E-Sports, competitive computer gaming, is the world’s fastest growing sport and India, with its population of 1.3 billion people, two thirds of whom are below the age of thirty-five, is set to become one of the world’s leading markets. In the past, lack of technology and a lack of enthusiasm for the gaming medium has meant that there has been a slow uptake of E-Sports in India, while in Europe and the States, E-Sports prize money has continued to rise. The International Tournament, hosted by game developers Valve, offers prize money in excess of $18 million. Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the big prize money is dominated by multiplayer online battle arenas, such as the all-conquering, Defence of the Ancients, better known as DOTA.
E-Sports Tournament Prize Money by Digit
It’s not just prize money that is generating E-Sports revenue however, the sport is now attracting a vast audience and tournament betting is soaring in Europe.
E-Sports Betting Figures by bwin
At the moment, India is conspicuous by its absence from the E-Sports scene but all that is about to change. Economic growth is creating a country with a huge appetite for digital entertainment; the spread of affordable wireless internet and smartphones is resulting in the rise of a generation of gamers. It is estimated that by 2020 the Indian gaming industry will be worth over Rs 50 billion.
Earlier this year, Flipkart’s Gaming Online Championship offered gamers the chance to take part in a competition featuring Fifa, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, League of Legends and Dota 2, with prizes in the form of E gift vouchers worth up to Rs 50,000. But it is the Electronic Sports League, the world’s leading platform for E-Sports which is really set to shake things up on the Indian gaming scene. ESL India, in partnership with NODWIN, is presenting a year-long E-Sports Championship, featuring a mixture of online and offline tournaments, a huge prize pool, ever-changing daily content and celebrity showdowns. Competitors will have the opportunity to play Dota 2, CS:GO and Hearthstone, at three levels. The online cups ‘Starters’ will run six times in the year and will offer cash prizes and the chance to qualify for the second level of competition. ‘Challengers’, which are LAN events, will offer even bigger cash prizes, a much larger audience and the opportunity to reach the final round. The very best competitors will play in the ‘Masters’, the season’s finale in December 2016. ESL’s Managing Director Ralf Reichert said,
“ESL mission is to increase the popularity of esports across the globe. We are excited to help building up the esports community in India with Nodwin. The country’s diverse communities, along with the fact that India embraces technology like no other place, makes it a perfect candidate. We are very excited to get started with the ESL India Premiership, and I personally can’t wait to experience it live, as I’m sure the crowd will be fantastic. In the meantime, we will ensure that we can deliver a world-class experience – both online and offline – to the local and international fans, and hope this tournament series helps foster growth in the region.”