If watching your child play video games all day makes you nervous, console yourself, because you are still bound to earn millions of euros. The eSports or electronic games, come on, the video games of a lifetime, are generating an industry parallel to the original that points in many ways.
Telefónica announced that it would integrate in Movistar + the broadcasting of video game competitions in which gamers from all over the world fight for the copper to win. In addition, as it has already done with disciplines such as motorcycling or basketball, it will sponsor an eSports team called Movistar Riders.
Roles in eSports
To understand how this new business works, you must first know which actors are part of it.
On the one hand, there are the teams and their players, who are the ones who compete against each other, who give the show when their games are broadcast.
On the other hand, there are the video game developers, who are the ones who, making a simile with football, are responsible for developing the playing field. Your task is to keep the grass and the stands in perfect condition.
Then there would be the video game leagues. The best known are the international leagues, such as the ESL (Electronic Sports League) or the MLG (Major League Gaming), as well as the Spanish LVP (Professional Video Game League). At the risk of getting heavy with the football comparison, they would be the equivalent of FIFA, UEFA and the LFP. The last link in the chain of eSports is made up of those who are the sauce of any sports business (yes, even if it is a sedentary activity it is called sport), the fans and the public.
“To understand how eSports championships work, you have to think that they are a mix between soccer, tennis and boxing. Soccer because there are competitions in league format, in tennis because there are also specific weekend tournaments and boxing because there are different lower-level leagues that organize different competitions”, explains Fernando Piquer, CEO of the Movistar Riders team.
To be more precise, it is such a new sport that there is no standard format or competition that predominates over the others. There are many and very varied. What is clear is that the eSport games with the most demand from gamers, those that concentrate almost all the interest of the public and the players, are two: League of Legends and CSGO.
Different competitions with different formats are held annually around them, events that bring together, online or in person, thousands of players from around the world.
The competitions are organized, as we have already said, by different companies, among which ESL and MLG stand out. To give us an idea of the scale of this business, still in its infancy, ESL spent more than 25 million dollars last year in prizes for those who finished higher in each of the organized tournaments.
There are different “divisions” within the different professional video game leagues of each company, but basically there are Open competitions, in which there is no charge, aimed at those who enter this world for the first time. Then there would be the Major level leagues, which are amateur, and the Pro level, the professional status, for which it is charged.
Professional teams have a manager, coaches, physical therapists and dietitians
Industry sources place the average remuneration of professional gamers in the orbit of 10,000 or 15,000 euros per month, figures that in the case of South Korea rises on specific occasions to several million euros a year. Astronomical amounts if we take into account that it is a non-professional discipline. Yes, organizing companies are, to a much greater extent, making their living from company sponsorships, tickets sold in competitions and merchandising income.
The teams and players
“Teams are generally made up of groups of friends who gradually become professional until they manage to make a living from eSports”, declares Eider Díaz, Brand Manager at ESL.
The price of tickets to see a competition can reach 1,000 euros
The games are generally by teams and are usually played, in a first phase, over the Internet. That is, there can be players from different countries on the same team playing over the Internet. The face-to-face competitions are left for the final phases, and are played in large stadiums of other sports (such as basketball) prepared for the occasion. The price of the tickets ranges from 11 or 15 euros for the most basic to 1,000 euros for VIP tickets in one of these competitions.
High performance centers
Professional teams have structures similar to those of teams from other disciplines. Managers, physiotherapists, dietitians … Why the hell a physical therapist for such a passive sport? Well, precisely to avoid back injuries after spending hours sitting, to keep your hands ready to handle the mouse skillfully or to avoid neck pain after a long time in the same position. Dietitians also have an important function: to try to combat the sedentary lifestyle of eSports with adjusted nutrition.
The potential audience is made up of Millennials who never watch television
Many of these teams also have Gaming Centers, facilities that they attend at specific times in which the way they play is promoted and trained. Namely: team tactics, communications during games, strategies …
Video Game DevelopersHis job is to program and increase the possibilities of video games so that the dynamics are more surprising for players and spectators: new screens, more scenarios, other characters …
Games must also have a spectator mode that allows the audience from their computers to see the entire game in full. It must be pointed out that when we say everything, it is everything, since the players facing each other do not have a global perspective of it. That total vision is reserved for the viewer and must be raised by the developers.