Are Esports “real” sports?


Courtesy of: Sam Doo

Players begin in an Esport tournament competing for a prize.

by Denzel Reyes , News Editor


Electronic sports have been around for many years now, ranging from unknown to well known. The competitive nature of videogames traces back to something simple as to beat the high score that plagued an arcade machine. From this competitiveness, people around the world seek to beat what is seen as the “best.” Esports comes to fruition from this early idea and explodes on a global scale. Bringing in a newcomer to the old shelf of traditional sports might result in constant criticism, but esports deserve the respect to be called a sport.

Esports are a remarkable phenomena that are slowly gaining ground to rise into the mainstream. When tickets for the League of Legends 2013 championships held at Staples center became available, tickets for the event sold out in an hour according to Forbes. This displays the growing amount of esports supporters in the west., a streaming device that shows esports as well as other various video games, has been bought by Amazon for 1.1 billion dollars according to the New York Times. Big businesses and corporations have been supporting esports, such as Coca-Cola, in its matches and venues due to seeing its potential; a practice seen when watching a game in the NBA, NFL and etc.

The dedication of the players to continue to stay active in the meta, or state of the game, of their respective video games are astounding as patch notes, or the changes that developers decided to put into their game to fix issues and provide updates, continue to shift the state of the games. Being a player of one of the biggest multiplayer online battle arenas, or MOBA for short, in League of Legends, trying to figure out which character would benefit from these changes, or what I expect to happen when I play another game is a challenging aspect. For the professional athletes in esports who practice for more than 10 hours a day, according to BBC, that is nothing but pure dedication to staying active in order to be able to match up against the best around the world.

“I think esport players can be called athletes because they spend so much time on their video games practicing like other athletes do,” says Junior Anthony Schrecengost.

Esports players being defined as an athlete is not just from their dedication. Players can earn a living by earning six figures, up to a million dollars in total, from streaming, sponsorships and participation from tournaments held annually. In a striking similarity with sports, esport teams have a drafting season to let go or acquire players to make their teams more competitive. In 2013, the United States began to give Visas to international players that is valid for five years in order for them to play for a team based in the U.S: another practice used in traditional sports.

Esports games are more than “point and click.” Various games under the esports category require teamwork and analysis of the current situation: a puzzle where using the right pieces creates success.

Head for center of health and sport at German Sport University Prof. Dr. Ingo Froboese has stated that, “ sports are more than visible movements you see on a sports field…mental skills, strategies or training are just a few other examples of components which influence the performance. All of them can be found in Competitive Gaming.”

Chess demonstrates that physical exertion does not always need to be the dominant aspect when defining sports. The factors of mental skills and analyzing the opponent plays a big part in winning sports.

For people who are not familiar with it, watching esports for the first time would be confusing and I completely understand. Sports have what esports lacks with physical exertion being one of the main topics. When watching sports, the goal of outscoring your opponent is easy to comprehend due to seeing the main objective of each respective sports through their physical actions. Esports, on the other hand, demand viewers to know even more about  each videogame and understand the various terminologies and actions needed to win. People can easily stray away from esport matches as games get stale, and confusion occurs.

Though this is the case, Esports in and of itself is not meant for everybody. Trying to cater Esports to the masses is not the main goal here- gaining the respect of being called a sport is. If it turns out that esports are not declared a sport in the near future, the massive audience and ground it has been able to cover over the past few years is enough to show that it is not simple “child’s play”, but something to look out for.