Oceanic Esports needs more investment if it is to ever rival North American infrastructure. Without more money and resources, Oceania will continue to lose talent like Renegades to bigger regions. This endless loop will only enforce the stereotype set in Australia and improvements will never be made.
Oceanic Esports does not garner enough viewership in it’s current state. The Oceanic Pro League garners an average of 5k viewers while the LCS averages 195k viewers per stream. To make matters worse, even the LCS Academy system is able to acquire 38k viewers every stream. Why is the OPL unable to even have a quarter of the viewership that the NA Academy stream gets?
While a smaller region, the player base is most definitely there. Oceanic Esports have a premier event with IEM Sydney at the Qudos Bank Arena. An arena that is capable of holding 18k people in one venue always sells out. The fans are there, so what is missing?
Perception of Esports in Australia
In May of 2018, Kate Murray is deciphering what Oceanic Esports needs in order to capitalize on a profitable market. She is in firm belief that “investment” is needed for Oceanic Esports to find success.
Dr Robbie Fordyce, a Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne’s Networked Society Institute tells Murray:
“In Australia, corporations are not recognizing there’s an international eSports industry, so they’re not doing anything to compete with or catch up to the international scene at the moment,”
Oceanic Esports is still not where it can be and that is a reoccurring issue with this region. Players are dreaming about playing in North America. The dream is never about staying in Oceania because a career is not sustainable.
Renegades are an Oceanic team currently living in America.
For players aiming to sustain something in Oceania, it ends solemnly.
Without financial and infrastructural support, promising teams are failing because of external issues holding them back. I
n-game skill will not hold this region back, poor structure and support will. A poor support system means less luck and consistency to continue growing.
What Needs to Change
There will never be a perception and mind shift to esports if the league is never taken seriously. Esports in North America is now receiving support and public acclaim. However, that is not because it is handed to them. Capital investors are entering esports in America because they notice the potential of a booming industry. Viewership is still lower in comparison to some traditional sports, but more people are beginning to understand esports.
More events like IEM Sydney need to be held locally for Australian fans. People should not wait an entire year to watch esports in a live venue like Qudos Bank Arena. More investment to players following rigorous schedules need more support to sustain this emerging field.
An entire culture around gaming needs more media attention in Australia and this all starts with more support. Minor investments from investors from traditional sports and big Australian companies can change how Australians are perceiving esports. For such a small region, there is a growing niche in the community because competition is apart of Australian culture.
Luckily, Oceanic Esports teams are receiving this traditional sports structure. Less organizations are stuck in a skewed mindset of how esports teams run. Teams are better at organizing success for their players and the region is taking note of it.
People are watching now because traditional sports investors are recognizing the value esports is bringing for the future. Now, there are organizations like the Bombers and the Adelaide Crows who represent Legacy Esports. The region is beginning to receive support which is helping a small scene grow much more.
Everything is there for Oceanic Esports to succeed and rival major regions. AFL Teams are sponsoring these Oceanic teams in League of Legends. However, more of that is needed. This region that is heavily known for being a sports based culture needs more representation because passion is there down under. The problem is that esports is not always there.
Change and risk are going to shift a perception amongst the Australian community. Oceanic Esports can rival North America through time, but support and investment is a necessity for Oceania.
Oceanic Esports is taking steps to have talent recognizable by major regions. The next step is about developing reasons for Oceanic talent to stay in Australia. Players need to feel like their home region can sustain their passion, not destroy it.
If more investment is not brought into oceanic esports, more players will continue to leave when they outgrow their home region and that will create a bad culture loop.