There’s no denying how far esports has come and established itself as one of the more prominent and widely-enjoyed forms of entertainment worldwide. Even with primetime sports competitions and entertainment like the UEFA Champions League Final, NBA Finals, and Super Bowl, esports remains a strong contender, rivaling industries far older than itself.
That said, JustWatch statistics show that the League of Legends Worlds 2021 Grand Finals amassed nearly 75 million viewers, smashing the NBA Finals 2022, MLB World Series Finals 2021, and other sports events’ records. However, with Worlds 2021 hitting a home run shot and becoming one of the most-watched esports tournaments in the world, does that mean competitive gaming is completely overtaking traditional sports?
Well, the easy answer is no, not at the moment. Although some prestigious esports tournaments like The International 2021 and Worlds 2021 performed exceptionally well, many other competitive gaming scenes are still trying to catch up. However, that’s not to discredit or doubt that esports might not overcome sports as the world’s choice of entertainment. The Worlds 2021 Grand Finals alone, surpassing some of the largest events in North America, watched by millions across the globe, is already a monumental achievement.
The Worlds 2021 Grand Finals surpassed and attracted four times more viewers than the NBA Finals 2022, with it sitting on 16.9 million spectators. In addition, the esports tournament also beat MLB World Series Finals 2021, US Open Women's Single Finals 2021, and UEFA Women's Champions League Finals 2022. Subsequently, Worlds 2022 Grand Finals is projected to generate and accumulate 118 million viewers this year -- over 150% more than Worlds 2021. This prediction means if Worlds 2022 Grand Finals achieves this milestone, it'll officially surpass the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2021 Finals too.
However, to say that esports is overtaking traditional sports isn't entirely accurate. But it doesn't mean it won't do so in the future. With the pace the industry is evolving and progressing, it wouldn't be shocking if esports surpassed traditional sports in all mediums in the next five to ten years, or possibly twenty. The fact that some esports tournaments are smashing other sports events should be more than enough indication that the era of competitive gaming entertainment has taken a foothold worldwide. That said, it's only a matter of time before it topples its competitors.
We want to thank JustWatch for providing the data listed in this article. JustWatch is the biggest international streaming guide, with 25 million users across 119 countries, and makes it easy to find out where you can legally watch movies, TV shows, and sports.
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Featured image courtesy of Twitter via Riot Games and Worlds 2022.