The city of Washington DC just invested in an eSports team and is building an arena with support for eSports events. How long is it until other cities follow suit? How long is it before your city has its own eSports franchise? Maybe we have reached peak eSports or maybe this is all just beginning.
Would you follow a local eSports team and/or tailgate for one of its games?
Aaron McNeal - I'm warming up to the idea of eSports. I tend to play single player games and really love game immersion, but Hearthstone has opened me back up to gaming as a competitive pastime. I have several favorite Hearthstone streamers, know a handful of teams by name and watch tournaments. That's about as far as my ceremony goes with eSports though. I don't have team swag or socialize at a bar rooting for and betting on players. My wife works with the wife of a member of the Evil Geniuses Halo team though and I watched them play last year, so I kinda had a personal connection having met him in person once. Watching a Hearthstone tournament is almost the same as watching the game any other time, save for the level of production and grandeur of someone actually winning a title or money prize. Knowing who the players are and seeing if all their practice pays off is fun. Or if their particular personalities and quirks still shine through when playing for keeps.
Andrew Cooper - It really depends on how frequent the events were. If I knew the players I'd be more likely to support it and tailgate. My time is pretty limited anymore these days, and I typically prefer playing games myself over watching someone else play. I do think a big tournament would be enjoyable to experience from time to time and would support that coming local.
Justin Lacey - I'm intrigued by the next evolution of eSports and to see whether or not they breakthrough to a mainstream sports audience. I'm not sure at this time what game will actually make the leap, but when/if it does happen to the level that creates several city-based clubs, I will definitely be interested. Granted, I was interested in traveling 3 hours to watch the Chicago-based XFL team play in its first season, but I will still want to go see what all the fuss is about. That all being said, the video game itself is going to have to be fun to watch and hopefully the in-arena experience can bring something special to the table. If I can stay at home and get an equal or better experience out of it, I'm more likely to do that, just like I am currently doing with regular sports teams. On the other hand, if it all takes off I'm going to want friends to get into it with me. Maybe I will be able to talk a few of them into tailgating prior to major events at that point. I don't think any of this is likely, but I'd like to see it happen.
JB Buckner - No, I don't see me attending an eSports event yet. There aren't a lot of games with pro players I would watch instead of playing the games myself. And, as I see it you would have to have multiple games at an event. If there were a few games as interesting to me as Rocket League then perhaps I could get into it, but I don't think I would go if that was one of many other games. Plus, "How do you show a match in a way that gets the best perspective?" is always an interesting question. Most people watch 1 streamer's perspective all the time, but how would that work in a tournament on a stage with a big screen over them?
Justin Gifford - No and yes. As an Indiana University fan and graduate who has been in the parking lot of multiple IU football games, I am familiar with tailgating a game I'm not going to. Busting out 100% Get Off My Lawn Mode: I don't get watching someone else play games. I didn't like it when it wasn't my turn playing Earthworm Jim on the Genesis, I didn't like waiting for my turn in Mario 64, and I have zero interest in watching dozens of other people enjoy playing Overwatch for two hours while I'm...not. That wasn't really a shot at Overwatch in particular, it's "The only game video I've really ever watched for more than 10 minutes was ManyATrueNerd's 'Kill Everything' in Fallout 3" because he's hilarious. I don't like watching other people play games, I like playing games and occasionally writing about them. If people I knew personally made it into a Rocket League tournament, I would go to support them, be sitting there the whole time thinking, "I would have made that shot," "What the HELL, they got screwed!" or "Man, this would be a lot more fun if I were playing instead of sitting here with my $9 beer." (I also don't watch a lot of sports, period; I'd rather participate).
Ryan Billingsley - I think they would need to nail the atmosphere and make it an experience that is worth going out to. I love going to baseball games because it is a unique experience from watching it on TV. Sitting in an auditorium and just watching play on a video screen just won't do it. Like I mentioned on Night Force Action Report, there are some awesome opportunities for second screen and VR experiences that could make it more interesting. Maybe mix up what kind of food is there, I don't know, but it would have to be unique in some way that I couldn't just experience on my couch at home.
Rob Shaw - Along the same lines as Giff: If you're asking if I'd come out to watch you in a Rocket League tournament and if I would get loose beforehand then yeah probably and most definitely, respectively. I would have no interest if I didn't know at least one of the players. I don't really have an interest in eSports and my time with games is fairly limited, so I'd rather spend it playing them. I very rarely go to any sporting events and/or tailgate, and I don't think this would bring me out any more than the [Indianapolis] Colts or the Indians. I also don't really play any eSport type games regularly. I wouldn't be excited about seeing a tournament unless it was something I was into and I really enjoyed and understood the rules and details of the game being played.
Cole Monroe - Hell yeah, I'd go to a live eSports tournament for Rocket League and could find myself attached to a local municipality's team. Imagine how much shit talk could happen when Las Vegas and Indianapolis plays each other? I think it's an exciting proposition for eSports teams to have a base to build around rather than just having sponsored teams that I have no loyalty to. I have a friend who goes to the DOTA International every year and he has a blast. I think with what Justin and Ryan talked about on the podcast with these pros developing wrestling like personalities, being in the crowd would be great. It's why I love going to wrestling events. It's why an eSports tournament for Rocket League would be fun as hell.
Cover - Digital Trends
Photo - Redbull.com