Esports: A New Opportunity for Sportscasting

Published July 19, 2018

Program Director Gus Ramsey on the potential of esports

Video games and competition have teamed up and transformed into a cultural phenomenon known as esports. The competitive video gaming industry is not only an entertaining and exciting platform for video game-lovers, but it is changing the way new generations are thinking about sports. In 2017, 385 million people tuned in worldwide to watch esports competitions, and the numbers are only growing. Esports fans engage with these competitions through live streams which provide viewers with the ability to make on-the-spot comments, and the esports community has a lot to say.

Gus Ramsey is a well-established veteran in the sportscasting world and has spent over two decades as producer at ESPN for Baseball Tonight and SportsCenter. Now, he is serving as full-time Program Director for the Dan Patrick School of Sportcasting at Full Sail University. Ramsey recognizes the dynamic nature of this industry and says, "The sports broadcasting world has really exploded in the last 25 years, and even more so now with the digital world involved." With esports, it's clear that the industry is headed into a revolutionary direction. This innovative degree program intends to give students a well-rounded, strong foundation in sportscasting, including journalism and multimedia storytelling, on-air presentation, and emerging sports media technologies. What students learn in this degree program will help them adapt to any sector of the ever-evolving media industry, which now includes esports.

Twitch and YouTube are the go-to places for esports viewers, but the number of digital video platforms that stream esports competitions and content is growing. Big name companies are investing in the esports industry after recognizing the scope of the revenue and audience. Twitch, owned by Amazon, is the most dominant platform in the industry. Facebook recently partnered with global esports company ESL to bring esports events, original content, and livestreaming to their platform. These streaming platforms provide viewers with real-time content and two-way participation through live commenting. This provides a unique opportunity for esports fans to self-publish their opinions during competitions.

More traditional media outlets, such as television, are jumping on the esports bandwagon as well. The Overwatch League, a professional esports league, claims to have had an average of 280,000 viewers-per-minute on their opening weekend, which by the numbers, beat Thursday Night Football. There is clearly a large market for esports but because it originated online, it is hard for businesses to pinpoint who the market is and where they are located. ESPN, the worldwide leader in sports, recognizes the growing popularity of esports and broadcasts the competitions on their network.

Esports broadcasting is accelerating into the mainstream and there is a need for proper sportscasters to educate viewers on gameplay action as well as producing enticing feature-driven content. The goal of the Dan Patrick School of Sportcasting degree program is to teach students interested in sportscasting the basic principles of broadcasting, through hands-on training with long-time industry experts in the field. From there, the students will develop the skills needed to succeed in whatever sector of sportscasting they are passionate about. Developing this core foundation will help those students interested in esports broadcasting just as much as those who are passionate about traditional sports. To learn more about the Dan Patrick School of Sportscasting and how to enroll, go to sports.fullsail.edu/about.

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