The growing maturity of competitive video gaming has been one of the more intriguing stories in entertainment in the 21st century, and now the burgeoning esports sector is attracting the attention of investors from across the world of sport.
Issue 98 of SportsPro looks at some of the places where sport meets esports, from the NBA 2K League, which has broken clear of the pack to become the first competition fully operated by a US major league, to the Overwatch League, the unique franchise-based competition which has brought the likes of Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft into the fold. We ask what it is about esports that is appealing to team owners, leagues and federations at this stage of its development.
Elsewhere in Issue 98
- The National Basketball Association (NBA) has developed a reputation as one of sport's most forward-thinking leagues, and two teams making a big impression this season are very much in that innovative mould. Harris Blitzer Sport and Entertainment chief executive Scott O'Neil and his colleagues explain how 'The Process' has finally delivered progress for the Phildelphia 76ers, and how the power of the right people and ideas has kept the franchise performing off the court. Meanwhile Steve Pagliuca, the co-owner of the title-chasing Boston Celtics and co-chairman of Bain Capital, lays out his thoughts on basketball and smart investment.
- Formula E has made remarkable progress since its launch in 2014 and now, the all-electric series has plans to move through the motorsport field. After signing a landmark deal with title sponsor ABB, founder Alejandro Agag tells Sam Carp about his long-term vision for the championship and his own career.
- 2018 is only a few weeks old but the patterns of the year are taking shape. SportsPro profiles ten of the people whose work in the months ahead will influence the major developments to come.
- It's a World Cup year, which would ordinarily be cause to celebrate for world soccer body Fifa. But with historical corruption trials ongoing, a reputation for dishonesty proving hard to shift, and a challenging commercial environment in World Cup host nation Russia, there are plenty of challenges in store for Fifa president Gianni Infantino.
- After a year of major inquiries into everything from corruption to bullying to failures in child protection, The Sports Consultancy has joined forces with private investigations firm Quest to form Global Sports Investigations, a new specialist body which aims to rethink the way inquiries are built for sport. Leading figures in the organisation, including former Metropolitan Police commissioner Lord Stevens, lay out the plan.
- There's also a look at the FEI's commercial strategy for eventing, the story of Scottish Rugby's enthralling rebound, Rakuten's big-money arrival in sports sponsorship, and more.
Issue 98 includes all of our regular columns and news features and is available now.