Explaining the game itself
According to a report published by the BBC, electronic sports (esports) is growing at a rapid rate and it is expected to attract more than 600 million and generate over £1bn revenue (bbc.com, 2017). From the analysis of the past reports, it is evident that electronic sports, particularly League of Legends (LoL), is becoming a competitive and organized gaming system that will attract millions of online and live audience. According the Peter Warman, Newzoo’s sports analysts, esports has the ability of being among the top five sports in the world, having generated £4bn in revenue and attracting approximately 320 million individuals across the world (bbc.com, 2017). Brightman (2014) says that Riot Games entered into a deal to promote Game of Thrones within LoL, a factor that will increase the popularity of this esports.
LoL is a competitive video game and is among one of the fastest –growing esports in the U.S., in an industry that attracts over 194 million players and rakes over $22 billion per year (Apstein, 2015). The streaming-video site, Twitch.tv, has the highest game feeds of LoL and the online site has more traffic compared to WWE.com, ESPN.com, and MLB.com combined. Davis (2018) argues that Riot Games has a player count of more than 100 million LoL players per month, a factor that shows that it can promote the game in small towns, particularly among young and college-aged players. ULoL tournament is hosted by Riot and the developer manages both online and live tournaments. Schools that are registered under Collegiate Star League (CSta) are categorized under five confrences, including East, West, North, South, and Big Ten.
Challenges in Small Towns
Despite the numerous opportunities that LoL faces in expanding across the country, studies have shown that there are several challenges that the esport faces, especially when it comes to expanding in small towns. For instance, online games are often viewed as a potential downfall in small towns, a factor that makes most parents to discourage their children from participating in these games. For instance, Liu (2017) says that in China, LoL and other esports were regarded as having negative impacts on the development of children. However, the Ministry of Education came up with a new strategy of promoting esport and introduced this game in schools by making it part of the education system. Another problem of expanding into small town is the presence of huge competition from already established firms as well as players (Copadineanu, 2014). This implies that LoL will have to incur higher costs in order to promote the game in smaller towns.
Another major challenge is that people who are new to the LoL may have a difficult time understanding the ranking system and being accustomed to playing the game. This is because LoL has numerous tiers as well as divisions that may be difficult to understand and be accepted by people residing in small towns (Smurfs, 2016). Some of the isssues that can appear challenging include ways of reaching to the highest tier, means of ranking people, and ways of playing LoL competitively. Deesing (2016) also says that players in small towns can find it difficult climbing up and joining the top LoL pros and may not quickly adopt to the game. Lack of enough gaming materials in small towns can also act as an obstacle to the expansion of LoL. Although LoL is efficient, it is evident that the game is yet to grow enough and spread to colleges and small towns. It has also been established that LoL has a cluttered system of conferences and a poor communication system that lacks accountability. This makes it difficult to market and spread the game when it is being marketed in small towns.
A number of ways have been proposed to increase the popularity of electronic games, particularly LoL, in small towns. The most important one is marketing and developing programs that enable the game to spread to wide areas (Ketain, 2012). One of the opportunities that LOL has is that it is free and has a low entry barrier, it is familiar and individuals who have played DoTa can learn LoL, and it is competitive and enables people to keep on playing. This is an advantage that can be utilized by the company to spread the game. Brighton (2014) says that another attractive opportunity that LoL has is to enter into promotional deals with other gaming agencies to ensure that the esport spreads to other new markets. The deal with promoters such as Lionsgate can be collaborated with additional marketing agencies that will enable the sport to become popular among new players. The only challenge is that LoL may have difficult levels that are not clearly understood by new players (Lu, 2017). This mostly applies to players who are not well conversant with the new technologies that are involved in esports.
Apstein, S. (2015). E-sports nation: How competitive gaming became a flourishing sport. Retrieved from https://www.si.com/more-sports/2015/10/29/esports-competitive-video-gaming
bbc.com. (2017). Esports ‘set for £1bn revenue and 600 million audiences by 2020’. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/sport/39119995
Brightman, J. (2014). Riot lands Game of Thrones promotion in League of Legends. Retrieved from https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2014-03-24-riot-lands-game-of-thrones-promotion-in-league-of-legends
Copadineanu, D. (2014). E-sports Cluj: How to improve the activities of an e-sports organization https://www.theseus.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/79959/Copadineanu_Dragos.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
Davis, R. 2018. Opinion: Riot Games Needs to Promote College League of Legends Scene More. Retrieved from http://www.dbltap.com/posts/6014632-opinion-riot-games-needs-to-promote-college-league-of-legends-scene-more
Deesing, J. (2016). The League Ranked System Explained. Retrieved from https://www.redbull.com/us-en/the-league-ranked-system-explained
Kitain, L. (2012). What marketing strategy does Riot Games use to promote League of Legends? Retrieved from https://www.quora.com/What-marketing-strategy-does-Riot-Games-use-to-promote-League-of-Legends
Liu, C. (2017). E-sports: How China’s video gamers went from couch to classroom to career. Retrieved from http://www.scmp.com/week-asia/business/article/2122503/e-sports-how-chinas-video-gamers-went-couch-classroom-career
Lu, Z. (2017). From E-Heroin to E-Sports: The Development of Competitive Gaming in China. International Journal of the History of Sport, 33:18, 2186-2206
Smurfs, L. (2016). The League of Legends Ranked System Explained. Retrieved from https://www.lol-smurfs.com/blog/ranked-system-explained/
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