Could we see more eSports competitions embraced by the Latinx population in the future?
It has finally been announced that the LoL Play-In Stage is set to take place in Mexico City this year. It is just the latest in a string of annual eSports events that never seem to end throughout the year. Teams from all over the world will be arriving in Mexico to stake their claim on the trophy. It is considered one of the most important competitions in the world, especially from a gaming standpoint.
And yet, the concept of eSports is still facing pushback. The NCAA hasn’t embraced the idea as a sport and taken it under its college wings, despite college eSport teams popping up all over North America.
Of course, that’s America, and this is Mexico, we’re talking about. Is there a difference in attitudes there? Could we see more eSports competitions embraced by the Latinx population in the future? We’re exploring here.
What is LoL
If we were to be literal about this, we would say that LoL is short for League of Legends, referring to the fantasy MMORPG battle arena game developed by Riot Games. For those without a headset in their room, it’s somewhat akin to a cross between other RPG games World of Warcraft and Fortnite.
However, the LoL coming to Mexico is the 2022 League of Legends World Championship. It is working its way through a North America tour that stops in Mexico City, New York City, Toronto, and San Francisco, stopping first in Mexico.
The first LoL World Championship took place in 2011 in Europe, with team Fnatic winning, but the 2022 World Championship marks the first time that North America is to host. Perhaps hinting at a more open-minded approach to a sport that has had to battle to be taken seriously?
Is Mexico big on eSports?
It seems so. Latin America in general seems to have become a hub for eSports. The cultures might clash when you look at it from the outside looking in, but that’s before you remember that Mexico is leading the gaming market in Latin America with a $1.9 billion USD revenue and 12th in the world. Latin America is even considered the fastest-growing digital games market in the world. There are over 252 million players in 2019 pushing that growth, and no doubt it has gone up since then. Mexico alone made up 55.8 million of that number in 2019.
What is spurring this excitement over gaming? Well, some have said that eSports in fact has a big say in this. Sports culture is a big identifier in Mexico, which has residents that are big fans of soccer, boxing, basketball, rugby, tennis, etc.
So, it makes sense then that eSports has been embraced as a sport, even if regulators around the world are still arguing the subject. Apparently, the stereotype of the gaming nerd that was perpetuated in the 80’s by the likes of Back to the Future’s Biff Tannen hasn’t permeated the Latin America consciousness, and therefore gamers are seen simply as that: gamers. They are considered experts in their field, gaming, and playing competitively, gaming.
Perhaps the general lack of media outlets scaring parents into thinking that “gaming a homicidal maniac makes” in one hand and the gamer nerd alone in the arcade stereotype in the other, has led Mexico and other Latin American countries to embrace a much more healthy relationship with gaming, which in turn has created a vehement fanbase ready to see another competition.
Is there more eSports to come?
With an endorsement like that, how can we say “no”?
However, it isn’t just the will of the Latinx people at play here. eSports have gained momentum for the same reason the world goes round: money. Investors are spending millions endorsing eSports players, turning them into teams, allowing them a lifestyle that lets them train constantly, then jet-setting them around the world to compete in stadiums full of fans.
There is definitely money in eSports on every level. The game developers are earning, the investors are earning, the teams are earning, the stadiums are earning, and it’s all made up into an industry that has spawned from nothing to a global sensation in a matter of years.
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