The American Video Game League, or AVGL.com, is a collegiate esports event platform that recently partnered with Intel Launch to create Intel Inspires. Intel Inspires is a planned esports event dedicated to showcasing up and coming esports talents at a collegiate age level. The event has an open registration with no upper limit on the number of people able to sign up and compete. The event will take place over four different weekends, starting October 10. There will be more events on October 18, October 29 to 30, and November 14 to 15. The final event in November will be by invitation only, which will include the top 99 players across all games. Those who qualify on the last day will have direct exposure to different universities and professionals within the esports industry.
Intel Inspires plans to create an event showing off the players’ skills over the course of multiple days of competition. The event will be focused mainly on two video games in Fortnite and Rocket League. The event will also highlight League of Legends, but with less direct competition involved. Both Intel and AVGL have emphasized the opportunities involved with the event. With over 500 coaches and scouts watching and in contact with those who qualify for the final day, as well as over $150,000 in scholarships up for grabs. All participants who qualify for the last day are eligible to apply for the scholarship, with both AVGL and Intel trying to highlight this as a large opportunity for all players — even those without a real possibility of making it as a high-level professional gamer.
The decision for Intel’s gaming event is a timely and strategic one since creating this large esports experience, featuring young participants, may help Intel inject itself into the young gaming esports community. Given both the rising prevalence of esports as well as the direct competition with fellow processor company, AMD, this move makes a lot of sense. Since 2016, the viewership of esports has grown tremendously, starting at 281 million viewers, of which 121 million were rated as enthusiastic or above-casual viewers. In comparison to this number, in 2018, there were over 380 million viewers. This trend seems likely to continue with projections for viewers in 2021 reaching as high as 557 million.
Intel’s boost in viewership has also led to massive amounts of revenue within the industry. In 2020, even while taking a revenue drop due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the esports industry as a whole is still expected to make $1.05 billion. In fact, recent projections have increased their overall revenue expectations for the future, with the 2023 forecast going from $1.55 billion to an excess of $1.59 billion. While many in-person events and tournaments are canceled due to the ongoing pandemic, streaming viewership has skyrocketed. This increase in viewership translated to team streaming revenues, increasing over $1 million from $18.2 million to $19.9 million in 2020 alone.
In contrast to its success in streaming games, Intel has been having issues with their company value. The company has been struggling to keep up with its competitor, AMD, especially when it comes to gaming processors. This has led to a decrease of over $13 a share from $64.34 on June 5 to $50.43 a share as of August 28. During the same period, AMD’s stock rose from $53.10 up to $85.55, where it currently stands. Intel’s long time standing as the more valuable of the two companies was inverted over the summer, and the company must now make significant headway into markets they are losing to make up the lost ground.
As Intel tries to capture the gaming market’s attention again, putting on a large esports event exclusively focusing on college-aged gamers seems to fit perfectly in line with an attempt to bounce back within the industry. With over 250 different colleges participating, and the emphasis on top-rated video games like Fortnite, Rocket League, and League of Legends, Intel has made a big step toward garnering acceptance and, hopefully, consumers within the ever-growing esports community.