Breitbart’s Schilling, Nate Church on Esports: ‘The Next NFL’
Breitbart Tech’s gaming expert Nate Church joined Curt Schilling, himself a long-time gamer, on Schilling’s show Whatever It Takes to discuss the growing phenomenon of eSports, with its huge presence in Asia and rapid growth in the United States.
Schilling started off the conversation by mentioning that New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft had purchased the Boston team for the Blizzard’s new Overwatch league for the price of $20 million, which he thought was “very cool,” even though the league has yet to actually come into existence. “If that tells you anything, it’s that this is going to be huge.” Church agreed, pointing out that this is proof of eSports “creeping towards legitimacy” in the United States, as even though many people don’t understand that eSports even exists, “these deals are happening that are bigger and bigger and bigger.”
Schilling was keen to highlight just how popular eSports is in Asia, noting that “fifty, sixty, one hundred thousand seat stadiums” are being sold out for people to watch competitive eSports in. Church said that “the competitive aspect has already really eclipsed traditional sports” in this region; “in places like South Korea and China, they’ve already began to treat eSports players like celebrities.”
The rapid growth was keenly expressed by Church, who said that the viewership for eSports is approaching traditional sports “so quickly that even in the next 3 or 4 years they expect them to be neck and neck,” noting how his young children are already “fascinated” with them, amusing Schilling who exclaimed that anyone doubtful of this rise only needed to “look at Twitch,” where streamers have “millions of viewers tuning in daily” and so they are “making enormous amounts of money just from advertising.”
In an interesting turn, Schilling revealed that his oldest son is actually “in the top one half of one percent of players in the world” for Overwatch, and he has personal connections within the industry. Schilling brought up a story of an eight-man team, run by a husband and wife duo, who all lived in this “beautiful home” in Arizona, training together for the games. Church explained that this arose from the old days of eSports, where in order to simply pay the rent, teams were forced to live together, but that this was now just part of the “growing subculture” around eSports.
Church was asked by Schilling about how to get into the business. Church said that currently, it’s “not particularly easy” to get in from the outside, as players usually are just picked up by teams noticing people rise up the leaderboards, but that now, Overwatch might turn to doing a “scouting report, just like traditional sports” to help find players. He compared the current situation to if you had “open tryouts in the NFL.” Schilling picked up on the scouting, highlighting that there is “really an enormous amount of opportunity… think about all the professional services that surround a professional league… it’s going to be an enormous generating model, a new NFL!”