From a traditional sporting perspective, opening up once hallowed sporting arenas to eSports is about creating new markets, reaching out to the younger demographic, and trying to stay relevant in an era where stadia are emptying, participation in real sports is declining and Australia’s once mighty international sporting footprint is diminishing. For the eSports crowd, such partnerships generate legitimacy and are aimed at winning over the puritans and their traditional arguments: this isn’t real sport! Surely people should be playing games outside, not inside! What’s wrong with the real world (versus the virtual)?! These, and other trends, stand to stymie any positive developments from the inexorable rise of eSports. Moreover, such partnerships have, so far, been almost exclusively governed by commerce, dollars, market share, ‘eyeballs’ (audience), and fragmented leagues. Like the uber-game, Red Dead Redemption 2, it all has the feel of an unsustainable, Wild West gold rush. In such a rapacious, confusing and polemic environment, many of the potential benefits from using eSports as a means to positive outcomes are lost, or being ignored or, as we contend, have simply not been contemplated and this is where diplomacy comes in.
|Publication status||Published - 30 Jan 2019|