Moving on up, to the esports side
PlayerUnknown’s Battleground and eSports. Whether you like it, or hate it, these two things are at the forefront of the gaming zeitgeist right now. PUBG exploded onto the scene earlier this year and while still technically in Early Access has gone on to become the “most concurrently played game” on Steam. Meanwhile the eSports world has been gaining momentum for years, with more games being brought in and many tournaments being broadcast on cable TV.
So, it was only a matter of time before these two colossal beasts met and on Friday a major step was taken in bringing the still young PUBG competition market to the forefront of the eSports movement.
Team Dignitas which has been around since the inception of the modern American eSports era stands as one of the bigger teams in the market. Starting off as a group of Battlefield 1942 players, the team has gone on to have players in Counter Strike: Global Offensive, League of Legends, Smite, and Heroes of the Storm. On Friday it was announced that the group had signed on their first PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds team. The team consists of Peter “suntouch” Logan from London, Florian “Liquidz” Bruyere from Rosny Sous Bois, France, Martin “spajKK” Beneš from Czech Republic, and Asger “ZiphoN” Storgaard Høffner from Bagsværd, Denmark.
Why is this a big deal? Because Team Dignitas is owned by the same company that has ownership in teams in major conventional sports leagues. Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment owns the Philadelphia 76ers (#TrustTheProcess) of the NBA, the New Jersey Devils (Forever in our hearts Brodeur) of the NHL, as well as an 18 percent share of Crystal Palace in the English Premier League. Those are some major, albeit struggling, teams in some massively popular sports leagues. Not the type of investments that you make on a whim.
As of now, PUBG tournaments have been relatively small and not widely broadcast. This is because despite being so immensely popular there hasn’t been many major investors behind the still forming PUBG eSports teams. My gut feeling is that all of that is going to change now that a major money mover has a vested share in the game. So how long until we see the Dtoid Fights! team on ESPN3? I think it will be sooner rather than later.