If you needed any more proof that eSports is here to stay in Australia, the Adelaide Football Club has entered into an agreement to acquire a pro eSports team, making them the first of any mainstream sports teams in the country to do so.
The Sydney-based team, Legacy, play the game League of Legends and are one of the eight teams battling it out in the Oceanic Pro League, hosted at Riot Games in Sydney.
With professional gaming becoming a legitimate and popular sporting event in Australia, pulling large crowds and lucrative sponsorships, it was only a matter of time before traditional teams and broadcasters would reach out for a piece of the pie.
Globally, the industry is worth around $1.2 billion.
The recent Intel Extreme Masters
event hosted around 10,000 keen Counter-Strike
fans at Qudos Arena
in Sydney’s Olympic Park
over two days and was the biggest eSports event we’ve hosted so far. Aussie punters also one-upped the rest of the world by doing an incredible amount of shoeys over the course of the weekend.
But that’s just the start. To give you an idea of the popularity of competitive gaming, last year’s League of Legends World Championship attracted more viewers worldwide than the fucking NBA finals.
The Crows‘ acquisition is becoming a common occurrence on a global level, with NBA teams like the 76ers, the Miami Heat and even bloody Shaquille O’Neal all investing in the sport.
And the AFL are keen as heck on the idea, recently making their intentions to stage their own tournaments at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne crystal clear.
“It is hugely popular with millennials and there are enhanced opportunities for current and new corporate partners to engage with younger, digital and social media savvy audiences,” said Crows chief executive, Andrew Fagan.
“In many ways, eSports represents the intersection of technology, media and entertainment, which are all a key part of our strategic focus.”
In many ways, this move could be seen as Australia catching up with the rest of the world, where eSports is already a booming mainstream event. But given the speed at which the scene is growing, we’re certainly well on our way.
We recently caught up with another Sydney League of Legends team, The Chiefs, who told us what it’s like to be a pro gamer. Suss it out below.
Photo: Legacy eSports Team.