PS3 News: Dear ESPN: eSports Aren't Sports, But Spelling Is? - PS3 News

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Dear ESPN: eSports Aren't Sports, But Spelling Is?

So long as you're consistent, I'm fine with your opinion.

But I have a problem when I sense hypocrisy. ESPN president John Skipper told Re/code that in fact, playing video games professionally isn't the same as playing football or basketball.

Skipper says eSports is just a "competition," not technically a sport:

"It’s not a sport—it’s a competition. Chess is a competition. Checkers is a competition. Mostly, I’m interested in doing real sports."

See, I'd be down with that if I wasn't familiar with ESPN's programming. Last I checked, they air the freakin' National Spelling Bee every year. Is that a sport and not competition? I think I've even seen Scrabble on some weird ESPN channel as well, and I don't see how confirmed sports like darts, billiards and bowling can't be sports if competitive gaming isn't a sport. You don't need to be in any particular physical shape to be great at any of the preceding sports. What you do require is lots of practice, precision, hand-eye coordination, and general raw ability. Pretty sure you need all those things for competitive gaming as well, right?

I have agreed in the pass that eSports aren't really sports. They're not. My personal belief is that there is indeed a difference between sports and competition; there are burping and eating competitions, but they're not sports. Sports require athletic ability. If you can be one of the best in the world at something and it looks like you'd keel over after a half-mile jog, you're not an athlete and your particular skill doesn't qualify as a sport.

But that's just how I see it. I think everyone's definition will be different. My point is, if you're going to have an opinion, be consistent. Mr. Skipper needs to either clarify or revise. And by the way, you can't hide behind the concept that you only wish to air what's popular. I can pretty much guarantee, given recent statistics, that competitive gaming would garner far more viewers than the Spelling Bee.

Tags: esports, competitive gaming, professional gaming, espn

9/6/2014 10:34:40 AM Ben Dutka

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Legacy Comment System (21 posts)


souljah92
Saturday, September 06, 2014 @ 11:05:25 AM
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Competitive gaming isn't a sport...

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souljah92
Saturday, September 06, 2014 @ 11:06:19 AM

A spelling bee isn't a damn sport either, what kind of pansies are these, go outside for god sake, if you're standing still or barely moving it's not a sport come on now

Last edited by souljah92 on 9/6/2014 11:07:32 AM

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wiiplay [Administrator]
Saturday, September 06, 2014 @ 12:21:54 PM

"if you're standing still or barely moving it's not a sport"

That actually makes me wonder; what about virtual reality gaming that actually requires physical activity? I'm not talking about current virtual reality gaming and motion controls, but rather a more advanced combination of the two; something like a super immersive and super accurate Oculus Rift combined with efficient full body motion tracking with perfect accuracy. We'll probably have something like that within the next ten to twenty years, assuming Oculus and Sony's VR Headset end up taking off.

So, my question is; if competitive gaming used those levels of technology, where physical activity mattered... would that be considered a sport?

...sorry, been up all night. My mind tends to go on random tangents.

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Broady
Monday, September 08, 2014 @ 3:52:32 AM

Agree - and darts, pool, snooker are pub games not sport. Fun to play but not a sport.

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matt99
Saturday, September 06, 2014 @ 11:15:12 AM
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I agree, to me a sport is something that requires some level of physical ability in addition to talent. Something like darts requires a lot of talent but lets face it, Phil "the power" Taylor is not an athlete, he's a competitor. So if they air Darts as a sport they should air gaming. Having said that I don't think it would be a good idea to put gaming on ESPN, I think gaming's place is online because while gaming is mainstream now, watching competitive gaming is not and just because someone is a gamer doesn't mean they'd like to watch it. I mean, I love gaming but there's no chance I'm ever going to watch a competitive gaming competition.

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Temjin001
Saturday, September 06, 2014 @ 12:02:45 PM
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what happens when video gaming becomes so advanced where we wear VR headsets while we're attached to stationary body harnesses. We'd could move and flail around playing Madden 25 (like the actual 2025 Madden ;)

We could idolize both the real athlete and then also the eAthlete guy in the VR helmet and body harness who plays the incarnation of that real athlete in the video game competitively really well.



Last edited by Temjin001 on 9/6/2014 12:03:29 PM

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duomaxwell007
Saturday, September 06, 2014 @ 12:07:13 PM
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well from what i read a sport requires physical activity where as a game/competition do not.. so by that logic racing (in cars) isnt a sport either... driving a car fast is not a physical activity.. Im not burning energy or muscle doing that.. so lets take all the NASCAR stuff off ESPN too shall we?

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, September 06, 2014 @ 12:18:59 PM

Actually, that's wrong. Race car drivers have to be in very good condition; it takes a fair amount of physical fortitude to deal with the stress and 100+ degree heat that comes with 500 laps. They may be sitting but they're not exactly driving to the grocery store.

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Temjin001
Saturday, September 06, 2014 @ 12:25:56 PM

we don't turn steer wheels, shift gears, or accelerate and decelerate with only our brains though. We PHYSICALLY manipulate them.

My hipshot definition of a sport has more to do with what you are being exposed to than what it is you're doing.
Sitting at your computer desk isn't the same as being out in a stadium having to sometimes wear body protection due to directly colliding with other atheletes. Likewise nor does it expose you to breathing cold, warm, or hot air, feeling the laws of gravity and body fatigue, sweating, lactic acid, glucose deficits, and PAIN and such acting upon you and also usually the ball or club or puck or snow or wakeboard or what have you acting upon you as well.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 9/6/2014 12:26:40 PM

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Underdog15
Saturday, September 06, 2014 @ 3:34:02 PM

I agree that racing is definitely about your physical acuity. It is absolutely not in the same league as gaming, chess, poker, etc.

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souljah92
Saturday, September 06, 2014 @ 5:13:03 PM

In regards to racing you're moving in a vehicle not sitting looking at a moving vehicle, there's actually risks other than exhaustion from staring at a screen too long

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Underdog15
Saturday, September 06, 2014 @ 3:35:29 PM
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People need to figure out there aren't enough entertaining "sports" for sport networks to fill all their time slots and still have decent ratings. They're about sports and entertainment. Competitive guy stuff makes for great filler.

The sooner people figure out not everything that lands on a sports channel is supposed to be a sport the better.

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souljah92
Saturday, September 06, 2014 @ 5:14:00 PM

Yeah like the WNBA, LOL.

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Underdog15
Saturday, September 06, 2014 @ 9:29:51 PM

Don't be dumb.

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souljah92
Sunday, September 07, 2014 @ 3:10:39 AM

lighten up lucy

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Corvo
Saturday, September 06, 2014 @ 7:27:14 PM
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hahaha a spelling bee is a sport?

I don't think fat dudes sitting around drinking mountain dew and eating chips while practicing call of duty or league or legends is a sport either, but people spelling requires intelligence, and last I checked, intelligence is not a sport its a gift. Being able to run around all day is different from someone who can cure cancer.

Why are idiots so dumb? If ya don't want gaming as a sport, don't let people advertise it as such.

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Strythe
Sunday, September 07, 2014 @ 12:37:36 PM
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Figure skating is considered a sport. It should not be. Yes it shows some athletic ability, but it's judged as a performing art, as are most gymnastic activities. None of which are sports, but all require athletic ability and physical fitness.

My personal opinion is that a sport should challenge someone to better another on a field of battle - a la (ice) hockey, football, soccer, basketball, lacrosse, tennis, even baseball. Golf... not sure how I'd qualify that, most of those guys aren't in very good shape.

eSports require mental fitness and dexterity, which are somewhat comparable to what a quarterback would use to set up plays, or a goaltender/keeper would use to predict shots/kicks. The physicality of it is lacking and that's where the waters get muddied.

Competition? Absolutely. A spelling bee is memorization, not skill. So if a spelling bee is worthy of ESPN coverage, then eSports is more than worthy. Especially considering the coverage of Poker games, billiards, and darts. Tell me eSports are less interesting, I dare you.

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PS4_Mom
Sunday, September 07, 2014 @ 4:51:40 PM
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And don't they air a lot poker matches too?

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mike rlz
Monday, September 08, 2014 @ 12:02:49 AM
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What's really sad is that hockey gets no coverage on ESPN.

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Rachet_JC_FTW
Monday, September 08, 2014 @ 12:47:27 AM
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yeah i'm with you but more than anything it is just to get gaming more mainstream i think.

happy gaming

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Legopersons
Monday, September 08, 2014 @ 1:27:58 AM
Reply

Wait a minute, ESPN has aired eSports competitions. Didn't they do a few seasons of gamers competing in Madden in different cities? And I think they did NBA 2K as well. I think the biggest difference is who endorsed the competitions. They could promote their ESPN connections with Madden and advertise for the upcoming NFL or NBA season. It all comes down to what it always comes down to for ESPN, the money.

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