Esports Should Not Be Sports
Esports should not be sports. It may seem crazy for someone who has written about esports for the past year to abruptly say that esports should not be sports. One could probably make a strong case for esports being a sport, but they simply are not.
Why am I saying this?
The esports community shouldn’t aim to be a sport; we should aim to be parallel to sports. We should aim to be like sports, but not a sport.
Sport is a broad term for activities like football, basketball, tennis, soccer, etc... Esports is a broad term for games like League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Call of Duty, DOTA 2 and so on and so forth.
Sports and esports should aim to coexist, instead of being under the same defining term.
Why should esports aim to be parallel?
It makes more sense for the community and the industry as a whole. Every year, when the X Games take place and an esport is broadcasted on live television, there is a guaranteed wave of tweets that criticize esports not being sports. The general community then attempts to justify esports as sports by either attacking sports or criticizing the outspoken athletes (see X Games Austin 2015).
Of course, there are some in the community who effectively reason with the naysayers of esports, but those people are so few and far between the toxic voices that they are rarely noticed.
Instead of aiming to align with a community that isn’t extremely accepting and a term that is already defined, the esports community should aim to be its own thing.
This idea can easily be accomplished, because there aren’t many people who deny esports as a thing. The main criticism towards esports is that they aren’t sports; other than that, people typically acknowledge esports as an activity and it continues to garner respect at a significant pace.
It’s no fluke that big companies are part of the scene. Sponsors ranging from gaming-related companies, such as Razer and HyperX, to media outlets, such as ESPN and Yahoo, even to previously unrelated companies, such as insurance giant GEICO and car care leader Turtle Wax.
Also, there are many commonalities in how the athletes uphold themselves. Sports athletes work out almost daily, eat healthy and constantly study gameplay. Esports athletes work out almost daily, eat healthy and constantly practice (as they have the luxury of accessibility to video games). They follow seasons and compete in tournaments. Furthermore, they have to endure roster changes, contract disputes and money issues.
Frankly, sports athletes and esports athletes have more in common than many realize.
The sooner the idea of esports being parallel to sports is widely adopted, the sooner esports can find a solid foundation. Sports/watching sports didn’t emerge as a household activity overnight, but as public acceptance and understanding grew, the idea of competitive sports became more realistic.
Esports can easily follow that same path with less obstacles, especially if the community stops aiming to be a sport.
Do you think that esports are sports, or should esports not be considered sports? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting us @GAMURScom.