By now, probably most of you have heard what ESPN president said about eSports at the re/code media series in New York last week.
According to re/code, his exact quote was: “It’s not a sport — it’s a competition. Chess is a competition. Checkers is a competition. Mostly, I’m interested in doing real sports.”
We were coming up with our own terribly clever response to this specific quote–one that would really drive the absurdity–and even hubris–of it home–but then, well, as usual ReDeYe beat us to it AND said it better than we ever could imagine:
Was this the smartest thing to say at a digital media conference? Probably not. Definitely not. Okay, and, well, we could go on…and on…and on about his perhaps lack of general vision when it comes to online content (says he: “Name all the technology companies that became great media companies,” during the same talk. Really? Does he want a list? Because…some of trailers for Amazon’s original shows are starting to look pretty cool to some of us and they make phones now, and sort of invented the e-reader…and it’s looking like Apple really might make a go of it with that whole iTunes thing. Does he know how much money his parent company has invested in purchasing YouTube channels? What was was particularly interesting was when he said that the web will not attract large live audiences for live events.
32 million people.
THIRTY TWO MILLION PEOPLE watched the last LoL championships online, with just over eight million of them watching the event live when it aired on Twitch.
As much hand-to-forehead slapping that we do when we hear comments like this, numbers simply don’t lie. With prize purses for major tournies now exceeding twenty million dollars, it doesn’t matter what mainstream opinion is or how blind to reality traditional media outlets remain about gaming in general. Our community has legitimized itself. Period. With eyeballs, with engagement, with truly skilled ATHLETES (there…WE said it) who have proven to be as disciplined a competitor as you would find on a tennis court, a football field, a baseball diamond or a pitch.
DingIt is merely another cornerstone in what is an already dynamic, successful, fascinating and exciting period in our sport. This, ladies and gentlemen, is what disruption, the most overused term in the technology and media space, looks like. It’s, of course, far more interesting and fun when you’re the ones doing the actual disrupting. It’s not like we expect the old guard to take it well; or to even pay attention at all for that matter.