The rise of esports will go hand in hand with a change of economics. At the moment the NFL is only sustainable by:
- ESPN paying huge fees for the right to show games, funded by subscribers.
- Broadcast networks paying huge fees for the rights to show games, funded by drinks, car and insurance commercials.
- Scarcity of teams and games per teams.
- Ultimate scarcity of the yearly final, the Superbowl.
Point 1 is fading: see cable cutters and massive falloff in ESPN subscriber numbers.
Point 2 will fade as brand advertising goes mostly online…
Oh shit, Amazon bought Twitch? Turns out Jeff Bezos is cleverer than everyone. No need for brand awareness if you buy all consumer goods from Amazon. No need for insurance adverts if algorithms take care of all that shit… running on AWS. No need for car adverts if everyone is taking Uber, etc.
Esports is perfectly decentralised, and can have any kind of brand or product advertising running against it. The players don’t have to travel to games and audiences, the audiences come to them. Any number of tournaments can be held, and there’s a constant supply of new games and events and new esports.
And then the advertising is based on volume, not scarcity. There’s no point wondering what the NFL of esports is going to be. That’s not how the future will work. It’ll be about 10,000 niche games blooming.