Esports and the NBA Share Some Surprising Common Ground

On the surface, NBA basketball and pro esports don’t have much in common. One couldn’t be a more traditional sport and the other is completely digital.

But start peeling back the layers, and it’s apparent these sports share some overlap. Just think about the training required by pros, the huge money and audiences, and how the NBA has embraced video games.

Practice and Conditioning Spark Performance

Did you know some of the same strategies pro basketball players use to thrust their teams to the top of the NBA Championship odds mirror those of esports players?

Success in the NBA and pro esports begins with practice and players taking good care of themselves. It takes years of hard work, dedication, and a relentless commitment to improvement to reach the highest level in any sport.

Practice becomes even more important once players reach the professional ranks of their chosen sports. On average, members of esports juggernaut Team Liquid train for eight hours a day and at least 50 hours per week.

In the NBA, it’s a foregone conclusion that players need to be in peak physical condition. Each game is a scrappy 48-minute battle of constant movement and might. Strength, endurance, and quick decision-making are tested at epic levels.

Esports are also physically and mentally demanding—a factor which often goes unappreciated. Pro video gamers maintain laser focus for hours on end, take action on split-second decisions, and use blazing-fast body movements—especially with their arms and hands.

Proper nutrition and exercise are essential in both sports. Basketball certainly requires more brawn, but without an NBA-level of conditioning, esports players can be at risk of reaching physical and mental fatigue during competition.

Millions of Dollars, Millions of Viewers

NBA teams and the top esports franchises are worth serious megabucks.

While each NBA franchise is worth more than a billion dollars in 2019 (according to Forbes), the top Esports franchises are worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Just take the current valuations of Cloud9 ($310 million), SoloMid ($250 million), and Team Liquid ($200 million) as examples.

Sure, you might say that the average estimated value of an NBA franchise—at $1.652 billion—is still worth more than five Cloud9s. But bear in mind that the NBA has been around a lot longer than today’s top esports teams—about 60 or more years longer. Teams in competitive video gaming are gaining value at a rate that far exceeds that achieved by NBA teams during their younger years.

The day when esports teams top the $1 billion valuation line probably isn’t that far off. It will be interesting to watch as elite squads equal or surpass the value of NBA franchises and those in other traditional sports.

In some cases, the biggest esports tournaments already outgun the NBA in total viewership. An astonishing 74.3 million viewers tuned into the 2018 League of Legends World Championship on YouTube and Twitch. Only 15.14 million viewers watched that year’s NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the eventual champion Golden State Warriors.

To be fair, the viewership comparisons between the NBA and esports are apples and oranges. Esports’ numbers are counted by globally-accessible online streams, while the NBA’s come from traditional TV broadcasts. Nonetheless, esports enjoy a monstrous fanbase.

1600px Joel Embiid Ben Simmons 1024x658 - Esports and the NBA Share Some Surprising Common Ground
Joel Embiid (21) of the Philadelphia 76ers is a dedicated video gamer.

NBA Players are Gamers, Too

Finally, NBA stars are among the biggest—literally and figuratively—video game fanatics around.

We’re not afraid to name drop.

Philadelphia 76ers sharpshooter Joel Embiid admittedly games daily and has since his youth. Gordon Hayward of the Boston Celtics is a legit League of Legends threat who occasionally takes his game to Twitch. Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons is, by his own admission, obsessed with Fortnite.

Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors finds time to play Call of Duty when he’s not draining threes from way beyond the arc.

The NBA 2K basketball game series has been a perennial best-seller since debuting in 1999.

This list goes on, but you get the picture. It turns out the NBA and esports have a lot in common.


Featured Photo by Jakob Wells / CC BY 2.0

76ers Photo by Keith Allison / CC BY-SA 2.0

The post Esports and the NBA Share Some Surprising Common Ground appeared first on Esports News, Videos, Streams | ESTNN.

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