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  • Xavier Cullen

With esports hitting new viewership heights, cinemas are putting video games on the big screen

November 2021 was a month to remember for the esports industry.

The League of Legends World Championship broke the concurrent esports viewership record, with the finals between Damwon KIA and Edward Gaming reaching over 73 million esports viewers. Additionally, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s PGL Major broke the game’s all-time esports viewership record with over 2.7 million peak viewers on Nov 7th 2021.

These video games are just two examples of a much wider trend of increasing esports viewership. As we covered in a post from Oct. 13, 2021, the global esports audience is projected to surpass 500 million viewers by 2024, according to a report from Interpret and Consumer Technology Association.

With this projected meteoric rise from 300 million worldwide viewers in 2020, esports leagues have looked to expand the viewing experience past just a small computer screen at home.

ESPAT TV, a production company specializing in esports and gaming, announced a partnership with cinema Screenvision Media earlier this month which will bring live esports events, video game trailers, and original gaming content onto the silver screen in the thousands of Screenvision-owned movie theaters in the U.S.

“Our partnership creates an on-ramp for gaming content to appear on the big screen and in collegiate and professional stadiums nationwide,” said ESPAT TV CEO Dave Simpson in a press release on Nov. 4. “Gaming lovers will get a new and refreshing view into their favorite video games, new title launches, branded content and live events.”

This partnership comes at a crucial time for movie theaters that have struggled with staying in business due to the ravaging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and hopefully partnerships with esports companies like this can keep the popcorn flowing.

The convergence of traditional movie theaters and the relatively new popularity of esports should bring a lot of new people into each industry. It marks yet another step towards esports and gaming content being normalized in the wider American media industry.

Over the past month, Riot Games has released its brand new animated show, “Arcane,” which has received high praise from critics and fans alike. With a 9.4/10 rating on IMDb, the show is Netflix’s highest-rated original show ever, and it has caught the eyes of people who have never heard of League of Legends, let alone played the video game.

This showcases how gaming has become popular in the television and film industries, and many new esports viewers might be coming from these traditional media avenues.

With the success of “Arcane” and the integration of esports and gaming content in movie theaters, new audiences could be coming into esports and gaming. This will only increase the rise of these two industries for years to come.

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