When you think about a team, the first things you'll probably think of are sporting behemoths such as soccer's Manchester United and football's New England Giants. But in recent years, eSports has risen to the fore, and teams such as T1 and FaZe Clan are becoming household names the world over, especially in the Far East, where countries such as South Korea and Japan have taken eSports into the mainstream.
eSports might seem like a completely different world compared to traditional sports, but there are actually a lot of similarities between the two, some that you could never have imagined. Let's take a look at a few of them.
Regardless of whether we’re talking about soccer or League of Legends, every team needs strong communication and teamwork to succeed. In an esports team, each player has their own role to play, just like in traditional sports. Each person has specific duties and has to work together to achieve the goal, and the same is the case with eSports, where players have different specializations and have to work together in order to succeed.
As we saw late last year, without the ability to work well in a team, you'll never succeed. Throughout the course of the 2021/22 English Premier League season, Cristiano Ronaldo was Manchester United's main man, netting 24 goals in 37 games en route to being named the club's Player of the Season. However, once new manager Erik Ten Hag arrived from Ajax to take over the reigns at Old Trafford, it was evident that CR7’s days at the club were numbered as was either unwilling or unable to implement the Dutchman’s high-pressing tactics.
The result? The Portugal captain aired his grievances in a shocking interview with Piers Morgan on the eve of the 2022 FIFA World Cup and he was released by the Red Devils shortly thereafter. Nowadays, he has headed to Saudi Arabia, while United was much improved and managed to secure a return to the UEFA Champions League in Ronaldo's absence.
Both on the field and in the virtual arena, professionalism and sportsmanship are critical. As we have seen with the aforementioned Ronaldo, you can quickly find yourself ostracized from your team should you badmouth your teammates, manager, or fans. The same is the case in the world of eSports, where League of Legends head coach cvMax was allegedly verbally and physically abusive to his players, behavior that would ultimately, unsurprisingly, cost him his job.
Few things in life garner as much of an emotive response as professional sports. You just need to take one look at English soccer fans or Eastern European basketball fans to see just how invested their die-hard supporters are. Following a professional sports team or eSports team provide a rush of intense emotions, similar to those found when engaging in online gambling.
The excitement and adrenaline that comes with cheering and following a team's progress can be compared with the suspense of sports-themed online slots or placing a bet at the bookies. Gambling online offers that thrill of unpredictability - that rush of excitement knowing that a big win could be around the next spin or bet. However, it can be a double-edged sword, as it can provide overwhelming happiness or disappointment depending on whether you win or not, just as is the case when following your favorite team.
Both traditional sports and esports operate on a sponsorship model. The players, teams, and leagues rely on sponsorships to earn money and fund their operations. Sponsorships create vast marketing platforms, so companies can reach their target audience through either torrents or ads.
Plenty of money is also acquired through TV rights. In professional sports, cricket's Indian Premier League, the NFL, and the English Premier League have secured the three most lucrative rights deals in history. Each league secures billions of dollars from its rights holders each and every year, and eSports are looking to follow in their footsteps. Back in 2020, Call of Duty creators Activision Blizzard signed a $53m per year deal with Google to give YouTube exclusive rights to their eSports competitions. Activision Blizzard are also the author of the popular MMORPG game called World of Warcraft.
That deal comes to an end this summer, and with viewership growing year after year, the chances are that Activision could be set for a similarly lucrative deal in the coming months. Google is interested in renewing its deal, while fellow giants such as Amazon and Apple also loitering in the shadows.
In conclusion, traditional sports and esports may seem different on the surface, but when you dig a little deeper, there is an incredible amount of similarities between them. The amount of teamwork, practice, professionalism, marketing, and emotions involved make esports a natural progression from physical sports, and the potential for esports' growth and change in mainstream sports is exciting. As the saying goes, "Work hard, play hard," and that is absolutely the truth when it comes to esports and traditional sports.