The Electronic Sports League is about to introduce a drug testing program.
Video Broadcasting and watching gaming is a global phenomenon. Event TV has shifted from TV to the internet. People watching other people play games has become a lucrative industry where teams compete for large prizes.
Forget basic cable, watching others play games on You-Tube, Snitch and other streaming services is mass entertainment. Viewers of Twitch, a website for watching video games, has numbers that rival CBS, CNN and ABC - in prime time! Last year Amazon spend $1 Billion to acquire Twitch which is only three years old! Top Twitch streamers build large audiences, and hold the attention of tens of thousands of people for hours
Geeks are Sexy is reporting that competitive players are using drugs to enhance stamina, reaction times and concentration.
Currently the league bans layers from being under the influence of drugs while playing, but there’s no testing.
The program will be developed with Europe’s NADA (Nationale Anti Doping Agentur), though ESL will also be working with WADA (World Anti Doping Agency) to help enforce and administer the policy worldwide.
The first tests will come at an event in Cologne next month. Once the policy is ready, there’ll be testing at all major events with professional players, specifically Intel Extreme Masters, ESL One and ESL ESEA Pro League events.
No word on what performance enhancing drugs will be banned but coffee, Mountain Dew and power drinks do not appear to be on the radar.
Here is a link to some incredible statistics about the value of the video game industry from Statista.
Expect a lobby to have video games included in the Olympics. We can argue about the definition of a sport but there is no doubting the competitive experience!