Esports goes mainstream

Interest in esports is expanding quickly and the appetite for more coverage of the biggest competitions is at an all time high.

By Joshua Duboff, senior product manager, sports & entertainment

Last week, PyeongChang became the center of the sports universe. The sights and sounds out of PyeongChang have been nothing short of marvelous.

The action on the slopes and on the ice has left many speechless. But, two days before Greece’s delegation kicked off the Parade of Nations, there was another event happening just down the road that captured people’s attention.

Intel and the International Olympic Committee hosted the Intel Extreme Masters PyeongChang tournament where 18 players competed in Starcraft II with a shot at earning the $150,000 prize pool.While becoming an Olympic sport might still be an uphill climb, there’s no doubt that interest in esports is expanding quickly and the appetite for more coverage of the biggest competitions is at an all time high.

For some publishers, esports will offer a new and younger audience to their platform. According to Statista, worldwide audience is expected to reach 589 million viewers by 2020. Approximately 23% of esports viewers are between the ages of 25 and 34 and a majority are male.

Innovation and understanding our clients’ needs is what’s allowed Reuters to grow for over 160 years. That’s why we have decided to devote a wire to covering the esports industry.

Reuters will be covering esports with the same focus as any other sport we cover. In partnership with Field Level Media, the wire includes breaking news within the industry as well as coverage of the largest competitions across the world.

For some publishers, esports will offer a new and younger audience to their platform. According to Statista, worldwide audience is expected to reach 589 million viewers by 2020. Approximately 23% of esports viewers are between the ages of 25 and 34 and a majority are male.

According to Derek Harper, CEO of Field Level Media:

 “The demographic is young, passionate and extremely active on social. Esports are drawing a bigger mainstream audience by the day, and the investment and marketing money is following. As more professional esports leagues hit the scene that are easy for larger audiences to follow and traditional sports continue to expand their esports efforts to appeal to younger audiences, that crossover brings tremendous growth opportunity across the board.”

“When you see viewership and prize pools for professional tournaments steadily increasing year over year, the burgeoning global interest in esports is undeniable,” said Derek Harper, CEO of Field Level Media.

In true Reuters style, the wire also includes business and financial news as it relates to the industry.

If the first two months are any indication, 2018 might be a watershed year for esports. The NBA and NBA2K are prepping for the first season of their new league. The Overwatch League opened as the first-ever global city-based esports league. IEM Katowice will likely break another attendance record after doing so last year. Not to be outdone, the League of Legends World Championship in December will likely shatter viewership records too.

The esports industry is constantly evolving and our coverage will do the same.

While the new text wire will be dedicated to esports news, pictures and videos are also available through Reuters Connect where publishers can download pictures and video using their general Reuters subscription. Esports content is also available from media partners including USA TODAY Sports Images and Red Bull Media House.

If you’re keeping score at home, Canadian Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn won the IEM competition. She was the lone woman qualifier.

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