It’s the middle of 2018, and eSports is gaining traction with the mainstream audiences. Million dollar pot bonuses, features on ESPN, even NBA teams are investing in franchises of their own. League of Legends is currently hosting their LCS Season Split to a combined audience of 76 million, with a peak of 200 thousand people at a time! This is just a snapshot view of the entire field. There are dozens of games bursting with opportunity for players to make careers out of what is still perceived to be a ‘hobby’.
With all of the growth coming from the eSports industry, there is likely to be more opportunity for players to make their way closer to actually being on a professional team. I would like to paint a picture of those current possibilities using some comparisons with more traditional sports.
NCAA.org published this page on Estimated Probability of Competing in College Athletics. Using Basketball as an example (given their 5 man starting roster) 550,305 men will attempt to play in collegiate sports and overall only 3.4% will actually make it! For women it’s no different, with a 430,368 to 3.8% transition. When it comes to going major pro the window gets even smaller due to multiple factors in the drafting process, as shown in this article.
Lets translate this to eSports. Using League of Legends as an example lets look at how many active players there are in ranked for just North America, and compare that to the amount of pro team slots that are in the LCS. I will attempt to include Academy roster slots as well. This math is intended to be a rough look at the probabilities, it’s accuracy might not be exact. In 2017 op.gg estimated an active ranked population of 1.4 million. Let say we have 10 active teams in the LCS, with 10 man rosters including the Academy teams. This means that the players participating right now are the 0.14%.
What does all of this information do for us? It starts an important conversation about the eSports environment. It helps to show the divide between eSports and traditional sports. I will leave some questions that will illustrate this point.
- If traditional sports organizations have recruiters, scouts, and combines. Is it possible for eSports to implement the same practices?
- Is it possible to create more Tier 1 eSport Franchises if collegiate programs are created for eSports?
- How many jobs will be created as this industry grows? How many already have been created?
- Is it possible to stand out among so much competition?
As for the last question, I believe it is more than possible.