Barrière creates its own e-Tour "e-sport is totally in the spirit of the game" Cédric Page, CEO of Webedia, video game and e-sport specialist

Electronic sport (e-sport) stands for playing an online video game – either on your own or as a team.

The Barrière Group – the biggest name in French casinos - has just created a series of events around these team video games - the “Barrière eSport Tour”, organised with the e-sport specialist Webedia. It’s not a championship or a tournament but a "Tour" of several dates in France that started in Lille on 27th May this year, based on the League of Legends game. The total prize money for online multi-players is 10, 000 euros, and the next event will be held in Toulouse on 11th November 2017. But how does it work?

So what’s new in e-sport ?

Cédric Page.


There has been a real explosion of e-sport throughout the world – and in France in particular. The development of video platforms and online streaming has given the phenomenon a major boost since 2011. And that’s just the beginning - all the indicators show that the potential is huge. The issue now is to manage the activity and keep it within a legal framework.



Why "popularise" virtualisation to make it more... real?


It’s all about wanting to offer a new leisure and entertainment activity for people to try. It also reflects a desire to get away from the “community” approach of players who only play each other - moving towards an entertaining activity - and not just competitions all the time. It’s important to realise that the two approaches aren’t contradictory – they actually go together very well.



How does e-sport work in money terms?


The continuous expansion of the eSport audience over the last few years isn’t just about curiosity; the creators of the most popular eSports games are raking in billions of dollars in revenue. Just like regular sport, it has its own ecosystem – from event organisers to “e-sport” managers – not forgetting the advertisers, who are looking to reach some four million fans in France. (Editor’s note: the global audience is set to hit 191 million “regular viewers” in 2017, 42% saying they don’t "play" but that they are " spectators". Source: Newzoo.)



Millions of viewers – they’re consumers, too


Yes - and these millions of people are prime targets for advertisers, as they are all similar – mainly men aged 15 to 34 who are deserting traditional media. They spend a considerable amount of time online but use ad blockers, which makes it difficult to get brand messages to them. eSport is an excellent way to do this – especially through sponsorship.



The law will have some input on this. There is a legal framework in France but does it need to be expanded?


The current legal framework has a good handle on this sector. e-sport established itself  in France in full compliance with the regulations, and competitions are subject to strict controls for the protection of minors.  



Competition leads to rivalry, and the long games have sometimes made us wonder about the players’ health and levels of fatigue. Could we be talking about doping here?


As far as we know, nothing currently points to the presence of doping in eSport. As in every highly competitive environment, it’s quite possible that the issue might arise one day. But the managers - often from the world of regular sport - are aware of this and follow professional players around, helping them to avoid risk behaviour and giving them the right training.



How would you describe e-sport in 2017?


Vibrant digital entertainment enhanced by the interactive and sports elements. These days e-sport shouldn’t just be seen as a promising new gimmick but a proper discipline embedded in the minds of video game fans. 




Interview of Cédric Page - Webedia