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Tech and Gaming

Fortnite has Become a Big Problem for Pro Sports Teams

Words by Nathan Irvine

The video game phenomenon has its claws into professional athletes and its having a dramatic effect on the sports they play.

It’s not just parents that are putting time limits on their children’s video game time now. Professional sports teams are also doing what they can to keep their players from playing games, too.

Fortnite is the culprit. And apparently, the addiction is so strong with some that it’s killing team harmony.

Take the recent story of Carlos Santana – no, not that one. Speaking to ESPN, the veteran baseball star detailed how gaming had made him go to extreme lengths while at the Philadelphia Phillies.

“I see a couple players – I don’t want to say names – they play video games during the game,” says Santana. “We lose too many games, and I feel like they weren’t worried about it. Weren’t respecting their teammates or coaches or the staff or the [front] office. It’s not my personality. But I’m angry because I want to make it good.”

So Santana smashed the TV up with a baseball bat.

Carlos Santana Fortnite

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Flickr Carlos Santana eyes up another flatscreen TV

Game over, man

This follows news that another baseball team, the Toronto Blue Jays, have applied a curfew on how long players can get their Fortnite fix before games.

It’s not just consigned to baseball, mind. The game has trickled into every sport. Whether it’s a UFC fighter mimicking a celebration or Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane and Dele Alli streaming their action through Twitch, Fortnite is everywhere.

Even NBA star Andre Drummond candidly spoke about how the game had taken over his life. “The funny part is that I suck [at Fortnite]” Drummond joked.

Continue?

In fact, there’s a growing concern that Fortnite, and eSports in general, are going to reduce the amount of youngsters opting to play sports professionally.

Current Liverpool FC CEO, and former video games executive, Peter Moore is worried that the sport is losing the fight for attention.

“When I look at viewing and attendance figures of millennial males, I’m concerned as a chief executive of a football club that relies on the next generation of fans coming through.” Moore says. “There’s so much pressure on time now and only 24 hours in a day… there are only so many hours to play Fortnite.

 

Fortnite World Cup

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Epic Games The biggest event on the eSports calendar in 2019

Level Up

Peter Moore is right though – football is now in direct competition with Fortnite. For example, the upcoming Fortnite World Cup in July is expected to pull in an average of five million viewers per day through mobile devices and computers. Those numbers are huge.

It’ll be interesting to see how sports teams handle this moving forwards. Do they embrace it and attract new fans by allowing players to play and talk about it? Or do they clamp down on their players and gently starve Fortnite of attention?

One thing is for certain, Fortnite isn’t going away. So expect to hear more tales of dressing room TVs being smashed in the near future.

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