When you think about competitive sports, football, soccer, basketball, and baseball are just a few of the games that come to mind; video games are probably the last thing you think of.

But, in the 21st century, video gaming has entered the ring of competitive sports, and it’s really become the next big thing.

Complete with professional players and competitions, electronic sports (or eSports, as it’s more commonly referred to) is the latest craze in the world of competitive sports.

In fact, it’s so big that there’s been an unprecedented amount of wagers placed on video gaming in recent years. In fact, eSport bids are outweighing the bids placed on more traditional games on the best UK betting companies, like openodds.com a definite sign of the huge uptick in popularity of professional video gaming. The popularity doesn’t show any signs of stopping, either!

What’s eSports all about? Keep on reading to learn more about the sport that has taken the world by storm.

What is eSports?

eSports are organized, professional video gaming competitions; it’s definitely not what you remember doing when you were a kid playing the NES, Wii, or PlayStation in your parents living room.

The competitions can range from small matches in local arenas to sod out tournaments in massive arenas.

eSports is so big that it’s anticipated that nearly 428 million people will be watching professional video gaming events worldwide by the end of 2019 and the approximate value is expected to be upwards of $1 billion. Those are pretty impressive numbers.

A Brief History of eSports

It’s assumed that eSports only recently game onto the scene, but that’s not really the case. The first professional video gaming event actually occurred in 1972 when students at Stamford University competed against one another in the game Spacewar in an attempt to win a Rolling Stone magazine subscription.

There were unofficial gaming tournaments in the 1980s and 1990s, too. As new games and systems were introduced, interest in competitive playing grew, and by 1997, the first-ever video gaming team – the Cyberathlete Professional League – was organized.

As gaming continued to grow and became more normalized, fast forward to the 21st century, and modern-day professional video gaming became a commonplace and widely accepted form of competitive sports.

Though eSports doesn’t focus on physical strength and endurance, it does require a great deal of skill, mental stamina, and sheer talent; hence why it’s considered an official “sport”.

Who’s Playing eSports?

While it may be hard to equate eSports players with the likes of professional athletes who play for the NFL, MLB, or NBA, professional video gamers can be likened to these top-rate athletes.

Organizers of eSport leagues even host drafts, during which they pick the best players with the highest stats and the most promise.

And, believe it or not, academic institutions are now offering varsity-level eSports programs that are recognized by the National Association of Collegiate eSports, or NACE.

Players aren’t only competing for the chance to win fame and glory; they’re playing for real money, with multi-million dollar payouts.

Gambling and eSports

There’s tons of money to be made in eSports, and not just for players, organizers, and sponsors; for those who like to dabble with Lady Luck, too! A multitude of betting sites now offer spectators the opportunity to bet on eSports events, just like they would for more traditional sports.

In fact, gambling in eSports has risen dramatically in recent years, even outweighing more traditional sports like golf and soccer. If you know who to place your bets on and how to wager, eSports gambling can be extremely lucrative.

***Sponsored by openodds***

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