The founding father of the hugely successful GT Academy “gamer to racer” programme Darren Cox has launched the first professional virtual race team in motorsport, ‘eSPORT+CARS’.
The growth of eSports has been dramatic in recent years with major tournaments attracting tens of thousands of fans in stadiums, millions of viewers watching online and providing the participants with millions of dollars in prize money.
THE VIRTUAL WORLD
With eSports the big news story in the digital world in 2016, eSPORTS+CARS will run a motor racing team that exists purely in the virtual world – but to the same standard of any professional ‘real world’ team.
A NEW AUDIENCE
eSPORTS+CARS aims to reach millennials who are engaging with sports through gaming and help build a new motorsport audience to draw them into the sport to help stem a decline in audience figures.
BRIDGING THE GAP
The eSPORTS+CARS team will also play a role in building a bridge between the virtual and real motorsport worlds.
GLOBAL eSPORTS REVENUE GROWTH
Media rights, merchandise and tickets, online advertising, brand partnerships, additional game publisher investment projected through 2019
- 2014: $194 million
- 2015: $325 million
- 2016: $463 million
- 2019: $1072 million
eSPORTS+CARS – VIRTUAL RACING TEAM
ESPORTS GLOBAL AUDIENCE
ESPORTS GLOBAL REVENUE
“The eSPORT+CARS Virtual Racing team is a first step in professionalizing motorsport in the virtual world,” Cox said.
“We want to use the team to shine a light on the huge opportunity that is virtual motorsport and we will do it by mirroring the approach of the best teams and brands in the real motorsport world.
“Eventually we want to have the very best virtual drivers from around the globe, playing together across every platform, in every type of motor racing game; attending eSports events, working and competing as a team, engaging with fans as a team.
“Why? Because I see it as a very exciting first step in bringing new fans to the grandstands – whether they be at eSport events or Silverstone on a wet and windy Sunday.”
BUILDING THE SPORT
WHAT COMPETITIONS WILL YOU COMPETE IN?
We’ll have the latest news, updates and information right here on this site as the competition intensifies – just like a traditional racing team.
HOW CAN THIS HELP TRADITIONAL MOTORSPORT GROW?
The boom in the eSport market is recent, the trajectory upwards is huge, I want to use the eSPORT+CARS Virtual Racing Team to highlight exactly how much untapped potential there is in this for motorsport and help promote existing series in a way that the Red Bull athletes did at the dawn of extreme sports.
HOW WILL eSPORT RACING CREATE NEW FANS?
Research in the US shows us that the millennial generation first become engaged in football through gaming. The growth of MLS has been driven not initially by fans by going to matches and inheriting a passion for the sport, they are instead playing online and then becoming engaged with what happens in the ‘real’ professional leagues.
IN THE NEWS
Videogaming’s rapid shift from a living-room hobby to a spectator sport is luring mainstream advertisers and intensifying competition between big game publishers and nimble upstarts.
The UK is set to get its first 24-hour eSports TV channel as the world of competitive computer game playing takes its next step towards mainstream popularity. The new channel will get a major boost at launch with Sky and ITV expected to take minority stakes in the business.
Gaming is what every traditional sports league is desperate to become: young, global, digital and increasingly diverse. So can it ever be a sport? Does it matter? eSports are here. They’re real. They’re growing. And we have the numbers to prove it.