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How to Watch Esports From Anywhere

2023-10-14 02:27
2023 lacks jet packs and flying cars, but one childhood fantasy for many of us
How to Watch Esports From Anywhere

2023 lacks jet packs and flying cars, but one childhood fantasy for many of us has became a reality: esports. Around the world, people are paid to play video games, and the heated money chase between pro gamers produces highly entertaining viewing experiences. Competitive, professional video gaming is filled with so much drama and so many memorable moments that it's one of the best overall sporting events for sheer spectacle and ridiculousness. And, considering the faces and heels, cool folks and obnoxious brats, esports may be the best reality TV, too. What are the best ways to watch this amazing spectacle? We'll explain. But first, let's define our terms.

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What Are Esports, Anyway?

Esports, if you're unaware, is the title given to the video game industry's competitive player arm. That term doesn't refer to a few friends getting together on the weekend to down beers and pizza while engaging in smack talk-filled FIFA or Madden NFL sessions. Instead, esports flames the competitive fires by adding tournament structures and cash prizes.

Money is generated from players paying tournament entrance fees or purchasing downloadable content and by event sponsorship by large companies. Sometimes the prize money is a mix of both. Whatever cash source, the pots attract players, and the most talented and dedicated people rise to the top, putting on tense, terrific matches. Some scenes adhere to a governing body (the Electronic Sports League, commonly referred to as ESL) for drug testing. There are even professional teams, complete with training camps.

Thankfully, watching esports is not a difficult task, as there are many esports-friendly games played on the local, regional, national, and international levels. Here's how to watch esports.

(Credit: Twitch)

1. Watch Esports Online

Streaming esports via your desktop, laptop, smartphone, or tablet is, without question, one of the most convenient ways to view competitive video game playing. All you need is an internet connection and an app or browser to watch live matches in bed, at work, on your commute, or during a cross-country flight.

Here's how to check out a stream: If you're using a web browser, just point it toward Twitch, YouTube, or any other video game live streaming service. If apps are more to your liking, many services offer corresponding free clients for Android and iOS.

Please note that not all streams featured in these apps and websites are esports related; most streams simply feature people broadcasting their play-throughs and interacting with their viewers. Fortunately, cutting through the muck is relatively simple. You should look for official game channels as they feature high-profile, big-pot matchups. You'll often find archived matches there, too, so you can catch contests after they initially aired.

(Credit: Samsung)

2. Watch Esports on TV

Esports on television is a relatively new occurrence—for the United States. Years ago, StarCraft received broadcast love in Asia, but video games hitting American airwaves didn't really become a serious thing until the Disney-owned ESPN 2 partnered with Evolution Championship Series to air the Street Fighter V Grand Finals in conjunction with Twitch streaming it online.

Likewise, TBS found success airing Eleague's Street Fighter V Invitational round-robin tournament, as well as the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Premier and Injustice 2 World Championship. Hopefully, this trend continues. If you don't have cable, our Best Live TV Streaming Services roundup is a good place to final alternative methods to watch the contests.

(Credit: ESL)

3. Watch Esports in Person

The "e" in "esports" could lead you to believe that the only way to watch the contests is via electronic means, but that's not the case. Esports has always had an "analog," real-world component, dating back to LAN parties and money bets in dank, smoke-filled arcades.

For better or for worse, LAN parties and arcades are things of the past. Nowadays, the two best methods to enjoy live esports is to visit community-run tournaments, such as East Coast Throwdown or Chinatown Beatdown, or massive stadium-filling events, such as the Evolution Championship Series (newly acquired by Sony). In fact, dedicated esports venues have popped up around the country in recent years, such as Blizzard Arena and Eleague Esports Arena. A few traditional sports venues, such as New York's Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden, host esports events, too. You must pay for tickets as you would for any other sporting events, but that's the literal cost of cheering on your favorite player or team with thousands of other rabid fans.

Of course, many of the biggest recent esports tournaments have been indefinitely postponed or outright cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that trend may finally be shifting. For example, Evo has returned to being a fully live Last Vegas show. Recent big video game sequels, such as Overwatch 2 and Street Fighter 6, should draw large audiences. However, don't be surprised if in-person rules at esports competitions remain somewhat inconsistent into the future.

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