A long way to go?
Esports is a rapidly-growing industry, with viewership soon to challenge that of traditional sports, and the historic esports medal events happening later this year at the 2019 SEA Games in the Philippines.
However, esports remains a relatively young industry compared to traditional sports like football/soccer, which has been regulated for at least a hundred years. According to research conducted by the Asian Electronic Sports Federation (AESF), there are several areas in which esports can learn from traditional sports, including:
Player-Scouting And Youth Development
Esports talent scouts already have the advantage of not having to be physically present in order to assess potential athletes. However, they can improve even more by employing the “moneyball” approach often used in traditional sports, which is to specifically search for players who fit specific squad roles.
Talent Management And Career Prospects
Pro esports athletes peak in their late teens, reaching retirement phase by the age of 25. By ensuring the implementation of proper support systems to maintain physical and mental health (like in traditional sports), former pro players can remain relevant after their career ends by delving into other aspects of the esports industry.
These include coaching, management, or even broadcasting/streaming; being commentators, observers, or even esports journalists are viable career paths after you’re past your prime.
Emphasis in Creating World Class Athletes Ahead of Hosting Tourneys
A lot of countries make the mistake of hosting world-class sporting events but failing to develop the sport involved beforehand. For example, Malaysia hosted the Dota 2 KL Major in November 2018. However, the state of local esports has not improved much since.
This has led to problems and recent controversies like pro players not receiving compensation or proper support (financial, transportation, lodgings, etc.) and more. Esports can only thrive if the responsible parties channel the funds to grassroots and community development.
How else do you think esports can improve if they take a few steps from traditional sports like football and basketball? Must we do more than just events to thrive? Let us know!