Back in Dec of last year, I wrote about watching the championship for LoL. Well it’s that time of year and here I am, once again watching almost every match and loving it. It’s funny to think that LoL and something like Hearthstone are technically in the same ‘eSport’ category, because to me watching a LoL match compared to a HS match is like watching the NFL on Sunday vs watching a home video of a kids wiffleball game. Yea, both are sporting events, but that’s basically where the similarities end.
I am curious if eSports will ever make it to TV in a big way, like how Poker has become a fairly common event on TV. As I said in that linked post above, the demographic that watches eSports is the mostly highly prized (18-35 male) when it comes to advertising, and when you look at something like the LoL LCS, the show and it’s production value are already there. You literally could put the stream on ESPN or another sports network and it wouldn’t look low-budget or need major tweaks (other than commercial breaks during matches, as the 30min format doesn’t fit the ‘commercial every 15min’ format of traditional TV, but that’s easily solved with picture-in-picture or a scrollbar of ads).
But does something like the LoL LCS even need TV at this point? TV as we know it from the cable company is on a downward trend as more and more people watch shows on platforms like Hulu, Netflix, and other Internet-based means and drop subscribing to cable altogether. This trend is only going to increase, so one could argue that the LCS being on Twitch and Youtube doesn’t show that LoL hasn’t ‘gone mainstream’, but rather that LoL is simply ahead of the times compared to ‘traditional’ sports.
Personally I’m a bit torn. I do see and acknowledged the trend in TV viewership, but at the same time a prime-time TV slot still has a certain prestige and legitimacy to it, and I’d like to see eSports secure such a spot. I don’t really think it needs it, and it will grow regardless, but yea, that stamp of approval would be nice, and if anything LoL and Riot deserve it based on the work they have done in the area and how far it has come.
Either way, it’s very enjoyable content once again.