortnite is currently very popular. When the final of the Fortnite World Cup took place in New York in July, the game played for a total of $ 30 million.
USA, South Korea, China and Germany are one of the world’s largest sales market for esports events – But the market is also growing rapidly, as the market researchers from Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) have determined. Advertising revenues on streaming platforms or sponsorship contracts totaled almost 51 million euros in 2017 – 35 percent more than a year earlier.
The scene is growing and becoming more and more professional
Live events and tournaments in particular will contribute to growth in the future. Among other things, there are ambitious plans in northern Germany: The first e-sports arena is to be built in Hamburg – only for electronic sports events. The need seems to exist: Last year, a three-day e-sports tournament that was held in a multi-purpose hall in Hamburg attracted 10,000 visitors per day, according to the organizers.
And just as the framework conditions are getting better and better, so is the player scene. For the best, sport is no longer a hobby, they are professionals who compete in tournaments around the world and live on prize money and sponsorship agreements. And with the professionalization of sport, the need for protection of professional gamers increases – for themselves and their technical equipment.
For the time being, no e-sports at the Olympics
Although e-athletes mobilize the masses, they still have to fight for recognition by the major sports associations. The International Olympic Committee announced in December 2018 that it does not reject e-sports, but does not want to make it Olympic for the time being. Among other things because – contrary to what the Olympic values dictate – e-sports are “too commercial”.