Regarding the eSports industry, South Africa may have lagged behind countries like America, South Korea, China and Germany, but we are quickly catching up. Here are some of the reasons eSports is taking off as a well-loved pastime, entertainment and even sports betting opportunity.
Adopting eSports After Ordinary Online Play
With Fibre becoming increasingly popular and more common in South Africa, access to a connection strong enough to support online gaming has seen a surge in the amount of people that play competitively online. Accessibility is what brought online gaming to South Africa in the first place. Desmond Kurz, former Head of MWEB service providers, stated, “It’s not so much how big eSports is, but rather how quickly it is growing in South Africa that keeps my eyes on it.” Three years later we can see that this has turned out to be true; eSports has grown in South Africa, with no signs of slowing down. Telkom even launched their own Digital Gaming League.
This has opened doors for those who want to play in a larger arena, which is commonly known around the globe as eSports. Many are fans who tune in to international events to spectate the way regular sports spectators do, and even bet on the outcome.
New Labelling Has Fueled the Popularity of eSport
It is the word “sports” that tends to catch people off guard, because eSports is not a physical activity like traditional sport. It is competitive gaming between teams or individuals playing popular games for, oftentimes, huge tournament earnings. Some of these games include:
- Dota 2
- Counterstrike – Global Offensive
- League of Legends
- StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty
- FIFA Series
If you take a look at the WatchMojo countdown video below, it will put into perspective the winning, attendance and fan base that eSports has conjured over the last few years.
eSports Presents Advertising Opportunities
One way that South Africa can produce eSports Teams that compete on an international level is with sponsorship. This way, eSports evolves into a local industry rather than a pastime that comes at a cost to the players themselves.
Tournaments are hosted by corporate giants like The Coca-Cola Company, Mercedes-Benz and Twitch. In South Africa, the 2019 rAge Expo was sponsored by Red Bull. Others are quickly catching on to the huge following that eSports has and, in order to cash in, sponsors must seize this marketing opportunity before someone else grabs the low hanging fruit.
rAge is an entirely South African event which has drawn fans, players and patrons in swarms. Since their partnership with Vodacom, rAge has boomed into the gaming event of the year in South Africa with eSports at its centre. Now known as the Vodacom rAge event, Vodacom and Telkom have grabbed a marketing opportunity others still thoughtlessly overlook. This is expected to change as other large companies want a piece of the lucrative eSports pie. As a growing, and until now untapped, source of competitive content, South Africa is sure to make their mark on the global eSports industry soon enough.
Large Winnings Potential in eSports
Developing into a national platform may take time, but South African players with invested sponsors have already made headlines. According to the Business Insider South Africa, the highest South African earners in international eSports tournaments made upwards of 30 thousand US Dollars in a single year by winning competitions. Internationally, the top eSports earnings are upwards of a million dollars.
Want to get in on the action but not such an avid gamer yourself? You could always place a bet on the next big eSports event.