Are eSports the next big thing? Rick Fox seems to think so, since he just bought Gravity, aLeague of Legends team. The ex-Laker and Celtic purchased the team for an unspecified amount and explains that eSports is on the cusp of “something massive.” Fox has long been a supporter of video games and eSports, serving as a partner at Twin Galaxies, the official video game world-record and player-ranking authority that was founded in 1981. He also donated his three NBA championship rings with the LA Lakers to the professional gaming fundraiser #Right2Game.
While some of us might be scratching our heads, Fox is definitely onto something. Over 27 million people tuned into the League of Legends World Championship this year while only 19.9 million tuned in to the NBA final. eSports has the benefit of being more international in certain ways, and the biggest games command a more worldwide audience than most traditional sports. If there were any doubt about the growing influence of this genre — Fox’s move definitely just erased it. Perhaps now we will be seeing more and more people investing in eSports and gamers, truly challenging our traditional idea of what “sports” entail.
While League of Legends players or e-gamers may have to wait awhile before they can command NBA-level salaries, the trajectory seems to be headed that way. The highest paid Youtuber this year raked in $12 million USD — and was for Swedish gamer PewDiePew, who started his online career with game walkthrough videos.