Why hasn't the U.S. embraced e-Sports?
America, home of the free and land of the.....competitive. America for just about everything it takes as a hobby or sport is one of the most competitive places in the world. So why is it that the U.S. has yet to embrace what is probably the most competitive scene in a worldwide scale outside of the Olympics.
That scene? e-Sports. Outside of the Olympics and World Cup Soccer there is nothing bigger as far as international pride goes than the world of e-Sports. This weekend alone [Oct.16th 2011 weekend] saw the internets broadcast of the MLG (Major League Gaming) event in Orlando, FL as well as the independent broadcast of Season's Beatings 11 in Ohio.
MLG Orlando showcased competitors in three games Halo:Reach, Call of Duty:Black Ops and the biggest draw for the event Starcraft2: Wings of Liberty. Starcraft 2 saw players from around the globe showcasing to their skills in gathering resources, building armies, researching new weapons and upgrades for their armies; then controlling that army in the most efficient way to grant them the victory. This event saw competitors from the U.S., Europe and Asia battle it out to see who can call themselves the top player in the World. Season's Beating 2011[velocity] saw players battle it out in fighting games such as Super Street Fighter 4:A.E. (arcade edition), Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Mortal Kombat. Season's Beating was a gathering of fighting game pros and top players [top players are slightly different than pro players as pro players are usually sponsored and top players are not] from the U.S. and Asia battling it out for fighting game pride.
One thing that caught my attention, other than the awesome skills of all the competitors at both events is the ads. Season's Beatings had an ad for the Movie "Texas Killing Fields" while MLG seemed to have Starbucks Coffee as a main advertiser with Hot Pockets having the occasional ad pop up between games. So that pops the question into my head, why hasn't the U.S. embraced e-Sports? ESPN will have you believe that a spelling bee can be considered a sport and during 4th of July weekend will show eating as a "sport" for the Nathan's hotdog eating challenge. So why can't pressing buttons at breakneck speeds while trying to determine what move is possible next be considered a sport? I mean the branding says it all "e-Sports" learning and mastering these games takes time and knowledge but also the ability to push one's digits and concentration to a very high level.
It obvious that some big companies are willing to throw money at the idea of e-sports, so why hasn't there been a partnership of sorts to at least highlight some the biggest moments in e-sports? To start off a network like SpikeTV, MTV or G4TV could schedule a midnight show maybe three times a week, showing a 30-minute highlight of some of the biggest matches to take place at a particular event or some sort of thrill inducing format.
The market is already primed for some sort of worldwide appeal as Starcraft is a national past-time in South Korea and fighting games especially a game like Street Fighter is considered to be the e-sport of Japan. There alone, the market is ready for a U.S. versus The World scenario, in which no matter where the U.S. is competitive there is always a prime market for support. I mean look at a sport like Soccer where the U.S. interest is very small compared to the worlds, but when the World Cup rolls around we have U.S. Soccer fans waving their flags, screaming their lungs out in hopes that this year will be the year where the U.S. can prove some sort of dominance over other nations. MLB (baseball) and NHL(hockey) have already been using similar formats for their all-star games with North America v. The world, helping gather more interest as those weekends roll around. I think with proper support, we can easily find ourselves screaming , U.S.A.!U.S.A.!U.S.A.! in the stands or from our home screens.