Mazurek: Esports are definitely sports
Marek Mazurek | Monday, February 1, 2016
On Friday, Zach Klonsinski penned a Sports Authority column in which he attacked my belief in the validity of esports. Klonsinski claims that esports are not sports and instead, he mockingly calls them “egames”.
Here is my response to Mr. Klonsinski and those like him.
To argue his view that esports are not sports, Klonsinski turns to the Oxford dictionary definition of “sport” which is defined as “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.”
Klonsinski then says, “It’s easy to see egames meet almost every requirement outlined in the definition of sport, except one: physical exertion.”
Basically, Klonsinski is saying that we have something that walks like a duck, talks like a duck and smells like a duck, but isn’t a duck. Makes sense right?
If you chose to focus on the physical aspect of sports and make that the paramount criteria for what it and is not a sport, you walk down a slippery slope.
By that logic, jump rope should be a sport. Hopscotch should be as well and I hear rock, paper, scissors has a big following.
To say something isn’t a sport based on its perceived lack of physicality is a narrow view to take. Especially for esports which has all the other criteria of a sport in spades.
Klonsinski even admits this and agrees with me that ESPN was wise to pick esports up. It has more excitement, rivalry and skill than most traditional sports. Would you rather watch synchronized swimming or League of Legends?
And for those who say esports aren’t physical enough, the leading cause of retirement for esports athletes is actually physical injury. The amount of practice these professional athletes endure is physically and mentally punishing. I predict Klonsinski could not last a week on a professional esports athlete’s practice schedule purely because of the physical rigors.
But in the end, it doesn’t actually matter if I convince you esports are a sport. You can think whatever you want to on that front, because esports are not going away anytime soon.
ESPN picking them up is just one piece of evidence for that. In my prior two articles on this topic, I’ve shown that esports viewership is increasing by the year, something that cannot be said for the most popular sports today. More people watch League of Legends matches than watch Game Seven of the World Series.
Investors from all over are taking notice of this. Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, recently invested in a esports betting company called Unikrn, and former NBA player Rick Fox bought a League of Legends team.
“I’m excited to be involved with a new sport just as it’s poised for huge growth,” Cuban said when announcing his decision to invest.
If there’s one thing Mark Cuban isn’t, it’s stupid.
To quote the film “All the President’s Men,” “follow the money.” And right now the money is flowing into esports both in America and around the world.
Again, I know esports are a sport. You can agree with me and be right, you can disagree with me and be wrong, but it doesn’t matter because, like it or not, esports are the future, and they are here to stay.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.