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Esports Audience Is Growing Far Faster Than Traditional Sports

Football, basketball and baseball all have a major challenge coming

VALORANT Champions Tour Stage 3 Masters - Day 3
BERLIN, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 12: G2 Esports’ Jose Luis “koldamenta” Aranguren Herrero competes at the VALORANT Champions Tour 2021: Stage 3 Masters on September 12, 2021 in Berlin, Germany.
Photo by Riot Games/Riot Games Inc. via Getty Images

We talked the other day about the rise of Esports and how it could become a major force that could rival or possibly even displace college and professional sports.

Then we saw this job listing from UNC-Greensboro. Once you get past the windy parts, here’s what they after an Assistant Director of Esports. Here are the requirements:

Bachelor’s degree in Recreation, Sports Management, Computer Science, or related field with a minimum 3 years experience in administration of esports programs/events or other campus recreation programs. Requires in-depth working knowledge of esports in areas such as program organization, team management, gaming equipment, coaching, etc. Proficient in the technical and operational aspects of esports and experience in at least one of the following games: League of Legends, Overwatch, and Hearthstone. Ability to work a flexible schedule (some evenings/weekends) and travel as needed. Successful record of working collaboratively with colleagues across constituency groups (faculty and staff). Must possess skills in organization and planning, prioritization, problem-solving, and oral and written communication.

Here’s the thing: right now, the global audience for Esports is somewhere between 400 and 600 million and is still growing rapidly.

In 2019-20, 47.5 million attended NCAA football games and 145 million people watched on TV.

Given the well-known advertising preference for young, malleable people, it’s only a question of time before money begins to seriously chase the bigger audience.

Aside from being focused on a young market, it’s a very different audience in that it’s global. You can’t advertise the same way in Tokyo, Riyadh, London and Ames, Iowa, but people will figure it out and there’s no reason why you can’t sell gaming equipment, cell phones, laptops and the like.

It’s a problem for traditional sports in two ways. First, obviously the young audience is migrating to Esports. And second, an awful lot of young people would rather game than play ball now. Look how many professional athletes game for that matter.

When things are just a little further along, when VR glasses and 5G (which essentially has zero latency) are in full force for instance, there will be an even starker division between traditional sports and Esports.

Wouldn’t it be something if, in 10-20 years UNC-G was a global power in the field? They could never do it in football, but Esports? Why not?

Just wait for those keen rivalries with Kinshasha, Cape Verde and the Mighty Mati Warriors.