How do I watch eSports

eSports - earn money with gambling

What is eSport?
eSport - one sport, many games
Our interview partner Konni Winkler
The ESL - Germany's largest tournament organizer
This is how the professionals train
Prize money and transfers
Public interest and professionalization of the industry
Because of computer nerds!

What is eSport?

eSport stands for "electronic sport". In eSports, computer or video games are played competitively as individual or team sports. Rules are set by the event organizer and the software (the computer or video games). In some countries, esports is recognized as a sport by established sports associations. However, the German Olympic Sports Confederation has so far rejected the classification of eSport as a sport.

eSport - one sport, many games

As in classic sport, there are various "sports" in eSport, which depend on the type of game. The following 3 disciplines are the most established and are played professionally in eSports:

• Real time strategy games
• Ego shooter
• Sports simulations

One of the most successful game titles worldwide and also in Germany is League of Legends - a real-time strategy game, five against five. There is also Dota 2, Starcraft 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Heroes of the Storm, the trading card game Hearthstone and many more. The fighting community also has some eSports titles with games like Street Fighter V or Smash Bros.

In addition, there are always new games, such as the recent Autoball game Rocket League or Overwatch some time ago. Which games make it to a high level always depends on the orientation of the games and the popularity of individual titles. In the meantime, game developers decide in advance which features in games are beneficial for the eSport character.

Our interview partner Konni Winkler

Konni Winkler is a moderator, sports and eSports journalist. When he's not streaming video games on Twitch and creating Let's Plays or gaming reviews on YouTube, he moderates the morning program of LandesWelle Thüringen or the Bundesliga broadcasts on SPORT1.fm. As a freelance author, Winkler writes on the subject of eSports for SPORT1 and ZEIT ONLINE, among others. In our interview, he gives an exciting insight into the scene that has inspired him from an early age.

owayo: Hello Konni, to start with a personal question: How did you get into eSport and what is it that particularly fascinates you? Konni Winkler: I've been passionate about video games since I was a kid. At some point this also led to eSports, because the games that interest me were also played on a professional level. The fascination with eSports comes from the fact that others play the same game that you like yourself. But the professionals carry out all actions faster, more beautifully and more spectacularly. It's like football: When I play football in a club and then see Ronaldo what he can do on the ball, I am fascinated.

eSports events have become real major events: Which competitions do you host? My most recent event where I cast - i.e. commented - was the TAG Heuer Virtual Bundesliga in FIFA 17. The final event lasted two days and took place in the German Football Museum in Dortmund. Cihan Yasarlar, who is under contract with FC Schalke 04, became German champion and won 15,000 euros in prize money. I also commented on the official German-language broadcast for SPORT1 at the FIFA Ultimate Team Regional Finals in Madrid.

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Engagement of Bundesliga clubs in eSports

Cihan Yasarlar from FC Schalke 04 is not the only eSportsman who is under contract with a Bundesliga club. Because in addition to FC Schalke 04, VfL Wolfsburg also has its own squad of eSportsmen. Other clubs, such as HSV or FC Ingolstadt, are preparing to enter eSport (as of the end of 2016). The German Football League (DFL) also registered some brands in 2016 that are related to eSport, such as “eBundesliga”. The eSporters of the Bundesliga clubs have so far specialized in the football simulation FIFA, in line with the Bundesliga.

The ESL - Germany's largest tournament organizer

The TAG Heuer Virtual Bundesliga in FIFA 17 is of course not the only eSports event: What events, tournaments and leagues are there? Every major eSports title has its own competitions, which often initially run via online modes and after qualifying in offline tournaments are played in front of tens of thousands of people. The ESL is represented in Germany as one of the largest tournament organizers with various games. There are also official tournaments of the game developers themselves. For example, Riot Games, the makers of League of Legends, has its official world championship, as does Valve with Dota 2. For Blizzard titles such as Starcraft 2, there is the Blizzcon.

This is how the professionals train

In order to qualify for tournaments, of course, you also have to train. How do eSportsmen train? The pro gamers (professional gamers) make their living playing video games, that's their job. This is also reflected in the time invested: Depending on the game, the players train between eight and ten hours a day. Before important tournaments, players of a team come together for bootcamps in gaming houses. The team owners provide the entire infrastructure for this, with the help of which players, trainers and analysts can prepare intensively. Physical fitness is also very important. The sporting balance is very important to the teams and therefore promoted.

Is there doping in eSports? Doping was a big issue a few years ago when Counter-Strike player Kory “Semphis” Friesen admitted that his then-team Cloud9 had resorted to Adderall. This is usually used in the treatment of ADHD. He claimed at the time that many other players had taken this drug. Fast reactions are particularly important in the game Counter-Strike, so the ingestion of such substances is obvious. Shortly after these statements became known, the ESL, together with the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA), introduced a guideline for eSports, which also provides for doping tests at larger tournaments.

What requirements does a professional eSportsman have to meet? That is different. Someone who wants to be good in Dota 2, a real-time strategy game, does not necessarily need quick reflexes, whereas in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive it is essential to react quickly. The same goes for Starcraft 2. Here, the actions per minute, i.e. inputs to the mouse and keyboard for the audience, are always measured. Professional players have between 300 and 500 logical inputs per minute. Hand-eye coordination, but also fitness are essential here. In general, individual and team tactical understanding is important in team games. You have to be willing to play a lot.

Prize money and transfers

How much does an eSportsman earn and what is the prize money? The top players and top teams earn very good money with it. Many have player contracts, receive a monthly salary and, in addition, a share of the winnings earned from tournaments. Some tournaments pay a minimum amount just for participation. So did Blizzard with the Heroes of the Storm Global Championships. Each team that participates will receive a minimum of $ 100,000. The best-earning German eSportsman is Kuro "KuroKy" Takhasomi. He has so far (mostly in Dota 2) earned a sum of over a million dollars - through prize money alone.

The record prize money tournament last year was The International in Dota 2 for $ 20,770,460, well over 20 million! There has never been more money in a tournament. Incidentally, this also means that the winning team Wings Gaming alone has collected over 9 million US dollars.
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Where can you watch eSports? There are hardly any eSports events on television. Except for SPORT1, which occasionally broadcasts League of Legends on TV, no other broadcaster relies on it. The station ProSieben MAXX had broadcast the counter-strike league ELEAGUE for a while. However, the group stopped broadcasting after it became known that the assassin, who ran amok in Munich on July 22, 2016, was probably also a Counter-Strike player.

Esports enthusiasts will mainly find live broadcasts of their favorite games on the Twitch platform (twitch.tv). Games like this are also broadcast on Facebook Live and YouTube Gaming, but the reach currently does not match that of Twitch.

Public interest and professionalization of the industry

How has public interest in the sport developed in recent years and what were the reasons? The gaming industry is growing very well, which is also paying off for eSports. In addition, eSports titles are often “free to play”, so they do not cost anything and can be downloaded and played without any financial barrier. This enables a large number of players to participate in eSports, regardless of their financial background. Watching on Twitch is also free and possible anywhere thanks to the internet. In this way, gamers can try out what they see right at home - for free. There are also more and more offline events with affordable admission in Germany.

What were the reasons for the professionalization of the industry? Where there is a reach and an interest, there is also a market. Many sponsors also want to benefit from the boom, as do the tournament organizers. If there is as much money in a market as in eSports, then you have to become professional if you want to be taken seriously by all sides.

How do you rate the commitment of Bundesliga teams like Schalke 04 or VfL Wolfsburg? Schalke and Wolfsburg are just a few examples of classic sports clubs that are now also expanding into eSports. Besiktas Istanbul, Paris St. Germain, New York City F.C. and other football clubs also show on an international level that eSport contains many sporting elements.

Schalke and Wolfsburg approach eSports differently. In addition to FIFA players, such as the reigning German champions Cihan Yasarlar, Schalke 04 also has a team in League of Legends. VfL Wolfsburg is currently only relying on FIFA 17 as a video game in its eSports division. Of course, this is a good opportunity to position the club and thus also the brand differently with potential fans.

Because of computer nerds!

Do not eSportspeople tend to have the reputation of being computer nerds in the general public, or are they already perceived as professional athletes? After all, Carlos Rodriguez - the world's most popular esports player on Facebook - has 609,348 fans. Video games have always had a completely different status in Asia. It is roughly the same as whether someone prefers to go to the theater or an eSports event. E-sports will also be the official sport at the Asian Games 2022, which shows the professionalization in the sector.

Here in the West, however, the perception has also changed significantly. The performance that is necessary to be able to keep up at the top level is increasingly recognized. In the last few years tens of thousands of people have come to the Commerzbank-Arena in Frankfurt for Dota 2 tournaments. Counter-Strike fills Cologne's Lanxess Arena. And two years ago, the final with 20,000 spectators in League of Legends in the Berlin Mercedes-Benz Arena was completely sold out within a very short time.
The final of the League of Legends World Cup, the "Worlds" alone, was viewed by 43 million viewers via livestream or TV. At the peak there were even 14.7 million viewers at the same time. Incidentally, the final took place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles in front of 20,000 spectators.
The TV production of these events is at the same high level as the Eurovision Song Contest, for example. There are moderators, commentators, analysts. All of this contributes to the fact that perception also changes. eSportspeople are not children playing in the basement who cannot see daylight - to name a typical cliché.

How does German eSport compare internationally? We are represented in all the big titles, so Germany doesn't really have to hide.

How do you think eSports will develop in the coming years? Interest will continue to grow, with some game titles maybe added while others will lose popularity again. There is no doubt that eSport as an entertainment program will achieve a similar status as classic sport.

The right jersey for your eSport team

Are you still looking for a suitable jersey for your eSport team? Then take a look at our shop, because owayo offers a large selection of professional eSport jerseys and team jackets. You can design these individually in our 3D configurator according to your wishes.

We hope that we were able to give you an exciting insight into the eSports scene and thank our interview partner Konni Winkler.

Images: Cover image: © istock / Homunkulus28

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