Viewership for eSports grew by almost 20%from 2016 to 2017. By 2021, research by Newzoo predicts the industry will boast an audience of over 306 million people. Fans buy tickets to eSports tournaments, watch players online, and tune into viewing platforms like YouTube and Twitch to watch live coverage of their favourite eSports athletes. Twitch alone has seen a 12% increase in the number of people who view live streams on their channel with 3.8 million monthly viewers this year. The increase in viewers and the brand marketing potential has contributed to a rapid revenue growth in eSports, especially in a Southeast Asian market that has seen significant foreign investments for startups.
The competitive video gaming industry has become a serious business over the past few years. As prize pools and viewership continue to grow year after year the industry is attracting more and more players. With new players coming in every day, the competition is getting saturated with talented professionals. How does one gain an edge in such a competitive world? Well, some would say to just practice as much as possible but I think we are getting to the point where that will not be enough.
Professional athletes are no strangers to the power of artificial intelligence. Whether it's the computer vision tools that help pitchers perfect their delivery or the machine learning platform that predicts when soccer players are at risk of injury, AI is empowering athletes to achieve previously unthinkable levels of performance. While spectator gaming events are not yet quite as popular as professional football or soccer, the esports industry is expected to generate $1.65 billion in U.S. revenues by 2020. With so much money at stake in one of the fastest-growing parts of the media landscape, it's only natural that elite gamers are looking for an edge wherever they can find one. Increasingly, this means that gamers are turning to state-of-the-art AI technology for in-depth gameplay analysis, granular predictions and personalized recommendations -- just like their pro sports peers.
Duran Parsi headed to Pepperdine's law school three years ago with a mission: By the end, he'd either practice law or commit to his fledgling e-sports business. With graduation near, Parsi might need to grant himself an extension. Collegiate Star League, the 30-person e-sports operation run from his Studio City apartment, has essentially become the NCAA for video games. The company organized tournaments that 30,000 college students in the U.S. and Canada participated in this school year. Sponsorship sales tripled from last school year, and enough cash remained for Parsi, 29, to live off his business instead of student loans.
The esports industry is expected to eclipse $1 billion soon, yet the U.S. amateur system is almost entirely unorganized. Super League Gaming is hoping to fill that void, with a little league for esports that welcomes gamers as young as 6. (Dec. Player Xmithie (pronounced "ex-myth-ie"), for example, practices Tuesday through Friday with games and tournaments on the weekend during the regular season and playoffs. Days start around 9:30 a.m., team meetings are around 10 a.m. with practices and scrimmages from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. His day typically ends around midnight. This is the lifestyle of a professional athlete.