[Source] After Amazon bought Twitch for nearly $1 billion USD, with a focus on live stream for eSports, ESPN President John Skipper refused to acknowledge eSports as an actual sport, claiming its is, like chess and checkers, competitions. He stressed that he is not interested in such competitions.
I am not sure what got over him, but he should really step back, take a breather and look at the growing landscape. As The New York Times reported recently, eSports is now drawing real crowds and big money, with more than 70 million people worldwide watching eSports over various media.
A tournament last October for League of Legends, streamed around the world, attracted 8.5 million simultaneous online viewers at its peak. The League of Legends championship this year is expected to attract 40,000 to 50,000 attendees in Seoul. These numbers are beyond that of most “actual” sports’.
eSports may not be as lucrative overall compared to major sports such as basketball and soccer (or football), but the potential is no doubt there, as seen by Amazon’s purchase of Twitch (not forgetting YouTube’s interest). In my view, we need more successful products to keep the eSports growth going.