Esports has broken into mainstream media and become a $1 billion industry over the past few years. Leagues have formed around individual games, like Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege and Overwatch, attracting six-figure investments that finance teams or individual players. This has led to the formation of smaller groups and teams at high schools and universities, such as Esports@UGA, focused around competitive gaming.
ESPN became the first TV network to air an esports tournament during prime time on July 27, 2018, and since then, other networks have followed suit. Viewership ratings for these competitions rival major traditional sporting events. To put into perspective just how popular esports events have become ⏤ according to Business Insider, more people watched the League of Legends World Championship in 2019 than this year’s Super Bowl.
However, esports isn’t confined to only professional leagues and popular Twitch streamers. With the rise in popularity, more colleges and high schools have embraced the esports industry and established teams and groups dedicated to different video games. Georgia has even become one of the few states where esports is a sanctioned high school sport.
Despite what your parents probably think, gaming isn’t just about sitting around chugging Mountain Dew in front of a computer. Video games can create an avenue where players can make the most unlikely of friends. Since many online games don’t require players to be in the same room to participate, the accessibility to play allows people from almost anywhere.
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