Calling for an E-Sports Bar
It’s been more than a year since I first got access to the Starcraft II beta and I have pretty much stopped playing long ago. What hasn’t stopped is my interest in watching televised matches. While I can’t really afford the time needed to watch each and every game in every major league, I still maintain subscriptions to the GSL and NASL as well as following the TSL through YouTube. I would say that I spend much more time watching Starcraft II matches than the normal (real-world) sports fan spends watching his or her sport. The thing is though, that I do most of that watching alone or with a friend. Wouldn’t it be cool if I could go out to a bar and watch e-sports on the big screen with friends and fellow fans over a beer or three?
I get that Starcraft II (and e-sports in general) doesn’t have as big of an audience as the more prominent physical sports, but I don’t see why larger cities couldn’t support an e-sports bar. (And Starcraft II alone is already arguably more popular than certain televised niche sports.) Not only could you go there and watch your favourite game played (live) by professionals, you could socialize with like-minded individuals at the same time. Keep in mind that the audience for games is no longer 15 year old on average but rather in their mid to late twenties. We actually like going out sometimes.
Sure, such a bar might not be a prime spot to pick up girls due to the male dominance in the field. Most physical sports aren’t much different in that manner though, and I would wager that e-sports fans are a more civilized sort than your average football or soccer fan. Who knows, a less hostile atmosphere might just lead to increase in interested females as well.
So how would such a bar work? The easiest implementation would be to simply put up screens showing televised matches in a regular bar, just like physical sports are shown in many bars around the world these days. But things don’t have to stop there. It has already become rather common in clubs to have players playing (sports-) games on a console and showing their game on the big screen next to the dance floor. It should not be hard to take a page out of that book and maybe offer access to a couple of systems for visitors of the bar to play games on. Those games could be streamed to screens around the bar when nothing else interesting is on, allowing anybody interested to follow the games and cheer for the live matches. Think pool table in your bar around the corner, just with interesting games and a better way to watch the whole thing.