Connect with us
European Gaming Congress Milan
SIS

eSports

Net negative: what the repeal of net neutrality means for esports

George Miller

Published

on

Net negative: what the repeal of net neutrality means for esports
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Corporate and business regulations have always played a role in sports. Whether it be the NFL, NBA, MLB or NHL, internal strikes and lockouts have affected the leagues’ entertainment products. Esports is no exception to this trend, and it appears that the young industry’s first major battle will be over the very medium that has allowed it to thrive.

The Federal Communications Commission’s decision to repeal Obama-era net neutrality rules expanded the ability of internet service providers, or ISPs, to influence the data we receive from the internet. Now, ISPs can provide faster and more stable connections (“fast lanes”) to those who pay more, enforce data caps and charge premiums on overages or simply block certain internet sources at their own discretion. These actions will have a devastating effect on the growth of esports.

It’s unlikely that esports leagues such as the new Overwatch League or League of Legends Championship Series can continue their current trajectory after a drop in viewership. They depend on continual growth in order to attract sponsors and investors. Esports leagues don’t really have any other sources of income, given that they stream for free and don’t sign TV contracts.

Esports has drawn so many viewers in because of the accessibility of content on Twitch, the premier platform for video game streaming. In 2014, Twitch streamed 12 billion minutes of content, and that figure increased exponentially to 292 billion in 2016. The industry was only able to experience that type of growth because esports doesn’t require a subscription to cable, but the repeal of net neutrality is bound to change that, as viewers may have to begin paying for access to Twitch.

As it currently stands, esports is barely profitable, if it all, but the rate at which it grows makes it extremely lucrative for sponsors. Regardless of the bonus publicity from the entry of professional sports into the esports realm, if people have to start paying to watch, the rate of growth will be reduced dramatically, and sponsors will be unable to justify continued investment. Without the viewers, sponsors and investors, net neutrality could very well spell the death of professional esports as we know it.

Whatever hits professional esports take, collegiate esports will experience tenfold. In recent years, we’ve seen more and more universities gaining an interest in esports. Schools such as UC Irvine and Robert Morris University Illinois have formed elite programs offering students scholarships. Cal also recently joined the fray when Berkeley Rec Sports teamed up with Gaming @ Berkeley to form the Cal eSports program, albeit without scholarships. Unfortunately, the repeal of net neutrality has the potential to gut these programs before they have an opportunity to thrive.

Cal Athletics’ hand has been forced in the past to cut certain sports from its athletics program. Similarly, Cal will be likely unable to justify covering the ISP fees incurred by any future and current esports teams, especially given the fact that such teams provide little to no monetary incentive for the university. Slowly but surely, every school will avoid spawning eeports programs that would’ve been part of intercollegiate esports leagues rivaling their professional counterparts.

To make matters worse, if ISPs decide to enforce “fast lanes” and data caps on players, it would threaten the competitive integrity of online video games. Gamers are true egalitarians; they believe in an equal playing field, where everyone has the same opportunity and victory is solely dependent on an individual’s skill. The most popular games have generally done their best to shy away from this “pay-to-win” model.

Naturally, you would have an advantage with a faster, more stable connection, and you also get better the more you play. This would lead to a trend of wealthier players, who can afford to pay for “fast lanes” and more data, filling the top of the competitive ladders, even if they aren’t as skilled. The repeal of net neutrality would most definitely introduce negative “pay-to-win” environments into every video game. Without competitive ladders that accurately represent each player’s skill, professional teams may miss out on recruiting opportunities, and some players may never make it to the big stage.

Fundamentally speaking, the repeal of net neutrality threatens to erode the free and open atmosphere that has allowed esports to blossom into what it is today. The capability of any individual to find success and fame in the budding industry will disappear. Nevertheless, there is still some hope. Thirty U.S. senators have co-sponsored a bill under the Congressional Review Act that could overturn the FCC’s decision to repeal net neutrality.

Even though it is unlikely to pass, as it requires simple majorities in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, it would require every member of Congress to be on the record in regard to where they stand on net neutrality. After that, it would be the responsibility of gamers around the world to support leaders who share the belief in a free and open internet, for the sake of the future of esports. Hopefully, net neutrality will be back before it’s too late.

 

Source: dailycal.org

George Miller started his career in content marketing and has started working as an Editor/Content Manager for our company in 2016. George has acquired many experiences when it comes to interviews and newsworthy content becoming Head of Content in 2017. He is responsible for the news being shared on multiple websites that are part of the European Gaming Media Network.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Comments

eSports

Puma Partners with Cloud9

Niji Narayan

Published

on

Puma Partners with Cloud9
Reading Time: 1 minute

 

Puma has announced a multiyear partnership with esports brand Cloud9 to create an apparel collection for gamers.

“Tapping into the world of esports, and its broad, dynamic consumer audience, is critical to our marketing strategy moving forward,” Adam Petrick, global director of brand and marketing at Puma said.

“Being able to transcend esports and elevate our brand within a broader global audience is the natural evolution of the growth of Cloud9,” Jordan Udko, executive vice president, commercial partnerships for Cloud9 said.

The effort to capture consumers interested in esports to buy sneakers and apparel may be difficult for Puma and others, according to Matt Powell, a senior industry analyst for market researcher NPD Group.

“It’s really going to be interesting to see if anyone can monetize it. There is an opportunity for a connection. Players want to identify themselves as players. If this is how they choose to do it, there is a monetary opportunity. Whether the esports player is focused on that as much as the real sports player remains to be seen,” Powell said.

Continue Reading

eSports

ProSiebenSat.1 Extends Deal with Virtual Bundesliga

Niji Narayan

Published

on

ProSiebenSat.1 Extends Deal with Virtual Bundesliga
Photo Source: mutabor.de
Reading Time: 1 minute

 

German media company ProSiebenSat.1 has extended its rights agreement to the Virtual Bundesliga (VBL), the esports competition operated by the German Football League (DFL). ProSiebenSat.1 first secured rights to the VBL in December 2018 and has agreed to extend this commitment into the 2019–20 VBL Club Championship season.

Through the deal between the DFL and 7Sports, the umbrella brand for ProSiebenSat.1’s sports business, fans will be able to follow the 2019–20 VBL Club Championship live on free-to-air television channel ProSieben Maxx, www.eSports.com and virtual.bundesliga.com.

Meanwhile, 7Sports has increased its stake in eSports GSA from 50 to100%. The deal means the brand and domain of the news portal www.eSports.com will be transferred to 7Sports. The acquisition takes effect following the insolvency of 7Sports’ former joint venture partner eSports.com AG.

So far, 7Sports has focused on the German-speaking markets of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. However, through the complete takeover of eSports.com, 7Sports will build its international activities. Stefan Zant, managing director of 7Sports, will head the business of eSports GSA.

“We have already proven with the NFL that we can get sports out of a niche in Germany and make them popular. This is exactly the path we are now taking with esports. The first step is to explain the new sports trend to the public. We do this by means of editorial content on our wide-reaching TV programmes. We offer live broadcasts, show re-runs of key scenes and classify moves, tactics and strategies via our experts – just as the audience knows from major sports. The fact that we now own 100 per cent of eSports.com is a strong starting point for further growth in German-speaking and international markets,” Stefan Zant said.

Continue Reading

eSports

The Washington Post Releases “Launcher” Section Dedicated to Video Gaming and esports

Niji Narayan

Published

on

The Washington Post Releases “Launcher” Section Dedicated to Video Gaming and esports
Image Source: historic-newspapers.co.uk
Reading Time: 1 minute

 

The Washington Post has unveiled “Launcher,” a new section dedicated to video gaming, esports competitions and gaming culture. Launcher will feature insightful analysis into the people, companies, teams and trends that comprise an industry becoming more prevalent in society every day.

“Gaming has become deeply ingrained in our social fabric, significantly impacting industries across sports, tech, business and pop culture, and we are uniquely positioned to cover this burgeoning industry. With Launcher, a dedicated team will look at all aspects of gaming, appealing to the casual player and avid esports fan alike,” Emilio Garcia-Ruiz, managing editor of The Washington Post said.

Mike Hume, the editor of Launcher, will lead the staff. Gene Park and Elise Favis are the reporters and Mikhail Klimentov is the editor. Jhaan Elker and Joe Moore will join Launcher as video producer and art director respectively.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
NSoft

Global Gaming Industry Newsletter – Weekly Digest (sent every Wednesday)

Please select all the ways you would like to hear from European Gaming Media and Events:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here. Read more about European Gaming Media and Event's Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Subscribe to our News via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to our news and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Latest by author

Trending

Notice for AdBlock users

We are constantly showing banners about important news regarding events and product launches. Please turn AdBlock off in order to see these areas.