Competitive gaming, also known as eSports, continues its steady growth. The value of the global eSports market is to surpass a whopping $1.6 billion mark by 2024. The eSports viewership is proportionately growing, projected to reach up to 519 million by 2024. In recent years, major soccer and basketball clubs realized the benefits of entering the eSports market.
One of the reasons why popular traditional sports are eyeing the opportunity to find their place on the eSports market is to reach a wider audience and attract the attention of the young generation. By getting involved in eSports, traditional sports complement their events.
Furthermore, social distancing measures to control the spread of coronavirus put on hold many traditional sporting events. Hence, we can safely say that the Covid-19 pandemic is another reason why so many sports governing bodies have decided to enter the realm of eSports.
Traditional Sports vs Competitive Gaming
The main difference between traditional sports and competitive gaming is that the latter does not require the physical presence of the athletes. Furthermore, eSports involve mental rather than physical activity. Some argue that professional gamers should not be referred to as athletes because they do not exert their muscles.
However, chess is recognized as a type of sport. Similar to eSports, it involves no physical activity and heavily relies on players’ tactical skills. Traditional sports also involve tactical skills. If we delve deeper into the matter, we can highlight other similarities between competitive video gaming and traditional sports. Some of them include teamwork, preparation, responding to the opponent’s strategy, team communication, and others.
Conventional Sports in the eSports Ecosystem
Soccer is the king on the sports scene. Needless to say, it has the most solid betting scene behind it. And it is arguably the first conventional sport to enter the eSports market. Interestingly, popular soccer teams such as Manchester City and West Ham hired professional FIFA gamers. The football club Schalke 04 bought the League of Legends team “Elements”.
If you are interested in competitive video gaming and traditional sports, this guide explains what other esports you can bet on. As the second most popular sport on a global scale, basketball has also entered the eSports market.
Many basketball leagues and teams, including NBA, have embraced eSports as a way to further expand their presence on the market. Interestingly, top basketball players such as Michael Jordan, Steph Curry, and Shaquille O’Neal have invested in different eSports teams.
The highest motorcycle racing division, MotoGP, has entered the eSports market. However, many other traditional sports are yet to embrace eSports.
Rugby Union is Making Headway on the eSports Market
Even though rugby league is not the most popular sport worldwide, it has a solid fanbase and attracts huge betting action. The competitive rugby league odds most bookies offer is what attracts the attention of many sports fans.
Unfortunately, rugby league is still struggling to find its place on the eSports market. Luckily, things might change soon as Rugby Union have recognized the great potential of the eSports market.
A curious fact is that the prominent rugby players Rieko Ioane and TJ Perenara showed their interest in eSports games. Another testament that rugby and eSports can be a good combination is the Irish most successful eSports rugby team Munster Rugby Gaming.
Furthermore, in 2019, the League of Legends team Excel Sports moved their base to the English Rugby Union’s headquarter. This is yet another sign that rugby and eSports are not two completely different worlds.
Rugby League Has the Potential to Become a Competitive eSports Choice
Experts claim that the lack of attractive rugby league-based video games is the main hindrance to the development of competitive rugby gaming. Furthermore, rugby league is a contact sport, while eSports is a non-contact discipline.
The first successful video game series inspired by rugby league, simply called Rugby League, appeared on the market in 2003. The video game is courtesy of Sidhe Interactive, Wicked Witch Software, and Big Ant Studios. Tru Blu Entertainment was the company that published the game series. The game captivated the hearts of many rugby league fans due to its realistic design.
Rugby League Live 4 is the newest addition to the game series that stands out from the rest with striking features such as Stadium Creating and Logo. The game developers certainly paid special attention to the minutest details, adding extra depth to the career mode. It was released in 2017 and is compatible with PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
In the end, rugby league has the potential to become a massive hit on the eSports market. This will help the sport to gain popularity. However, we keep our fingers crossed that more games inspired by rugby league will be introduced. This way, the sport will become an attractive eSports option.