Esports is growing in North America. And it’s growing fast.

According to Statista, by 2022, there are expected to be almost 300 million frequent viewers of Esports globally. It’s the fastest-growing competitive sport in the world.

Colleges like University of California-Irvine and Kent State University are offering scholarships for students who play. High schools are beginning to offer Esports leagues. Governing bodies now exist to develop framework for college-level gameplay and regulations for professional teams. Integrators are creating venues that support video game technology. And, after some back and forth, the sport has earned a spot in events leading up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. (The winner will take home half a million dollars.)

How Esports Works

Simply put, Esports (short for “electronic sports”) involves playing video games competitively in teams or individually – complete with tournament structures, teams, drafts, brand endorsements and cash prizes of up to $30 million.

Viewers can watch Esports online, streaming on a device via an app or browser through services like Twitch, Mixer, YouTube Gaming or Steam.

Esports can also be watched live. Just like the traditional sports fans we know, Esports fans show up at arenas in team jerseys, watch their favorite players compete in person and share their experiences online in real time.

Supporting Esports Technology

Because a video game’s performance hinges on the network infrastructure, connectivity makes or breaks Esports. Cabling infrastructure serves as the foundation for gameplay: It runs games, connects players to each other and immerses fans in the experience.

As Esports is taken more seriously, bigger investments are also on the horizon. Just like any other competitive sport, the equipment involved is crucial to the outcome. Obviously, Esports technology requires things like gaming desktops, controllers and keyboards, and headsets … but there’s another vital component to add to that list: cable and connectivity.

And Esports relies on more than just gaming equipment, too. Consider the AV technology built into the venues popping up across the country, such as Blizzard Entertainment Arena in California and Esports Stadium Arlington in Texas:

  • Equipment to stream gameplay in real time so onsite and remote viewers can follow along
  • Digital signage and large video displays that allow onsite fans to watch in real time, track stats and share opinions
  • Wireless access points and cell signal extension systems
  • Video resolutions of up to 4K UHD
  • Audio to carry sounds from the game into the audience
  • Adoption of augmented and virtual reality technology

The Importance of Connectivity

When it comes to supporting Esports, there are two things that matter to ensure the best performance possible:

  1. Bandwidth (the amount of data that can be transmitted at one time)
  2. Latency (how much time it takes data to get to its destination across the network)

In addition to providing a better player and viewer experience, cabling and connectivity solutions that offer higher bandwidth and lower latency can also provide players with a competitive edge. (If latency is too high, for example, then players will lose valuable time.)

High-definition, detailed gaming graphics – and the many players making moves simultaneously in an environment where milliseconds matter – mean that downtime, lag, buffers and delays can’t happen. (And don’t forget about the camera sources and surge of live streaming traffic from the audience, which both vie for a piece of the network.)

As with any other type of technology, the best gaming systems in the world won’t function and connect as expected if the infrastructure that supports them can’t keep up. To bring Esports technology to life, a combination of high-performance fiber and copper cabling systems are needed, along with reliable connectivity components.

Want to learn more about the cabling and connectivity required to support the technology inside today’s arenas, stadiums and venues? Contact our experts here!

Successfully integrate technology into the fan experience. Visit our Stadiums & Venues page to learn more.