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