eSports: Why people watch it?
6 minute read · Issue Number 96 · November 26th, 2021
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Why do people watch eSports?
About a year ago, I wrote about sports viewership motivations to answer the question, “why we watch sports?”
Essentially, people look for a functional, emotional, and intellectual experience. And televised sports are capable of providing it.
Is it fair to assume people’s motivations for eSports are like the reasons they watch traditional sports?
Let’s discuss what eSports is, how people watch it and why.
eSports (short for electronic sports) is a type of competition that involves video games.
Throughout its brief history, its label has been quite controversial.
Some people don’t consider the practice a real sport due to its lack of physical fitness activity. Others say it is a sport because it requires several mental skills, preparation, and execution.
Regardless, many entities worldwide — including the International Olympic Committee — have recognized eSports as an actual sport primarily due to its rise in popularity worldwide. It even had a spot in the latest Tokyo Olympics!
The popularity of eSports is growing fast, and thousands of new individuals and organizations are joining the trend at an amateur, professional, and spectator level.
According to Statista, more than 400 million viewers are tuning in each year to watch eSports, and by 2024, they estimate the number to be about 600 million.
You may be thinking;
“How do people even watch eSports? I’ve never seen any of the media outlets broadcast eSports on my television!”
Well, that’s because eSports are mainly broadcasted through computerized broadcasts such as online streams through platforms like Twitch or YouTube.
Why is that? Two reasons:
The location of the action: events and outputs of the games manifest virtually on the computers
The democratization of content: big media outlets wouldn’t broadcast sports that lack popularity – gamers had to find their tools for content distribution.
Why people watch eSports?
According to this research, there are four relevant motivation factors:
Escaping everyday life
eSports enables an escape from day-to-day routines, problems, and a distraction from our worries.
Acquiring knowledge from eSports (i.e., learn)
People who watch eSports want to learn from teams and players to share conversations on social media and with friends and to learn new strategies and tactics when they play.
Human brains are excited every time something new happens. There’s a gratification related to novelty in eSports that provides enjoyment and excitement.
The enjoyment of aggression
People derive a specific type of pleasure from watching aggressive behavior. It’s why violence-related news has so much popularity.
The Bottom Line
eSports viewers are motivated by almost the same reasons we watch traditional sports: to let loose, escape real life, learn and acquire knowledge, seek novelty, and others.
The only difference?
eSports provide an interesting form of entertainment that develops a new motivation to their viewers — virtual aggression.
While that may not have many positive implications on the human behavior of the spectators, at least nobody’s getting hurt in the process!
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We talked about the goals and plans Miguel has for LaLiga Tech, the position of sports in the digital transformation, opportunities, threats, and challenges around fan engagement, content enhancement, competition management, and so much more.
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Until next week,
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