Esports are the future—all of us who have had to convince our reluctant parents or just generally normie friends and acquaintances of the massive size and growth of esports know this to be true. However, coming from the mouth of the CEO of esports organization Dignitas, Michael Prindiville, it means a little more, given that his career has recently taken him from the business of traditional sports into esports. Specifically, Prindiville argues that the future of sports will take the form of a three-headed hydra of soccer, basketball, and esports.
Prindiville was first hired to run Dignitas (which now owns League of Legends' successful Clutch Gaming, among other teams) in 2018, having worked previously for NBC Sports Ventures, a venture capital firm. There, he led its esports division, but before that, he was a semi-pro soccer player on the San Diego Gauchos.
In outlining his sports world future, Prindiville stresses the unique skillset and level of accomplishment that esports athletes must nurture and reach in order to be able to compete, between the long hours spent practicing, unhindered by physical limitations in the same manner as traditional sports, as well as the high level of focus required to compete professionally, given that a player's full attention is required at any given moment of a game due to the frantic pace of most esports.
While he acknowledges that the esports industry is currently in a bubble phase, with more esports businesses established just to be part of a growing trend than will ultimately be sustainable (similar to what's happening in the trendy bitcoin and cannabis industries), he doesn't see this as a detractor from the eventual longevity of the esports industry. Rather, he expects these companies to be consolidated without impacting the industry as a whole, since esports are ultimately contingent on the idiosyncratic appeal of watching athletes compete at peak ability in a digital space, something no amount of business politics can inhibit.
It's easy to see Prindiville's bias in his future sports outline, given that his past is in soccer and his present is at an esports company owned by the Philadelphia 76ers. However, his reasoning checks out: soccer is, and always has been huge internationally; the NBA is bigger than ever before, and is increasingly looking like the traditional sports model of the future; and esports present their own unique appeal. It's a safe bet, but only time will tell if it remains true.