The Viral Influence
The spectator audience for vSports is not on Twitch live streams, it’s on YouTube. Roughly speaking, every million views earns a YouTube creator around $3,300. Creative millennials have developed huge audiences for their videos where they open player packs, play their favorite vSports game, and make jokes. They have become so famous that pro franchises are opening their doors to these celebrities. Creator networks like Machinima Inc. and Broadband.TV serve to empower and popularize these online celebrities.
Savvy pro teams are taking it a step further, hiring vSports and eSports stars to represent them online:
- German club VFL WOLFSBURG has signed three FIFA pros. 22-year-old Englishman David Bytheway has been playing FIFA professionally since he was 17.
- Sean “Dragonn” Allen now represents WEST HAM UNITED at FIFA tournaments.
- PRO FRANCHISES are crossing the battlefield to have eSports teams wearing their jerseys. Besiktas, Spanish basketball team Saski Baskonia and Valencia have all signed gamers. Schalke 04 has bought a franchise, and Manchester United are rumored to be bidding for Fnatic’s Overwatch team.
The first crossover from real sports to vSports happened earlier this year, when Brazilian pro soccer player Wendell Lira, winner of FIFA’s 2015 goal of the year award (on the field), retired at age 27 to play FIFA (the vSport) professionally.