Over the last 18 months or so, we’ve seen Twitch really open up more to traditional sports content. More athletes are streaming on the platform than ever before, there’s a whole category dedicated to sports, and workout streams are becoming more and more common. Twitch even held its own powerlifting competition.
This embrace of traditional sports reached a new height last week when the platform landed a deal to have popular Brazilian streamer Gaules co-stream NBA matches for a Brazilian audience. Reporting on this news, Rod “Slasher” Breslau tweeted out the witty line “sports, the next esport.”
Indeed, many established sports are looking to esports to learn how they can engage with a younger audience increasingly disconnected from traditional media. While a clever meme, the line drives home the point that in order to stay relevant, sports leagues have to embrace the strategies that are driving esports growth.
However, there’s another angle by which I think Slasher may be more right than even he intended. Even 20 years from now, when Wild Rift has replaced football as the world’s leading sports competition, there will always be room and a demand for athletic competition. American football and baseball may be approaching the end of their time in the spotlight, but we’ll always enjoy watching athletes at the peak of physical conditioning doing things we could never do.
Some of the established sports have likely been too slow to adapt to survive the cultural shift accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, but their