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eSports Experiencing Unprecedented Growth

March does not just belong to basketball anymore. While much of the sports world was focused on the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, millions of fans tuned into eSports competitions to watch top collegiate athletes compete in sold-out arenas, and the biggest names in sports media signaled that eSports are now a mainstay of their overall coverage.

Earlier this spring, ESPN and Yahoo! launched dedicated verticals to cover eSports exclusively, offering expert commentary, analysis, and articles on the virtual competitions. The sports titans join other news outlets, including Business Insider and Fortune, in featuring interviews with top players, scores, schedules, rankings, and statistics right alongside football, basketball, and baseball. In addition to daily coverage, ESPN dedicated an entire issue of ESPN The Magazine to eSports, hired staff for eSports-specific content, and broadcasted competitions on ESPN and ESPN2.

“The competition is crazy, it has million-dollar performers, it has high stakes, it has everything that makes sports interesting to cover,” ESPN.com editor-in-chief Chad Millman told TIME.

eSports Experiencing Unprecedented Growth

eSports Experiencing Unprecedented Growth

Major video game studios are also ramping up their efforts in competitive gaming. 343 Studios held the Halo World Championship in March, and more than doubled the original cash prize because of fan excitement, resulting in the largest prize to date for a first-person shooter competition at $2.5 million. The opening rounds of Activision-Blizzard’s Heroes of the Dorm tournament recently aired on ESPN opposite March Madness, and offered a familiar bracket challenge for fans. The event culminated in a “Heroic Four,” a live two-day event on ESPN2, with the winning team receiving awards covering full college tuition.

Also in March, the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) World Championship, featuring League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void, shattered previously held eSports records. Over the course of the event, 113,000 people attended and an additional 34 million unique users tuned in online to watch live streams in 26 different languages. The event also featured the IEM’s “Diversity in eSports Initiative.” Part of Intel and ESL’s AnyKey initiatives, the partnership hopes to create inclusive environments for underrepresented communities in eSports.

With growing support, better production quality and sponsor involvement, and a more inclusive environment, eSports is taking the sports world by storm with no signs of slowing down.

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My name is Sayed Ahmadreza Razian and I am a graduate of the master degree in Artificial intelligence .
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Related topics such as image processing, machine vision, virtual reality, machine learning, data mining, and monitoring systems are my research interests, and I intend to pursue a PhD in one of these fields.

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  • Data mining - Big Data
  • CUDA Programming
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