Courtesy of League of Legends
You hear the chants of various fans. Spectators wearing their favorite team’s jerseys. Does this scene sounds familiar to anyone who watches sports? Well, this isn’t sports, what I’m describing is Esports.
Esports is the competitive, professional side of video games, where various teams of the best players for their respective game compete.
Esports has grown significantly over the years, some Esports scenes have even been televised such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s pro scene and EVO on both ESPN and TBS last year. However, the game garnering the most attention recently is League of Legends.
League of Legends is one of the most played video games in the world. In 2015, it generated $1.6 billion, was estimated to generate $150 million per month, and had 100 million monthly players worldwide.
Last year’s world championship was viewed by over 43 million unique viewers with a peak viewership of 14.7 million peak concurrent viewership and was broadcasted in over 18 languages.
To say League of Legends is a big game is a HUGE understatement.
NBA teams and players have begun to notice the game’s success in the North American League Championship Series (NA LCS). Like the NBA, the structure of the LCS consists of a five on five, coordinated effort to win. Each team has its coach, analysts, and superstar players. Each day, the players need to practice different exercises to improve.
Let’s take a look at some of the teams that have gained attention.
The first notable moment was with three-time NBA champion Rick Fox and his son Kyle Fox, buying Gravity Gaming and forming their own team, Echo Fox, in 2015. Through Fox, other organizations were introduced to the world of Esports.
As such, Dignitas and Apex were purchased and merged by the Philadelphia 76ers in Sept. 2016 for an estimated five to 15 million dollars.
Another team, Team Liquid, was purchased by Xiomatic, has members including NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, Washington Wizards’ Ted Leonsis and Golden State Warriors’ Peter Guber. One of the most recent ventures was with Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Wesley Edens buying Cloud9’s Challenger team and renaming them Team Flyquest for $2.5 million.
With all this investment going into the League Esports scene, we will begin to see more stability and growth in the organizations and the LCS in general.