Competitive gaming or eSports without a doubt is emerging into the professional sports outlet. So much that it can easily compete with other big brand sports like Baseball and Football. Esports has been on the rise in North America for the past two years, with constant growing viewership counts and even now an entrance into some cable television networks, networks like ESPN and TBS. An on looker from the outside of this very large community may think this is a brand new trend. But when compared to the rest of the world such as Europe and Asia we see that this trend or as some may say, new found “sport”, has been around since the early 2000’s. Countries like South Korea have an outstanding communal following to the sport. They’ve had several broadcast stations dedicated to gaming tournaments and events.
At the same time the public population within these countries respect the image of the players behind the sport of competitive gaming. These foreign populations have such a different perspective on the matter. They respect these players and competitions to the same level of professional chess players.
You then turn your sights over to the Americas and there’s this sudden drop of respect. How is it that after almost 16 years of success in Europe and Asia competitive Gaming is finally scratching the surface of mainstream media in the states. Even with its growing popularity in NA it still seems difficult for the population to garner any respect for the game.
This then brings me to the point of, what makes sports so valuable in the first place? What affects do sports have on our society? Well one can say that sports are here for exercise and to keep children healthy. But what really makes it valuable is its social aspect. Sporting events bring thousands of people of all cultures together all at once. There are stadiums dedicated to certain sports in major cities that get packed when they hold an event. thousands of families all around the world dedicate the time to sit down with their family and friends at home, to watch a major sporting event on T.V. Schools around the world have their own sports teams that students can go and join to meet other students or possibly find their calling. Sports creates communities. Communities of people that are passionate and engaged in their sport of choice.
With this point made we can now see how important it may be to accept the sport of competitive gaming. Because behind eSports is a community, a community that is passionate but feels rejected by the normal sports society. This community has grown exponentially and these people have found a place where they feel a sense of inclusion. What good comes from rejecting an up and coming sport that has millions of folowers all around the world?
Closing out I just wanted to show an example of how ignorant some demographics can be when learning about eSports. This evidence comes from the HBO documentary show, Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. On this episode they reported on the growing spectacle of eSports and how these “gamers” are becoming millionaires off of playing video games. At the end of every episode they hold a short round table discussing the topic at hand. The reporter who lead the piece was at this round table as well as her other colleagues debating the fact of whether or not competitive gaming could be considered a sport or not. The lead reporter supported competitive gaming and truly believed it could be a sport, but then her colleague came with a rebuttal and said “My issue with this is, its still not a sport its a game it just cant be a sport”. This through me off a bit because what exactly are basketball players or baseball players playing? Is she saying that all sports are not games and are only recognized as sports? Its the misconception of competitive gaming that it gets from the public that enrages this community. And it shocks me how people have these prejudgments of something that they haven’t seen or tried.
The awareness of the public is whats holding back this sport and going into the future I see nothing but growth and its eventual transition into a professional sport that can consistently gather more viewership than Basketball, Football or Baseball.
HBOsports. “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel: ESports Discussion (HBO Sports).” YouTube. YouTube, 13 Dec. 2013. Web. 12 Nov. 2016.
“Turner and WME | IMG Announce SNICKERS® as ELEAGUE Official Marketing Partner.” Turner. N.p., 25 Oct. 2016. Web. 12 Nov. 2016.
“Why ESPN Is So Serious About Covering Esports.” Time. Time, 1 Mar. 2016. Web. 12 Nov. 2016.