The Next Superstar May Be The Kid Next Door
New dads that are sports minded always have visions their new borns may make a name in the sports world and defy the huge odds to become a professional. Maybe if that baby is a lefty he may become the new Sandy Koufax. Or if he grows to over 6’3” and is blessed with an arm, maybe another Andrew Luck. Or maybe a daughter will develop a great first serve and have the gift of anticipation and rock the women’s tennis world. Whatever the sport we dads and even moms should never feel guilty about fantasizing what it may be like if one of our kids makes it. After all it is human nature. The reality of it is that in today’s world the best path to make it in a sport maybe something called esports or is it e-sports? Actually it is more of a past time rather than a sport. Sports Illustrated writer Daniel Rapaport had an excellent article this past winter describing the growth of esports and how main stream advertisers and sports teams are getting involved. For those of my generation the latest Google definition of esports (I’ve seen it with and without a hyphen) is:
“a multiplayer video game played competitively for spectators, typically by professional gamers.”
To put it simply, picture the closest arena in your area sold out with a set up on a stage with a huge screen in the background as teams compete with what my brothers and I may call the millennial version of Pacman but carry names such as: Super Smash Bros. Melee or Street Fighter.
The Staples Center in LA and Key Arena all sold out for tournaments. In fact the growth from 2015-2016 has been estimated to have increased 51.7 %. Rapaport pointed out how at the Key Arena in Seattle for an event called the Dota 2 Championship, it could have been the Seattle Seahawks playing as many in the loud crowd were wearing the Jersey’s of their favorite esports team who were competing in this event that had total prize money of $20,770,460.
We may never see the esports champion hawk large screen flat televisions like Peyton Manning but this new culture is here to stay. According to the Rapaport SI article maybe this is why the Philadelphia 76ers actually purchased an esports team and the Houston Rockets hired in a brand new position, a director of esports. All this as well as the NBA partnering with the video game publisher Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. means that esports has has gone well past cult status as it moves quickly into the main stream. I don’t quite understand everything that is going on but believe you me, once the powers to be understand and realize the best way to make money from this brand new phenomena, it will be as organized as the NFL. This is only the beginning for the esports world. And I remember playing Pong years ago for hours at a time at the Nathan’s Restaurant game room in Yonkers, New York.
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