GAMERS OR F1 DRIVERS RULE OK? MAYBE EVEN VIRTUAL LE MANS?
Now I am no spring chicken and I am desperately trying to embrace the modern tech world we live in! Right now I am on a WIFI connected I Pad Pro in the back garden typing this. All be it with one finger. So when recently I took an interest in Esports I was shocked how out of touch I believe F1 had become under Bernie.
Tell me folks, do you know much about these new stars of today? And more importantly should us older Motor Racing fans not be more familiar with the stars of the electronic online world?
Each team in Formula 1 bar Ferrari has a professional Esports gamer on the payroll, and over the British Grand Prix weekend, a selection of up and coming new talent were, put through their paces to become official pro E drivers. From thousands of entrants the last 40 took part in reaction tests, fitness test and real world driving. This all culminated in a live event in London where teams picked 16 drivers from nine countries to move onto the pro series championship.
The event was live streamed to an audience of 800,000 people! Chase from Liberty Media was there along with Max Verstappen and other eminent Formula One dignitaries.
So when we all asked ourselves last year “Why an earth are Liberty paying all that money for what looks like a sinking ship”. We may have the answer right here. Bernie Ecclestone made it very clear, that under his watch F1 was not interested in the online world. But all across the planet people are playing F1 racing games, and through this medium they are discovering the real world sport we love.
The Football World Cup in Russia has just finished and to some peoples surprise it was a major success. One of the reasons is because a whole new army of fans, are familiar with players and teams from across the world. This is down to the amazing popularity of the football game FIFA. Even in the USA, a country that has struggled to embrace Soccer in the past, is going through a mini revolution of popularity. Gamers are discovering football on their PC and then seeking out the real thing.
So do you think in the future we will be watching the F1 highlights show, that broadcasts not only the Grand Prix, but the virtual race as well. Pole position on the track and console could be compared. Interviews with virtual drivers alongside your Lewis Hamiltons and Vettels!
Then there is the question: "Who will be earning the most money in ten years?"
My money will be on the gamers. Already the top 50 Esports players have all made more than a million dollars a year! And let's not forget they don't need to bring sponsorship with them. The sponsors are all over them.