Amazon University Esport Series Expanding
Amazon University is a colligate Esports partnership between GGTech, the NUEL, and PG Esports, and Amazon. Inc. Together, the companies have created an Esports competition series with more than 200 teams across universities in the United Kingdom, Spain, and Italy.
Teams compete in Riot Games’ League of Legends and Teamfight Tactics, as well as Supercell’s Clash Royale. Amazon University Esports is introducing additional teams this upcoming season in France and Germany, along with an expanded slate of tournaments and events.
A team is formed at a participating university by students. Once created, the team will form sub squads to compete in all the different games offered. Teams then register for tournament events which are run from private servers. There is no travel involved, and students can compete right from their dorm rooms. The ease of competing in tournaments and viewing has opened up the opportunity for anyone across the world to enjoy Esports. The Winter Split tournament recorded over 5 million viewers across Italy, Spain, and the UK.
The UK’s Spring season of Amazon University Esports is set to conclude on April 1. The final tournament will be a live broadcast streamed over on Twitch. This particular competition saw 3,000 students from 91 universities compete across popular games such as CS:GO, Valorant, and League of Legends last year.
American universities are following suit; the National Association of Collegiate Esports or NACE is North American Esports’ governing body. According to their website, NACE has 170 member schools, 5,000+ student-athletes, and over $16 million in scholarships.
Esports and mobile gaming have gone from a small niche community to one of the fastest-growing industries in the past year. Big thanks in part to the live sports’ shut down in March of 2020 and the expanding investment into streaming platforms. The growth of Esports has caught the eye of all the major players in the tech world. Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, and Amazon all have their own gaming dedicated platform in their social media applications.
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The future of Esports will largely be played on mobile phones. A mobile device’s advantage over a traditional console or PC is the availability to find reliable connections, less equipment needed, and lowered entry cost to compete. The mobile gaming segment is set to make up 45% of the total global games market this year. China has one of the most significant mobile Esports scenes in the world and continues to grow.
Competitive video gamers continue to populate the internet and attract huge numbers of subscribers. Total Esports viewership is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 9% between 2019 and 2023. This increase would bring the total viewership number of all Esports streams up from 454 million in 2019 to 646 million in 2023. According to Nielson, the 2020 Super Bowl was watched by 91 million viewers to put these numbers into perspective.
As a result, global investors, brands, media outlets, and even professional sports leagues are pouring investments into individual gamers and tournaments. The number of private equity firms invested in Esports doubled in 2018, going from 34 in 2017 to 68, per Deloitte. The investments have totaled a staggering $4.5 billion since 2018. These investments are distributed to players, leagues, tournament operators, and digital broadcasts.
Amazon has bet big on Esports since acquiring Twitch in 2016 for over $980 million. The focus on growing the sport through sponsorship has allowed gamers to make a living and, for the best, a very lavish life. North American Esports spending is expected to reach over $300 million in North America and $138 in Europe.