E-sports: The growing culture


Professional gamers have been given the nod from the U.S. government.

Last year, Washington granted professional e-sports players athletic visas that will allow foreign competitors to easily enter the country for tournaments. But for a league that calls itself e-sports, is it really a sport?

Over the past 14 years, e-sports have risen up to become a dominant force in the entertainment world. With million-dollar tournaments on the line, e-sports have taken on a life of their own.

But as competitive gaming grow in population in the entertainment world, the debate rages whether or not these contests should be called sports.

“I find e-sports fascinating and very interesting,” said Jim Flack, athletic director/head coach of men’s basketball at Sheridan College. “But I don’t think it falls under the guise of recreational sports.”

Professional athletes train every day sharpening their skills. But do e-sports players?

Pro gamer George Georgallidis, better known as HotshotGG, was the original founder of Counter Logic Gaming, a professional League of Legends team based in London, Ont. His mother Helen Georgallidis, the former CEO of CLG, says his training was rigorous.

“George would spend hours and hours playing the game to get better. And the whole of CLG did,” said Georgallidis. “Then you see Koreans at the top of their game training at 14 hours a day.”

Although there may not be a lot of physical fitness required to be a professional gamer, there is the stress and mental fatigue that takes a toll on players.

“George actually hooked up a heart monitor to himself while he was streaming, and you could see his heart was racing,” said Georgallidis. “But it certainly takes a toll, they are finding out that players need personal trainers that make them run and exercise to keep in shape.”

The debate of what classifies as a sport has been going on for decades. Back in the 70s there was a discussion of whether or not chess players like Bobby Fisher should be considered athletes.

“Fisher was an international superstar,” said Flack. “But just like e-sports players, they were not athletes.”

Despite the determination of the professional gamers, there’s still a stigma against e-sports and the idea of them being considered in the same league as professional athletes.

“It’s not a sport, it’s a competition. Chess is a competition. Checkers is a competition,” said ESPN president John Skipper, according to an article on recode.net. ESPN did however air the Defense of the Ancients 2 championship.

Although sports television stations have given up on e-sports, it still remains a dominant presence online. With tournaments gathering millions of views on websites such as Twitch.tv and tv.majorleaguegaming.com, it doesn’t seem like e-sports needs the approval of anyone.

And like professional athletes, e-sports players are sponsored by Fortune 500 companies to represent their brands.

Most recently, Coca-Cola has partnered with Riot, the developers of League of Legends, over the NFL Super Bowl. The company feels it will help them reach their targeted demographic more than regular sporting events could.

It might take big corporations like Coca-Cola to push the legitimization of e-sports.


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With the growing popularity in e-sports, the Sheridan Sun took a look into some of the aspects of them. With the rise in viewership, tournaments held for games such as League of Legends now get more viewers then sporting events that have been around for decades. We also took a look at how the average length as a pro gamer’s career stacks up against those of the NHL and NFL. The Sun also compared the average annual income between gamers and athletes. The overall verdict? E-sports and other sports are not too different from each other.


The average career earnings of athletes across America’s major sports will shock you