Yahoo Esports

Video commentary and livestreaming of all things esports

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Yahoo recently launched its esports site and today released it's Android app (iOS coming soon). Here's a GIF, courtesy of TechCrunch's @sarahintampa (see her article here): I recently had a convo with @mazzeo and others about esports. What makes it particularly interesting is that unlike other sports, anyone can participate and stream their experience, making everyone a "sports star". Esports is already celeb-status in countries like Japan, and growing rapidly in North America. Esports will be bigger than traditional sports in a decade.
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@rrhoover this space is already monstrous... Wait till even more immersive games get built in VR, and you're watching from the stadium overlooking Summoner's rift...
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@rrhoover @sarahintampa @mazzeo Define "bigger" - in the broadest definition, I am pretty ardent about the fact that traditional sports will still be bigger in a decade. Could esports be bigger than niche traditional sports? Yes. But the fan loyalty to players is insanely high, and it'll take much longer than a decade for esports to eclipse traditional. Fans actually know who many athletes are. They know what they look like. They have personalities (or at least personas), and you watch them grow up in front of you through college, minor leagues, AAU, junior development teams, etc. It will take a very long time (and may not ever) for esports players to develop this level of a connection with fans, particularly if there isn't sufficient structure around esports' teams and leagues.
@rrhoover @sarahintampa @mazzeo online poker had the same variables - democratic playing field that anyone could enter, build/hone skills and stream - were lots of micro celebs, but didn't go mainstream. I do think eSports is a wider audience, but as more money enters and betting becomes commonplace, it will need to maneuver regulatory concerns to stay huge.
@besvinick haha, yes. "Bigger" is broad. I think it'll be bigger in terms of attention. Increasingly, consumers are becoming content creators. Instagram made everyone[1] a photographer. Snapchat made everyone a videographer. Unlike physical/traditional sports, Esports has a much lower barrier to broadcast and as more people create content, they'll attract their friends and generate more opportunities to capture attention. [1] Before someone calls me out, yes, "everyone" is a hyperbole. ๐Ÿ˜ There are still billions of people on the planet without Internet access.
@besvinick @rrhoover @sarahintampa @mazzeo Oh man - I love this discussion. I'm fairly convinced that esports will eclipse traditional sports in the next decade. For example, LoL World Championships brought in more viewers than any game of last years World Series. In esports, I'd argue it's almost easier to build those personalities. Look up players like Faker (LoL), KennyS (CS:GO), Shroud (CS:GO), etc. They all have insane (cult-like) followings, and are able to showcase their personalities via live-streams. I can't remember the last time I was able to watch a basketball player practice, whereas, I can regularly watch gamers practice. Heck, sometimes, they even let their fans "practice" with them. Teams are definitely unstable and volatile, but the individual players are not. In terms of immersive viewing experience, something like this from Steam - will be incredible.
Android before iOS from a major player like Yahoo is significant.
@inorganik It might just be the Apple App Store review timing
Careful, esports is growing (been part of the movement pushing for early adoption over the last decade) but it's still very much figuring out what it's about. I would love to get back into that space.
I think esports will be big because: 1) Anyone can become an esport star, not necessarily as a player but you could be a celebrity as a caster / promoter / entertainer - you don't have to be lucky genetically so to speak. 2) Usually the people you will see streaming are between 16-35, and people who watch the streams love the fact that it's "fresh", they understand the internet lingo, the jokes and overall it just feels like "one couch to another couch", there is no super polished a-la-hollywood stuff around (yet) 3) Investors (YC) and media gurus (GaryV for example) keep banging on about how esports is HOT HOT HOT, the question is - will esports entrepreneurs be able to deliver in a world where they aren't taken too seriously ? 4) Videogames are cool, we re going to have VR/AR injected right into videogames 5) Esports are built in a data-driven way from the get go, companies behind esports care and are involved with stats more than any other normal sport - also easier to track since its all programmatically accessible. I'm glad to see Yahoo! finally doing something good with their company, its been a while since their Tumblr acquisition :)
We have been talking about this a lot in the slack group. It's definitely a step in the right direction to have large media partners picking up this coverage and actually investing into developing its esports department. Good job Yahoo, doing great things for developing the professional side of the industry.