Last year, the League of Legends World Championships had around 60 Million viewers, counting both live and online viewers. To put that into perspective, the 2017 NBA Championship peaked at around 38 million viewers. While this is a far cry from the 2014 World Cup’s estimated 3.2 billion, it’s getting harder for people to deny the popularity of E-sports. E-sports makes itself more accessible than physical sports because of livestreaming: a live, usually free, broadcast of the event, viewable over the internet via sites like YouTube or Twitch. This leaves us e-sports fans with the question: do we stream or do we attend the event? Here are some things to consider for both sides:
Over the course of the year, the various e-sports have a lot of events held worldwide. Conventions are often held that have these tournaments as the centerpieces with the national and worldwide championships being major events in their own right. These live events provide an experience that you can’t really get through a computer or phone screen: amazing cosplays, the chance to meet your favorite player, the rush of energy you get being part of the crowd, cheering for your favorite team. As anyone who has attended one of these events can tell you, there’s nothing quite like it. Another plus to attending live: sweet, sweet merchandise and freebies. A lot of events offer freebies to attendees. Ranging from in-game items you can use to show-off online, to trinkets you can display to make your non-attending friends jealous, a lot of the giveaways are only available at the event itself.
Livestreaming at home
There’s no place like home. With the advent of livestreaming e-sports, you don’t even have to leave it! Livestreaming usually means that you get to watch the games from the comfort of your own home without having to spend on travel, entrance fees, lodging, or food. Additionally, Livestreams are usually handled by hosts or shoutcasters that spot key moments and keep you updated on things that you may have missed. Livestreams also usually have replays, match recap analysis, and interviews with the players. For aspiring pros or people who just want to improve their game, these elements, which are usually exclusive to Livestream events, can be a big help. Also keep in mind that some of the major events in E-sports take place at major conventions that, unless you’re a hardcore fan, may not be worth the entrance fee. Other events may take place overseas which will exponentially increase the costs of attending.
In summary, there are a lot of pros to both options. Personally, I recommend attending the smaller events first to get a feel for them before deciding if you want to commit to the bigger events. Blizzard’s November Blizzcon is usually a good bet since admission tickets also score you some really cool freebies. The wide range of events they host are sure to appeal to almost everyone as well. What would you prefer: the energy of a live event or the comfort of a Livestream?