Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles concluded in an article written by the Washington Post that esports fans generally don’t watch traditional sports, and many esports fans are voicing their disagreement.
The Post centered the article around why MonteCristo wasn’t returning to the OWL in 2020, but has angered OWL fans by saying that in his experience, esports viewers did not watch traditional sports and would not understand traditional sports ideas or concepts.
According to the website gallup.com, 59% of Americans say that they are sports fans, and that number has been consistent since 2000. With that number hovering around 60%, the majority of the Overwatch League’s fan will also be fans of a traditional sport. Even if that were not the case, with traditional sports crossing over with pop culture, most people understand the fundamental structure of traditional sports, how they are produced, and what the play-by-play and color broadcasters might sound like.
The OWL attempting to mirror traditional esports has never been a secret, so it’s puzzling that MonteCristo claims in the Washington Post article that he doesn’t think pursuing traditional sports fans constitutes a sound strategy. It could be that MonteCristo is referring to people outside of America who might not be familiar with the format of traditional American sports, but the concepts are not spectacularly different outside of the United States either.
The Overwatch League’s creators wanted something for people new to esports to be able to understand. Most people, even those that aren’t traditional sports fans, understand the structure of traditional sports. The familiarity with the format is what has the potential to bring a lot of new esports fans into the fold.
Fans on reddit are almost all in disagreement with MonteCristo, with some even questioning why he would say something like that when it seems so fundamentally false. MonteCristo instead compared OWL to WWE, where fans come for entertainment over all else and are less concerned with earnest competition.
MonteCristo has been in the esports industry for a long time, which is in part why his take on esports versys traditional sports seems to peculiar to those that have debated his words since the interview’s publication.