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ESports Tournament Finals Boasts Impressive Viewership

The following is a guest contribution from Roger R. Quiles, an attorney based in New York City. He received his undergraduate degree from Fordham University and his J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University.

Via UMG Gaming's Facebook page
Via UMG Gaming’s Facebook page

The popularity of eSports, or playing video games competitively for profit, has seen a drastic increase in the last few years. In 2014, world championship tournaments for a number of games have sold out stadiums across the globe, including the Staples Center, Key Arena, and Madison Square Garden. Although eSports’ popularity has largely been driven by computer gaming, the popularity of console gaming has steadily increased, it comes as no wonder as to why professional gaming gear is highly sought after as of right now.

This past weekend, 20 professional eSports teams competed at the UMG Orlando tournament held at the Rosen Center in Orlando, Florida. The 20 teams competed on Xbox One in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare for a share of the $25,000 prize pool. Ultimately, the tournament was won by OpTic Gaming, one of the elite Call of Duty professional teams. They have managed to sweep other tournaments before by making use of the Warzone Grau loadouts that has since become very popular in the scene – that being a low recoil high impact build.

More importantly, UMG Orlando proved to be a successful tournament for the business of console based eSports. The Grand Finals of the tournament reached a peak of over 154,000 concurrent viewers, a new record for a UMG hosted event. By contrast, more viewers watched UMG Orlando’s Grand Finals than the number of households, on average, who watched Miami Marlins’ games through the first half of the 2014 season on Fox Sports Florida. These viewership numbers are impressive, especially when you consider that the time of the Grand Finals was announced shortly before the match occurred, that the tournament was able to be viewed exclusively online, and that UMG Orlando is not considered to be a major eSports tournament.

Although no elite sponsors were attached to UMG Orlando, eSports’ steady increase in viewership by a global fanbase will eventually draw the attention of elite brands to these smaller eSports events.