Last Friday’s RPG news summary, Routinely Itemised #177, had the news that an American sports channel ESPN had a D&D segment on SportsCenter.
Now, pushing aside concerns around the name ‘eSports’ to describe computer games, especially games like D&D, which aren’t sports sims, we can still muse whether streamed gaming events are as popular as traditional sports. Or more popular? How many people are interested in League of Legends, say, than in cricket, football or golf?
There’s also the growth of streaming in general. Comcast killed off G4, which once hosted D&D officially, after the channel failed to meet $19m in income. Attempts to evolve from watching people play games on streams to streaming games have also been hit or miss. Google is still compensating Stadia, customers after pulling the plug.
However, others have been more successful. JustWatch is growing from being a search engine for streaming TV shows and movies. The League of Legends live feature, which is new, helps people find key events. It’s just in time for the Worlds finals.
It is JustWatch that has a comparison of League of Legends against traditional sports. There’s a while to go with the Champions League being far more popular.
However, the League of Legends Worlds Final was 400% more popular than the 2022 NBA Finals and the 2021 MLB World Series final. I had to Google both; NBA is American basketball and MLB baseball.
I had Google both sporting events, not just because I’m a geek with a distaste for all the money professional sports gobble up (I’m just as harsh on AAA-game makers who want all the money, too) but because both the NBA and MLB are local to one country. League of Legends isn’t. Computer games are international at their core.
Of course, there’s more than just League of Legends in eSports. We can expect JustWatch to expand into other games, too, and titles like Dota 2, CS: Go, and even Valorant are likely.
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