On the outskirts of the most diverse cities in Brazil lie neighborhoods that climb steep hills and stretch for miles. These neighborhoods often have a precarious structure—houses built side by side, with no apparent order, and only small corridors that are poorly lit. It is in these favelas that thousands of Brazil’s youth dedicate hours and hours of their days to esports, with the dream of making it big in the industry.
Projections point to a market that, in 2023, should surpass $1.5 billion, and in Brazil even traditional football teams such as Vasco da Gama and Flamengo have begun to assemble esports teams in games such as League of Legends and Pro Evolution Soccer. The top athletes win millions of dollars in prizes, while the average salary of a professional League of Legends player exceeds $400,000 per year.
Brazil is an extremely unequal country with an immense social abyss—about 25 percent of the Brazilian population is considered poor, according to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics. Social inequality in Brazil, according to the Gini index (used by the World Bank to measure inequality among countries or groups of people), has increased in recent years. In regions like the northeast, almost half the population lives in extreme poverty on less than $1.90 a day. This inequality is also reflected in the country’s esports industry.
Full article at Wired’s website. Date of publication: 24/03/2021.