It's no secret that there is a divide when it comes to the semantics of sports and esports, and whether the latter can be considered an equal of the former (in terms of the definition of sport).
Intro our fun experiment.
There will be two polls in this article: one in the beginning, and one in the end. The first poll is based on the following parameters: you must vote before reading the rest of the article. So go ahead, just use your gut!
Vote here! | Poll #1
Great! Now, as I said before, the next poll will be featured at the end of this article, and it will be based on the following new set of parameters: you must read the entire article before voting (I know, "duh", you're thinking).
Now, this will be short and sweet. I simply want to provide you with a list of arguments for and against considering an Esport a verifiable sport. Then we vote again for fun to see if we've learned anything.
“[esports] is not a sport, it’s a competition. Mostly I’m interested in doing real sports.” - John Skipper, President of ESPN
According to Forbes, the general consensus among those sharing the opinion of the likes of John Skipper is that a sport gets you out of breath. It makes you sweat. It takes physical effort and stamina.
While some concede to the classic "perhaps we're just old and stubborn" cliche, the general feel seems to be that of protectiveness. I.e. 'football is a sport, it's my sport, and I don't want someone comparing their videogame experience to my experience."
Calling these games “sports” is like calling YouTube videos “TV shows.” - Eric Johnson, Recode
Another point I've seen and read a lot about is the "esports is an internet phenomena" argument. Many hold to the statement that because of its origination, it can't be compared directly to a traditional sport (that stems out of peer to peer physical interaction, rather than peer to peer technological interaction).
"Why is it not a sport? Why should a horse be forced to prove it is indeed a horse?" - Michal Blicharz, Esport Event Organizer
According to BBC News, Blicharz claims that while physical stress is not necessarily a large component of gaming, other than occasional muscle strains and cramps, there is still merit to be found in the way competitors climb a ladder to beat out fellow competitors. In this sense, he focuses on the competitive nature of sports rather than the physical.
Blicharz also goes on to state that other sports like darts, for example, can be compared to Esports in terms of physical stress.
"Not just a sport. Our sport." - Riot Games
While the video leaves little left to explain, its apparent Riot believes that community size, prize pool, and tournament viewership/hype are all Esports' needs to have sport in the name. Not to mention, they go on to claim that Esports aren't just a sport. They're in a class and definition of their own.
And let's not forget, Esports definitively meets two of the most important criteria for the Olympic Games, and is being heavily considered for the 2020 showcase. The two criteria are popularity and business model.
So why don't we take it to one more vote, for the stats! Have you changed your mind?
I hope you've enjoyed our experiment!
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