WATCH | Experts say that 2017 could be the year that eSports reaches mainstream success, but it requires two things: authenticity and accessibility.
The eSports panel, moderated by ELEAGUE's Richard Lewis, at CES 2017 included:
Christina Alejandre (VP of ELEAGUE and General Manager of eSports, Turner Sports)
Imari Oliver (VP, Sales & Global Partnerships, eSports, WME | IMG)
Dennis Fong (Founder & CEO, Plays.tv)
Nick Allen (Director of Esports Operations, Twitch)
Bryan DeZayas (Gaming Director, Dell)
Here, they discussed the potential rise of eSports to a mainstream audience, all touching on different bases.
Alejandre believes that TBS, the first station to televise eSports in the United States, aimed to transition professional gaming to viewers who have not witnessed it before. To compel those outside the community to continue watching, authentic storytelling would be required, including bringing players' and teams' backstories to life.
Oliver, who works for the talent agency WME | IMG in Hollywood, states that now is the time for brands to jump into eSports. Not only can be worthwhile for the companies if marketed correctly, but it would also boost commercial success worldwide.
While the growth has been phenomenal, Twitch's Nick Allen warns of oversaturating the community with too much content. Overlapping tournaments may reduce significance of play overall, and may lead to exhaustion for both players and viewers alike.
Accessibility, however, thanks to companies like Twitch, has allowed for ease of viewership for large-scale events, and has contributed to the past growth of eSports.
Time will tell how professional gaming continues in the future, but expect bigger and better events in 2017.