Over the last few years, traditional sports have started to align themselves with competitive video games in increasingly overt ways. And if you had any doubts as to their wisdom, the general manager of the Houston Rockets would like to explain why.
In a chat on the TrueHoop podcast, Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey brushed off a question about whether esports qualified as a legitimate sport and pointed to the industry's growing audience and prize pools.
"The other one that I think that's going to be huge is esports ... if you look at anyone under the age of 25, the time they spend it's heavily obviously on competitive video games," Daryl Morey said. "I think obviously there's huge number of competitors that draw huge crowds and huge prize money," he added, referring to the recent Dota 2 International and its gargantuan prize pool.
"That question has been answered. If you look at Let's Play videos, which are the highest growing and highest number of views of any type of video on YouTube ... that's something I looked at a little while ago. The notion that people don't want to watch others play video games has already been answered; resoundingly yes, they do," Morey explained.
The Houston Rockets GM went on to predict that esports would rival basketball and soccer in terms of viewers, and finished the podcast by suggesting that he could see himself working in esports if he wasn't working in basketball.
Several current and former NBA players have already taken an active interest in esports. Utah's Gordon Hayward and the Nets' Jeremy Lin have been long-time fans of League of Legends and Dota 2 respectively, and Lin has already indicated that he'd like to invest in an esports team.
Former NBA winner Rick Fox founded Echo Fox last year, which sports professional teams for Counter-Strike, League of Legends and Call of Duty. Shaquille O'Neal also joined a consortium of backers earlier this year to invest in NRG eSports.