That can’t be true, can it? The answer is astonishingly YES, and also a resounding NO. I know what you’re thinking, that’s a horrible way to answer a question. You’re right! But then again, you’re wrong and I’ll show you why.
Let’s start by looking at each sporting event’s pinnacle game or series and judge them based on the viewership. First up is America’s past time, an oldie but a goodie: Baseball. This year’s series was incredible and the public knew it. Viewership on game 7 was up 66% from last year. This was in part due to the 108-year drought of our beloved Cubs, all because of the curse of the billy goat. The Cubs have waited, they’ve failed, and they’ve even been ruined by one unlucky Cubs fan that destroyed his entire life catching one foul ball. This gave 40 million Americans a reason to tune in.
40 million, not too shabby. That’s about the population of Uganda. Moving forward, let’s see how this stacks up to our concussion-rattled brethren. Don’t like that one, OK? Starting over, let’s see how the grid iron gang stack’s up. Yeah, I thought you’d like that one. We all know the Super Bowl is where companies spend all of their hard earned money for thirty seconds of glory. That sometimes brilliant moment cost savvy marketers $5 million. The real question, is the viewership worth it? The survey says YES! Our beloved Super Bowl comes in with 111.8 million viewers.
That’s kind of insane when you remember that the population of Japan is about 126 million. Let’s put that ball in the metal circle without hitting the back board…. Boom a transition swish. I’m talking basketball, let’s see how our good buddy the NBA is doing? Honestly, it’s doing great with steady growth on average season viewership, and a solid increase of 17% viewership during game 7 of the championships. Some people think that basketball will continue this pattern of growth until it overtakes the other traditional sports since baseball is played at a snail’s pace and football is shrouded with controversy. Sorry rest of the world, I’m not jumping down the soccer rabbit hole. Without final adieu, Game 7 of the NBA championship garnered 30 million viewers.
Don’t worry, I’m not doing a country comparison again, this comparison will be presidential; Donald Trump’s Inauguration Speech, which also brought in 30 million viewers. From one man of the hour to the next, it’s time e sports (Crowd Cheering) League of Legends specifically. League is by far the most viewed e sport today, so their numbers do not represent the industry. Huzzah for unbiased journalism, take that Fox news! The world’s championship in League saw a rise of about 10 percent in viewership from last year, bringing this year’s number in at $43 million. This carries League into second place in overall “sports” viewership.
I know, right. But let’s not blow this out of proportion. When you look at viewer numbers for games/ matches in the regular season, e sports falls short. Plus, there’s way more money in traditional sports for the players and the teams. Minimum salary for League Championship Series is $12,500 a season (for 3 months) and this doesn’t include endorsements or streaming. While the minimum salary for baseball is $507,500, in football it’s $450,000, and basketball’s minimum is $874,636. Dang Basketball! On that note I’ll leave you with a quote that seems even more relevant today.
“I wish I was a little bit taller
I wish I was a baller
I wish I had a girl who looked good, I would call her
I wish I had a rabbit in a hat with a bat
And a six four Impala” – Skee Lo
Flickr / Photo by artubr.