Esports, otherwise known as electronic sports, are competitions revolving around video games. This field of competition began with Atari’s 1980 “Space Invader Championship” and is growing quickly for its relatively young age, so much so that Bethel has taken an interest in forming their own competitive esports team. As with any new endeavor, this hasn’t been without challenges.
The growth of esports is most accurately put on display through numbers; Atari’s original competition brought in an estimated 10,000 competitors. One year later, in 1981, Atari held its second esports competition and, with promotions, they once again expected upwards of 10,000 competitors to participate but only brought in 138 instead. However, these humble and tumultuous beginnings led to one of the fastest-growing phenomena of the modern-day. By 2018, the League of Legends Mid-Season Invitation viewer count reached around 67 million individual spectators; with a 6700 times increase in viewership, the quickly growing label is far from unstable.
Bethel’s formation of an Esports team, on the other hand, may still be. Apart from the information in the original announcement – this being that we’ll be based in the renovated Century Center, starting with teams in League of Legends, Rocket League and Overwatch – little else is known. As of the call-out meeting on Feb. 25, the team lacks a coach and, as such, lacks any real structure. Though proper try-outs were planned for early April, the exact timeline is currently uncertain.
Bethel may be “dipping its toes” in the proverbial waters of this endeavor, but with no coach and no publicly announced plans for moving forward, the team has moved one step forward and two steps back.