The Olympics is a gathering of the world’s best athletes competing against each other in the most popular sports. Esports has over 292 million people playing. So why is it not an Olympic sport? Should playing videogames even be considered a sport? In part 1 of this post we will look at why it should be.
In order to determine if esports should be in the Olympics, we first must determine if it should be considered a sport.
On face value, esports has all the aspects to make it a sport. It passes the simple eye test by having sports commentators, coaches, hours spent practicing the craft, stadiums, and thousands of dedicated fans. There are superstar esports players just like superstar NBA players. Every player has some big sponsor contracts too.
Furthermore, unlike other sports like football and NASCAR, esports is played all over the world. Surely if esports were to be admitted into the Olympics there would be a rather large turnout of fans supporting their countries, just as they do in normal esports tournaments. The argument that competitive video games lacks physicality and therefore injuries, is false. There are injuries in esports, albeit much more mild like carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, and trigger finger.
Yet that argument falls through when considering Chess as a sport where there are no injuries. Many argue that Chess is a sport for the mental fortitude required to play it. Esports requires mental strength as well with quick decision making and extremely quick reaction times.
And according to the US government, competitive gamers are recognized as “professional athletes” since they are given p-1 Visas, which allows anyone outside of the United States to enter in order to participate in an athletic competition.
Many argue that competitive gaming is a sport, expressing the similar opinions to what Sam Mathews of Fnatic said, claiming that esports is “competition augmented by technology”. Does competition and thousands of fans automatically breed a sport? Stay tuned for Tuesday’s post as the counterargument.