The Norwegian Esports Ecosystem



The Norwegian Esports Ecosystem is a highly diverse environment, driven primarily by the internet and video games.


There are two main groups in the Norwegian Esports Ecosystem: The professional gamers & the viewers. There is one main governing body overseeing both groups, which is called Norges e-Sportsforbund (NES).


Professional Gamers

The professional gamers consist of two groups: There is the amateurs and there are the e-sport athletes. The Oslo Gaming Center has set up a facility where both groups can train with other professional gamers or even work on their personal skills in a dedicated gaming room.

The professionals who have received at least $12,000 in prize money over the past year are considered professional gamers. During that same year, the amateurs have received less than $12,000 in prize money across all games and tournaments.


The e-sport athletes receive a salary from their team's organization, 90% of which is paid to them through the Norwegian tax system - they must therefore pay taxes on their gaming income. If an e-sport athlete wins prize money, they may be taxed as much as 60% of their winning (the winning percentage is based on the gamer's income and not the prize money).


Viewers

The viewers are all those who watch streaming services like Twitch and YouTube Gaming. In Norway, it is estimated that there are around 500,000 viewers on average who tune in to the streams of top players.


Esports Is Beneficial To The Country's Economy

Betting & Prizes:


Prize pools are one way to measure how far a country has developed its esports industry based on data from real cash tournaments. Based on that, Norway ranks #9 out of all the countries around the world.


There are multiple benefits to this, such as:


- An increase in social welfare for esports athletes - support them with financial assistance and help if they require it; a career path that can eventually lead to full time employment


- Increase tourism from professional gaming organizations looking for fresh talent by signing Norwegian players to foreign teams


- Promote the activity of esports in Norway; it helps with the cultivation of new talent

Betting on esports is one of the largest growing markets in Europe, second only to domestic sports betting. In 2016, $9.3 billion was bet globally on eSports - a number that doubled by 2019 and continues to climb into 2021. Norwegian betting platforms provide some of the highest payouts in all kinds of bets, but only if you have placed a bet within 90 days before receiving your winnings (after that time your payout value will be decreased).


Companies offering odds on eSports helps with the cultivation of new talent and gives amateur gamers an opportunity to get professional work experience. The availability of jobs for the amateurs can help with developing their personal skills and giving them a career path; if they ever need support, companies are there to help them.


The availability of job experience allows professionals to work in fields other than gaming, such as: content creation & streaming, coaching, casting, etc. All of which contribute to Norway's growing video game industry.


Companies can hire competitive gamers to represent their brand by streaming or casting matches, which helps with the promotion of the gaming activity in Norway and also increases tourism (from official or semi-official esports teams looking for new talent).


The Future Of Esports In Norway


Since 1980 there have been multiple initiatives from government organizations, companies and other entities in Norway to support the development of esports. In 2009 the Norwegian Olympic Committee funded a center for elite gamers while Telenor partnered with TV 2 on The Gathering – their annual championship event.


In 2016 Norway became one of only four countries to be represented at the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) tournament in Katowice, Poland.


In April of this year, the Norwegian Olympic Committee announced that Esports would be included in its National Elite Sport Plan, which could lead to Norway being represented at future international tournaments like IEM as well as the 2024 and 2028 Olympics. The inclusion of esports on the national level will put it on a par with sports such as football, handball and skiing.


The Future Of Esports In Norway Is Promising:


Since 2009 the Norwegian government has been in support of esports. With their recent inclusion into the National Elite Sport Plan, it shows that esports have grown enough to not only be supported by a small group of industry experts but also government officials who represent the public interest. This shows that not only do the Norwegian people have a positive outlook on esports, but so does our parliament and government officials.

In April 2018, NEL – one of Norway's biggest telecom providers - demonstrated their support of esports by giving away ten full computer setups to amateur players with high gaming potential; they also teamed up with Telia in order to simultaneously sponsor a tournament hosted by The Gathering. Gambling platform, Betsson has also been steadily increasing their presence throughout the Nordic region and now holds events featuring Norwegian teams like: Norse, Sprout, NORA-Rengo and Hammers Esports.


With government officials being on board with esports, it is also expected of professional athletes to get involved with esports as it is one of the fastest growing industries in Norway. With Norwegian Football being a national sport, we can already see some high profile players purchasing and managing their own teams including:


Rolf Daniel Vikstøl (Norwegian football player who also owns LEGO and Lommedalens sports club) and Havard Nordtveit (Hvastveit) (Norwegian footballer for Premier League Club West Ham United).


The Norwegian government's support of esports is a sign that they are willing to help with any problems that could arise. It also shows their willingness to support Norwegian esports from grassroots all the way up to national level competitions with Norway being represented by amateur and/or professional players.


The most promising future for Norwegian esports is the involvement of multiple actors at different levels such as: training programs, government support, sponsorships and especially live events. Norway's esports market is in a great position to continually improve with the help of its government and the dedicated work of professionals that are already established within the industry.


Norwegian esports has great potential:


A functional infrastructure, an environment friendly towards innovation and investment; high interest from private sector actors as well as individuals who pursue this pastime on a leisure basis. With this foundation in place, and with the help of government support Norwegian esports will be able to reach the same level as its neighboring countries within Europe.

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