I grew up in Mumbai. During my entire high school and later college, I travelled by local train every day to the school. Cricket is a very popular sport in India. When an important match was going on, everyone in the train would be listening to the radio (this was early 1990s) and either cheering or cursing the different events happening in the match. It didn't matter where the match was going on - in Mumbai, elsewhere in India or anywhere in the world.
What if this running commentary of the match was fake? Would they have enjoyed it less? What if, the commentary was 1 day old, but they didn't know. Would it really matter? Will it lessen the celebration in any way?
It's not the sport that the spectators enjoy. They enjoy a party. The sport is only an excuse.
You can then substitute Cricket or Soccer by League of Legends and it will prove an equally good excuse to party.
ESports are no different from traditional sports from spectator's point of view. Any event that satisfies following basic criteria can have successful spectatorship
- People understand basic rules of the event
- There's some uncertainty in the outcome (without it there won't be drama)
- Lot of people are following it. It's more enjoyable if it's a communal experience.
ESports pass all these criteria.
It won't be a surprise if ESports audience collectively surpass Soccer fan base before we land on Mars.