Published May 2021
Anyone who knows me well will confirm sports are not my strong point. I have never been able to catch a ball. Of course, I do like to brag about being the water polo captain for two years, but the truth is that had nothing to do with my sporting ability and rather everything to do with my social political skills which I was already polishing off nicely while in high school. Sports is moving into a realm I can now relate too.
E-Sports was at one point about ‘competitive gaming’ online which started roughly around the year 1997. Today, the E-Sports industry’s annual worth is over 1 billion USD. The sector is not only making lots of money, but corporates are spending huge amounts on it as well, like Amazons 970 million USD investment on the E-Sports streaming network called Twitch (https://www.twitch.tv/)
The truth is, E-sports tournaments have become a cultural marvel of mammoth proportions that will very soon rival traditional sports. This month I chatted with The Beast (Tendai Mtawarira) to get his take on the subject, so look out for that video.
E-Sports / E-games need to be taken extremely seriously. They are big business and offer career opportunities. There are courses offered on the subject covering the business side of things and beyond: software, hardware, team management, marketing, advertising, players and more.
The subject of E-Sports or Electronic Sports will encompass the athlete of tomorrow who will have artificial body parts (biomechatronic / bionic) or at the very least new tech and future medicines to upgrade, protect or repair their bodies with processes like oxygen delivery, gene variations or something simple but totally awsum like bone fracture putty. These things are going to lead to huge debates around the subjects of sports ethics, management and health. Let me give some bullet points on very likely changes we can expect in the future:
- E-sports will gain ‘Olympic Status’ in terms of participation and financial value within the next 10-15 years or so, brought on by generations GenZ and GenAlpha.
- The E-Athlete will be more powerful than the traditional athlete in terms of control over their career but also income potential or commercial value. This will be driven largely by social media influencing opportunities, backed by big data which will confirm their market worth.
- The E-Spectator will have many new ways of viewing and engaging with sports stars, sports clubs and even other fans. They will be able to see what they want, when they want, at the angle they like, and from wherever they wish to be in the world.
- The ‘sports betting model’ will be disrupted as a result of a number of factors not limited to jurisdictional challenges, digital currencies and new laws.
- Sports will go ‘green’ or ‘sustainable’. Everything is set for change, from what athletes wear to what they eat, to the buildings used, like stadiums, which will go carbon neutral and generate their own power.
- Stadiums will become bigger, but there will be less of them. These new buildings will become multipurpose venues and provide extra experiences including augmented reality so a fan could sit in the stadium 20 rows back, but also enjoy a view from a player’s perspective using a camera on their clothes.
- New e-venues will pop up and attract fans, they will probably resemble hi-tech sports bars with AR and VR booths and some of the larger ones might have 3D theatres with immersive experiences.
- Traditional TV media will continue to decline. Streaming or on demand services and paying for only what we view will be the way to go.
- Traditional marketing and advertising will die. Out of the ashes a monster of a beast will rise with direct access to fans (and their data) and the ability to customize the delivery of marketing as well as the message itself. This side of the business is long overdue for all sorts of new, exciting and very possibly highly intrusive ways to reach fans.
- Merchandise and memorabilia will become a much larger part of the income revenue model for sports stars and their clubs, many of which will run e-coms and shift some attention into running online retail.
- Here is something ‘out of the box’ one might not expect: social perceptions and opinions are going to shift related to LGBTQ matters. ‘Coming out’ will be far less of a thing in the sports sector, and perhaps not even worth mentioning at all in the coming years. As we move into the virtual or electronic worlds, our physical attributes such as skin colour or gender are going to be far less important. In the new e-world we can literally pick the appearance we relate the most too.
- Peer to peer engagement will boom to levels never seen before. Sports will continue as it always has to improve our social fabric and e-sports will play a more important role in education.
I will revisit this subject again in the coming years.
About Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline
He is a Business and Environmental Technologist. An entrepreneur who runs several online businesses. He is a published Author who researches, consults and facilitates strategy sessions about the most important matters affecting our generation and the changes to technology, business and the environment. Services include:
- Digital Architect & Scenario Planning.
- Online Marketing
- Keynote Talks
Future Thinker. Innovator. Change Expert. Industry 4.0 & IoT Specialist. Green & Sustainable Solutions. Digital Marketing, Security, Devices & Trends. Author, Consultant, Project Manager & Scenario Planner.
Published May 2021
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