A Look at eSports Championships
The Rise of eSports: Championship Frenzy
The term "eSports" may be relatively new, but with the popularity of championships for games like DOTA 2 and League of Legends, MOBA players are the new video game megastars. Multiplayer online battle arena, or "MOBA" games, have become the Formula 1 class of multiplayer games. Here are some of the most popular MOBAs and their followings.
League of Legends
While not the first MOBA, LOL is definitely the biggest in terms of both player and fan bases. With a whopping 66% of the MOBA market playing LOL, it dominates the scene. Tickets to the yearly championships can cost up to $1,000 from scalpers. The fans of LOL are rabid and buy a lot of championship merchandise. They also follow their favorite teams/players with the devotion of an NFL fantasy league guru.
The successor to the granddaddy of MOBAs, DOTA, this game still generates a lot of interest and is typically played by a bit older players than the teen-dominated LOL. While their championship is covered by video game streaming site Twitch, their broadcast team and production is not nearly as slick as the LOL crew. Still, their fans are loyal, knowledgeable, and can be just as frenzied about championships as their LOL counterparts.
Legends of the Storm
Created by Blizzard, the maker of such legendary games as World of Warcraft, Diablo, and Starcraft, Legends uses characters from the company's game as combatants. Battle.net is the server site where Legends is played, and the game is set up quite well and has some nuances that are unique to MOBAs. While the championship for Legends is not on par with LOL, Blizzard is a top-notch company that will likely grow their MOBA in the coming years.
As the popularity of MOBAs grew, tech companies have begun sponsoring top-flight teams. Intel Extreme is one of the teams of note. The evolution and popularity of MOBAs is huge in Korea, so it is no surprise that tech sponsorship is big there. Team sponsorship will only grow, as each company wants to be associated with winners.
MOBAs are huge and have drawn the video game community together like no other genre. Their championships are pulling in crowds and viewers at such an increasing rate, it is only a matter of time before they begin appearing on major TV networks.