With 2016 coming to a close, I can’t help but look back at the past year of esports, particularly while I was at the Boston Major this past weekend. We’ve had a lot of growth and we’ve come a long way. One of the biggest aspects of esports that has grown in the past year is live events. I was at the Boston Major this past weekend and it dawned on me that one underlooked aspect of esports is the audience in the actual space where the event is taking place.
I’m a typical Esports fan but I also happen to love American football. I’ve traveled across the US to view the games and I’m always surprised at the reception of the opposing teams on game day. I’ve attended games where the fans have been heckled or harassed simply because they support the other team. This is not the case at any of the live esports events I’ve attended. To my delight, fans actually actively engage in conversation with one other regardless of their team preference. The love of a mutual game seems to override the desire to argue over which team has the better jungler, at least in line for popcorn.
There are distinct reasons as to why companies hire security. One of the most apparent is crowd control. There are plenty of examples of crowds rioting or getting out of control simply because their team lost. During the Boston Major finals, I sat with fans who were clearly OG supporters and yet would cheer louder than Ad Finem fans when Ad Finem made a good play. Ad Finem having support from OG fans is the reason why I feel that live events have grown over the past year – the crowd cheered regardless of who executed the win. No fights, no riots, no issues.
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As we grow
In 2015, it was estimated that twenty percent of players purchased a ticket to view a live event. That’s a lot of fans who are traveling to see their favorite team compete for glory. As we continue to grow and the events get larger, we need to maintain our etiquette. This unwritten standard that we have as a community must continue if we are to remain as accepting and supportive as we are now. While we might be trolls and memers online, let’s remain positive and accepting of all players and fans.