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Esports – what’s it all about?

QPR’s inaugural eCup trophy was won earlier this month by Ben Lovell, who successfully came out on top from more than 100 FIFA19 competitors. But what is it all about?

Electronic Sports (Esports) is taking over the internet. The enterprise has grown rapidly in recent years and now has fans and audiences from every corner of the globe. While there is still some debate about if gaming should be considered a ‘sport’, Esports shares a lot of similarities with traditional sports and one of them is its geographical ambiguity.

The team at NJgames have made an infographic which shows Esports to have over 400 million viewers by 2018 and with stadiums only having enough capacity to accommodate a few thousand at a time, millions of Esports fans adopt different means to ensure they get to see their favourite gamers in action.

Although the experience of being at a tournament live remains unmatched, the internet has ensured Esports tournaments are available to everyone.
How can I view Esports?

Thanks to advancements in streaming and media technology, viewing Esports is not a difficult task. Here are few ways you can view an Esports tournament:

Live events:

While most Esports viewers watch games online, live audiences are a huge part of what makes the enterprise so successful. Similar to traditional sporting events, Esports are held in large stadiums where fans are given the chance to cheer on their favourite players.
Also, similar to traditional sports, fans have to pay tickets to access live Esports events. Stadiums are able to accommodate fans in excess of 50,000, with new stadiums also being built for future tournaments across the States. While streaming online is the most popular option, nothing beats the experience of attending an Esports tournament live.

Twitch:

Twitch is undoubtedly the leading platform when it comes to streaming Esports tournaments. The platform was highly influential in the rise of Esports with millions of viewers choose Twitch as their preferred viewing option.
The platform’s developers have had years to iron it out into the steaming colossus it is today. The site's directory offers streamers a host of viewing options, giving them the chance to view any game or tournament of their choice.

Television:

As Esports has grown in the last few years and become more mainstream, some of the bigger broadcasting houses have begun picking up major Esports tournaments to be shown directly on TV. This form of viewing enables fans to tune in to major tournaments with high-quality production from the comfort of their couch.

You do lose some of the benefits you get from streaming online, like the live text-chat community you get on Twitch, but it isn't a necessity for many viewers. ESPN, for example, has a channel dedicated to Esports and has strongly backed the enterprise by investing in it, enabling fans to view their favourite Esports gamers from their TV.

YouTube:

YouTube has taken a leaf out of Twitch's book by bringing Esports streaming to fans worldwide. It previously enabled players to stream themselves performing and allowed them to leave a catalogue of their previous gaming sessions for their fans to see. Live streaming seemed to be the next logical step.

YouTube Gaming has been especially more popular among “casual fans” mainly due to the “professional” outlook of Twitch and YouTube’s globally accepted user experience and easily navigable interface. The only downturn of YouTube is that they don't air as many live events as their streaming rivals, but offer fans a familiar platform and comfortable way to watch their favourite gamers in action.

Conclusion:

Esports is one of the best things to happen to the gaming industry. It has totally changed entertainment, with the last half a dozen years in particular proving to be fruitful for the enterprise.

Esports is now very much in demand and there are a few ways fans can watch an Esports tournament. The televised option lets you view Esports from your home, without having to spend money to watch it at a live viewing centre or having to watch online.

Fans can also stream Esports from Twitch or Youtube which offers you the chance to watch your favourite games being played on your mobile phone. But arguably the best option remains going to a live Esports event where you can cheer on your favourite gamer from the sidelines.