The appeal of E-Sports (electronic sports) has continued to gain massive appeal as being a spectator sport from holding large tournaments at massive stadiums to the broadcasting of tournaments live on television. The barrier of E-Sports being sponsored, let alone recognized as legitimate academic interest, is coming down. The New York Times released an article discussing the major stride for Big Ten Universities jumping onboard the E-sports bandwagon.
What does this entail? First, Riot Games’ creator of the popular League of Legends videogame has partnered with the Big Ten Network. The Big Ten Network which livestreams all Big Ten related sports will begin livestreaming tournaments of games on their channel. This is huge due to the “60 million households” that have this network available to them.
Secondly, this sends a huge message to other colleges/universities about the popularity of E-Sports and of course how lucrative it can be for the institution. Institutions such as Rutgers and Maryland will face-off in League of Legends on a live broadcast on January 30.
Where is IU in all of this? At this moment IU has not issued a statement in regards to joining this Big Ten E-Sports initiative, but hopefully something is in the works. Also, League of Legends is not the only major E-Sport game out there. Activision Blizzard’s Overwatch released in May of 2016. Overwatch has taken the world by storm in which it reached “…more than 20 million players” by October of 2016. Several tournaments are still being held and there are daily livestreams of players immersing themselves in its colorful gameplay. The moment IU creates an official team hopefully yours truly can earn a spot on the team.