E-Sports should be treated like real sports

Jonah Evarts, Sports Editor

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Sports can be defined according to Merriam-Webster as “a source of diversion,” and that’s precisely what e-sports are. Though there is very little physical activity involved in e-sports, they divert crowds of thousands of people’s attention to a video game screen, where the player’s actions are scrutinized like those of a quarterback.

E-sports are some of the fastest growing sports in the world, gathering packed crowds to watch teams compete in games such as “DOTA 2,” “Counterstrike,” “League of Legends” and “Overwatch.” These crowds comfortably sold out the Staples Center in Los Angeles and Madison Square Garden in New York. On top of that, 36 million people streamed the “League of Legends” championship in 2015. If it’s not considered a sport by some, it sure is selling like one.

This money is even beginning to pay off like major sports. The payout for the DOTA 2 championship according to Sports Illustrated was $20,770,460; that’s roughly double the payout of The Masters, the biggest professional golf tournament in the world.

Physical sports are only different in that word, “physical.” The mental sharpness and intense hours of practice put into a professional gamer’s skillset are not less than that of an athlete. Some professional teams will practice for eight hours a day together, and a minimum of 50 hours a week; most do more than that.

Professional gaming has grown so large that the NBA has announced a sponsorship with video game publisher Two-Take Interactive Software Inc. to form an NBA 2k eLeague. This will have gaming teams representing every NBA team to compete in a five-month schedule that will align with the NBA season.

E-sports have proven that they have the chops to be as big as professional sport leagues, but it brings more than that. While some children look up to the likes of LeBron James and Tom Brady, some are looking up to Faker and Dendi, prominent players on the gaming scene. While these names may seem alien to children in the United States, these people are star-studded celebrities in countries like Japan. They have influence on young children in these countries just as much as the superstars we know do. Jersey sales have gone viral for a select few gamers, yes, jersey sales. It could possibly be that one day, instead of seeing Stephen Curry jerseys everywhere, we could see Faker jerseys.

Its vast influence has even reached colleges, and Kansas State University even boasts its own e-sports teams, which require gamers to try out to be accepted into.

The only thing holding e-sports back is main stream media influence. It looks like the media won’t be able to deny them much longer though, because they are only growing larger everyday.

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E-Sports should be treated like real sports