Broad and competitive sports
Structure of eSports in European countries
eSport in UK has been developing very dynamically for almost a decade and now also reaches almost 3 million eSport-enthusiastic people in England. Fundamental to this is the deep social roots of computer and video games in European society and the establishment of long-standing structures, which are the backbone of the current development, as well as new distribution channels via streaming platforms such as Twitch and YouTube, the interested immediate and free access on eSports broadcasts. For a long time, eSport has developed almost exclusively via online structures as a generic digital sports movement. The exact numbers are naturally difficult to grasp here. One assumes 40,000 to 150,000 loose organizations (so-called “clans” or teams) in the gaming area. Not all of them operate regular eSports, but many are at least partially anchored in the eSport area.
As is known from traditional sports, there is also a pyramid-like organization in eSport: the players, who often deal with the eSports titles online on game platforms and networks online and enter into active game play, form the basis, the foundation , This area is often organized only by the game developers, publishers and digital eSport platforms and remains largely unstructured. At the top of the eSport pyramid is professional and semi-professional eSports, to which only a few top athletes have access. In between there was a large gap in the middle of the eSport players, which remained without structure and organization. For some time eSports clubs and sports clubs with eSports departments have found their place here. With training offers and a social environment, they can offer players exciting added value in eSports popular sports.
Amateur and recreational sports in eSports
Driven by public debate, the concept of club organization imeSport has been experiencing a renaissance since 2016. A total of 58 eSport clubs, mostly tied to a regional location, and 25 multi-sector clubs with eSport offer counts the ESBD in Europe at the current time. Established clubs hope to attract younger members and to ensure the attractiveness of club life, also in the context of digitization and to strengthen their sporting core. There is an active startup in eSport for 2018: 22 eSports clubs and eSports departments are in the process of being set up and in many cases being advised by the ESBD. This results in a potential of more than 100 clubs that are active in eSports in Europe or want to take action.
With the foundation of the ESBD as a sports organization of clubs, teams and organizers in November 2017, a new level of organization in eSports has emerged. The aim of the ESBD is to give the current eSports landscape in European countries a structure that not only improves the sporting, legal and political framework conditions according to the needs of its members, but at the same time establishes a cooperative relationship with classical sports. With the economic organization “game.eSports” of the Association of the European Games Industry, the ESBD works closely in overarching challenges and topics.
Performance and elite variations in eSports
English eSport is characterized in the segment of competitive and top-class sports by large teams with a high international reputation and great experience, sometimes over 15 years. The teams have made a name for themselves especially in the areas Counter-Strike and League of Legends – titles, which probably have the largest fan of professional competitions. In addition, European eSport teams in competitive sports are also successful in many other disciplines such as the FIFA series, Dota 2 or Rocket League.
Performance and elite sports, in contrast to the amateurs, are characterized in particular by deep contractual obligations of players towards their organizations and of these in turn towards sponsors and competition providers. The game operation is highly structured and thus behaves parallel to the professional operation of traditional sports. Players are ambassadors for brands and their teams and fight for up to 7-digit prize money in big tournaments. Achievements are continuously measured, compared and improved by coaches on a playful, physical and psychological level. Likewise, the professional market is characterized by paying high sums of money, which have currently peaked in a 2017 transfer, which amounted to over half a million euros in single player redemption.
The players of these teams often earn their living by playing games based on competition and are therefore professional athletes. Some teams are organized as a factory team or factory teams in eSport. Valid numbers for professional eSports athletes have not been recorded so far. Experts estimate here a medium three-digit number of eSport professionals who can do at least a relevant part of their livelihood with their work. A more accurate coverage of this area is a future task of the association.
Last but not least, the situation in UK is currently shaped by the growing interest of football and basketball clubs, and other players in traditional sports, who are looking for entry into eSports with different offers and emphases. Overall, the ESBD currently counts 16 of these traditional sports structures with eSport involvement, especially from football, basketball and ice hockey.