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Our definition of sports will change as video and real-life play converge.

Creative Destruction Matrix

Disruption

The Celebrity Gamer
As video games soar in popularity, gamers themselves are becoming stars and gathering fans by the tens of thousands. Prize money and viewership for game tournaments have grown astronomically in recent years. Just this year, the Season 4 Finals of League of Legends sold out 40,000 seats in the Seoul World Cup Stadium — Asia’s largest soccer stadium. As e-sports increase in popularity and realism, celebrity gamers will challenge physical sports stars for fans’ adulation and screen time.

Opportunity

The best play for league franchises: Get closer to the gamer community. Gamers play as their favorite athletes, and athletes become fans of the best gamers — even to the point of recruiting top players to use their avatars. By embracing the gaming experience, pro sports leagues stand to foster more allegiance to their league, team, and players.

Disruption

Competition for the Most Finite Resource: Time
According to recent figures by the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board), 67% of households play video games, and the average gamer is 34 years old. With Nielsen reporting that the biggest segment of sports viewers are essentially the same demographic, video games could chip away at the traditional sports revenue stream.

Opportunity

Despite increasing time spent on video games, gamer households are more tuned into sports on TV than ever. In what appears to be a virtuous cycle, traditional sports are actually benefiting from the growing sports game market. The large American turnout for last summer’s World Cup has been partly attributed to popularity driven by the Electronic Arts’ FIFA game franchise.

Disruption

Fans Want to Control the Action
Traditional sports viewership may lose its pull as a generation raised on gaming seeks more interactive entertainment. As metrics and simulation modeling become more available to the public, fans will increasingly want to run the teams themselves.

Opportunity

Real-world leagues should accelerate integration with their fantasy sports alter egos. TV viewership among fantasy fans is double that of non-fantasy fans, making it a perfect complement to TV broadcast. The now multibillion dollar industry has grown by 10 million fans since 2010, reaching an estimated audience of 41 million in North America. Companies like FanDuel are lowering the time and money investment for fantasy, making it easier for casual fans to participate and increasing overall engagement with their sport.

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