If someone had told you perhaps a decade or two ago about the possibility of there being a booming market in audiences watching other people playing video games, it’s likely you wouldn’t have believed them. Now, in 2022, not only is the eSports market a vibrant one, it’s growing at a rate far beyond even the most ardent fans could have predicted.
Fueled by a youthful audience and broadcasters who are keen to spread the word across as many demographics as possible, eSports is now a billion-dollar industry, and while the market involves gaming across many fields from fantasy to action and beat em ups, the sporting area is also going strong, not least due to the irrepressible soccer simulation FIFA.
FIFA, run by EA Sports and tied in with the world’s foremost soccer governing body, is enjoyed by tens of millions worldwide and is watched avidly in the eSports world and is also a market in which a great deal of betting also takes place.
One sport that is yet to make a real splash in both the gaming world and eSports, in particular, is cricket. Though the sport is enjoyed around the globe, most prominently in former British territories, efforts to simulate the game into a popular gaming entity have been problematic, to say the least.
Cricket has enjoyed something of rejuvenation as a result of the creation of shorter forms of the game, and that’s led to a greater interest in online betting tips for cricket and more sponsorship money rolling in as well as increased viewing figures both at stadiums or watching via a myriad of channels broadcasting the games.
Efforts to bring the game to a younger market have also been helped by the newer forms of the game, from T20 to new initiatives like The Hundred.
The key to becoming a relevant eSports market might be the potential of helping cricket, as a whole, break into the US market. Currently, it’s not a sport that is well known to most Americans and is played by even less.
There is a common complaint, even in countries where cricket is actually widespread, that those who run the sport are still some way behind the curve and very much against sustained changes that might help the sport grow into new markets.
In relation to attempts to make and market a successful cricket video game, there hasn’t been all that much to celebrate. The ICC (International Cricket Council) previously had an agreement in place with EA Sports, but the partnership came to an abrupt end in 2007.
This is a significant obstacle given that EA is pretty much the home of quality sports simulations and a number of the games made by the company are prominent in the eSports world.
Cricket Australia has sought to improve matters by working with Big Ant Studios to release Cricket ‘19, which proved a substantial success. The latest installment of the gaming series, Cricket ‘22, has taken the game to new heights.
Right now, there are probably too many stumbling blocks that are holding back the possibility of cricket being a significant eSports market, but if the overall growth of the sport continues and the viewership continues to improve in the younger demographics, then it may be a plausible possibility in the future.