The worldwide pandemic that brought the global economy to its collective knees was one that will have long-term consequences even as we return to pre-Covid normal. However, there was one industry whose live events were impacted every bit as deeply as any other but whose popularity and reach grew exponentially because of it. We speak, of course, of the eSports industry and the void it filled while the rest of the traditional sports world stood still.
In fact, the eSports phenomenon had the spotlight all to itself as outdoor concerts, professional sports, theater, etc. had all gone dark and suddenly games like Fortnight, Call of Duty, League of Legends, and Counterstrike captured the attention of gamers, fans, and even bettors alike. Before you knew it the oddsmakers at some of the best online sportsbooks like WagerWeb we’re dealing lines on the various online tournaments which included some of the best gamers on the planet.
According to a report by SportingPedia referencing a release by the UK Gambling Commission, “Industry insiders believe that the future will open new horizons for the eSports industry development. New games with better quality will appear on the scene to cater to the constantly growing demand for new more engaging games. Some experts even consider that artificial intelligence will also find its place in eSports. In addition to that, more jurisdictions will regulate the eSports betting market.
“Recognizing the big potential of the eSports industry, a growing number of casinos started to accept wagers for eSports competitions. In 2018, Luxor Casino made the headlines after it was announced that the casino is ready to open the first purpose-built eSports arena on the Las Vegas Strip. We expect that this trend will continue and other land-based casinos will build such an arena.”
Despite the fact that video gaming has been around for a few decades, eSports has only recently gained popularity. Prior to the 2000s, when the industry experienced a surge in gamers and fans, the majority of gamers were simply having fun with a new technology that spawned the era of home video games.
According to the research firm Statista, the eSports market was valued at more than 1.08 billion US dollars in 2019, representing a more than 50 percent increase over the previous year. In 2024, the same market is expected to be worth 1.62 billion US dollars. But even those projections appear conservative based on the explosive growth of the industry due in large part to the pandemic driving a brand-new audience and demographic to the world of eSports.
FTX Pays TSM Big $$ for Naming Rights
TSM has officially changed its name to TSM FTX after signing a 10-year, $210 million deal with cryptocurrency exchange FTX. All TSM teams will change their names to include FTX and while TSM is known for its close collaborations with Lenovo and tech entities such as the Blitz App, none of those agreements are as comprehensive as this one.
However, the organization’s flagship League of Legends Championship Series roster will not be adopting the name change. Due to particular rules regarding jerseys, naming rights, and promotions, the use of cryptocurrency or alcohol is verboten. The LCS broadcast will continue to refer to TSM with no mention of FTX.
Now that TSM can look forward to approximately $21 million per annum flowing into the company coffers we can expect big things in the future from the organization. TSM founder and CEO Andy “Reginald” Dinh stated succinctly, “We’re going to be able to triple down on building the best teams, recruiting the best players, and building more amazing content.”
Longhorns Looking to Build Gaming Facility
Longhorn Gaming has been around for 11 years and it is only getting bigger and better, at least according to their president, Daniel Killough, who said, “I like to play sports that people don’t consider sports.”
Longhorn Gaming just became an officially sponsored organization at the University of Texas and they are eyeballing their very own venue. “We would like to see Longhorn Gaming as the definitive place for any individual to come and play casual or competitive games,” Killough said.
James Buckley, UT director of facilities and operations with University Unions, stated, “There is a noticeable void of an esports space on campus. We envision 24 to 30 stations where players can compete and we will have a place people can watch.”
Although UT doesn’t currently offer any eSports scholarships, it could happen somewhere down the road as there are currently 151 schools associated with the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) carrying varsity esports programs.
“Once we get our space built, I think the interest and likelihood of that could grow as we work with our development office. In total we have between 3,100-3,500 square feet that we see potentially being developed for esports space,” Buckley said.
The cost for the build-out is projected at $1.5 million.