IS E-SPORT SPORT?

Here at DECATHLON, we take an interest in all sports, from the most traditional to the most original. So when expert Remy Chanson, a former player who has now become the Chairman of the eSport Arma Team organisation, walked into our offices, it was the ideal opportunity to address a divisive question:

e-sport and sport

What is e-sport?

E-sport has been around since the end of the 1990s or early 2000s. Pioneering e-sport countries include the United States and South Korea.

E-sport stands for “electronic sport”, but Rémy Chanson prefers to define e-sport as a contest between two or more players that is played out on a screen.

Often mocked, or viewed with some scepticism in France at best, e-sport started to become more professional a few years ago.

Sport and e-sport: two activities that resemble one another

Sport and e-sport do not only share similar names.

While these two activities may appear to be in total opposition, they do in fact share some common values: team spirit, keen competition, respect and (most importantly?) the notion of surpassing oneself.

Just like their peers in real-world sport, the top e-sport teams and players have become real superstars!

They have a strong influence on young, and not so young, players, and sometimes use their fame to help good causes and charities. By way of example, in September 2017, around thirty leading names from the worlds of streaming and e-sport in France came together to support the victims of hurricane Irma. In 50 hours, the Z Event community raised more than €450,000!

On a more prosaic level, e-sports players also work with the top brands. Manufacturers of peripherals and other well-known brands from the world of computer gaming are all keen to snap up the top players in order to enjoy extensive exposure.

 

Young football players who excel in their sport, are quickly spotted by scouts and selected to join a professional club. The same is true in the world of computer gaming. The best players form teams in structures that are increasingly well organised, with all the right kit, from special shirts and hardware, to training facilities and even coaches!

e-sport and sport

E-sport competitions now take place in stadiums packed to capacity. The 2017 League of Legends world championships were held in the famous Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing. All the 40,000 places, priced between 5€ and 1,700€, were sold in just a few minutes. So the economic stakes are rising ever higher...

The organisation of international events, revenue from ticket sales, donations that can run into millions of dollars, betting, sponsors’ adverts and advertising on the live streaming sites have turned e-sport into a genuine business, just like certain conventional sports.

is e-sport sport?

E-sport: a sport, but not a sport...

Sport and e-sport have much in common. They both have their own stars and entertain their fans at big matches, and they share the same values and the desire to physically and mentally surpass oneself.

But in strictly physical terms, most e-sports are played sitting in front of a screen and cannot be considered as a form of physical exercise. The hand movements required to move a gamepad are insufficient to produce any beneficial effects on the player’s health. What’s worse, these slight movements, combined with the contraction of the hand, can sometimes result in the carpal tunnel syndrome.

 

On the other hand, chess and bridge are officially recognised as sports, while they do not demand any physical effort at all. In this respect, e-sport also deserves a place amongst the very closed circle of sporting activities...

is e-sport sport?

~TWO OPPOSING POINTS OF VIEW. IT’S UP TO EACH ONE OF US TO REACH OUR OWN CONCLUSIONS ON THE SUBJECT!

ONE THING IS FOR SURE: THIS DEBATE WILL CONTINUE FOREVER, UNLESS VIRTUAL OR AUGMENTED REALITY DEMANDS MORE MOVEMENT FROM THE PLAYERS.~ 

SO WHAT DO YOU THINK?