e$ports: If you cannot play, you $hould pay attention


Maybe you have never heard of eSports.  Maybe you do not care to know. Simply, it may not be of interest you. Here is the thing though, eSports became relevant to larger society when the industry began to bring in substantial revenues and obtain partnerships and sponsorships from major recognized brands. 


First, what is eSports? eSports is a competition between players in a video game. The twist is that what was formerly done from home is now being down in large, sold-out stadiums in Las Vegas, the Staples Center in Los Angeles and in underground bars in London. eSports teams are now owned and sponsored by former professional basketball players like Rick Fox, companies like Coca-Cola, professional sports leagues and individual teams in those leagues. Prize money and sponsorship dollars are through the roof. There has even been talk of unionizing the players and instituting a drug policy because of the overuse of the drug Adderall. 

Second, the question of whether eSports is a “sport” is immaterial. Once the sport began approaching $1 billion in annual revenues, the naysayers have taken a backseat and have begun investing. When an investment is providing a substantial return, you ask where the investment is going, not what the dictionary definition says. 

Third, talent agents and lawyers stand to profit from eSports. Agents and agencies representing the players and teams securing endorsements, while taking a percentage of winnings, endorsements, and other sources of income. Lawyers are needed to form the businesses, create tax savings and protections through corporations, draft contracts, review contracts and represent clientele for their needs. 

The future is now and with universities like the University of California, Irvine creating an entire eSports imitative, live streaming deals with Amazon Prime® and the creation of Twitch TV, eSports is beginning to dominate the entertainment, media and sports landscape. The idea is simple: to make a profit you must meet your customers where they are at and provide what they want. The customer is always right means the customer should determine the services provided, not what the service provider needs. Is it any surprise that as mobile and digital communications have exploded in growth and influence that eSports has with it? eSports simply met customers where they were at, playing video games and turning that into a profit. 

In the end, not everyone can be a superstar athlete. Only 1% of humans have those skills at the professional level. However, being unable to hit a 98-mph fastball, shoot a jump shot, or consistently land on the fairway and the greens should not prevent someone from finding a way to compete and making a living while doing what they love. This author does not play video games or compete in eSports, but he does pay attention and you should, too. 

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