by Izaak Garcia
Over the thousands of years that they have been a part of human life, sports have been a cornerstone of entertainment and a test of strength, agility, and focus. From the calm greenscapes and peaceful waters of golf, to the rough and unforgiving field of football, sports are a testament to some of the greatest athletes of all time. With the turn of the century, a new definition of what a sport can be has emerged, surging in popularity across the globe.
As you walk through the entrance of the venue, the anticipation builds in your body. The roar of the crowd swells, filling up an entire basketball stadium as they watch their favorite team take a risk that pays off, all while hundreds of thousands, even millions watch from their phones, tablets, computers, and much more on a streaming app called Twitch. Characters flash on the screen, with their abilities initiating fights, and defending objectives. This is the world of Esports.
The industry of electronic sports has taken the world by storm, from its humble beginnings in small rooms with barely 100 people, to entire arenas filled to the brim with tens of thousands, and millions more watching on live streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube. The growth of Esports, especially in terms of revenue, has been exponential. The total amount of investment has skyrocketed since 2017, spiking from $490 million to a whopping $4.5 billion in just one year, with the year-over-year growth rate being over 800%.
But big investments aren’t the only thing that has contributed to this industry’s overwhelming surge in relevance. Not only are these Esports growing in terms of generated revenue, they are growing in size. Leagues and organizations have been formed, with different Esports teams popping up everywhere. The game “League of Legends” has some of the largest viewings in the Esports world. From that came the LCS, or League of Legends Championship Series, where teams formed by coaches, sponsors, and even companies can compete against each other for the title of Split Champion. Other Esports such as Counter Strike: Global Offensive and the Overwatch League have many sub-leagues in them, where lower tier teams can compete against each other for a chance to have players advance to the major leagues. From there, these players can join teams with enormous sponsorships and companies that back them, allowing them to form contracts that can amount to six figures or more. Some of the biggest Esports players in the industry, such as Yilian Peng (going by his username Doublelift), have secured sponsorships with Honda and even Marvel, showcasing the company logos on their jerseys.
The world of Esports is growing fast, with new teams being created every day and more people watching all the time. Pop culture is constantly shifting, but wave of electronic sports is something that will influence and impact generations to come.
About Izaak Garcia
Izaak Garcia is currently a senior at Richwoods High School, enrolled in the International Baccalaureate program. After high school, Garcia plans to study Computer Science. He has played soccer with FC Peoria and Richwoods for over a decade combined. Garcia has also played tennis for 4 years, securing a spot on both junior varsity and varsity teams. Along with this, he has competed with the Richwoods Worldwide Youth Science and Engineering team for Biology and Computer Science for 2 years and earned multiple awards for the school. Garcia is also heavily involved with the arts. As a multi-instrumentalist, he has played the saxophone for 8 years and piano for 2 years. During his junior year of high school, he was involved in theater at Richwoods as stage crew and manager. He helped with two total productions and was being trained to be stage manager for senior year before the COVID-19 pandemic impacted school. Outside of school activities, Garcia is involved in Jack and Jill of America (an organization for young African American men and women to serve the community). He served as his chapter’s treasurer during his freshman year of high school. Along with Jack and Jill of America, he enjoys coding, learning new coding languages, and video games.