When we look at the plethora of sports we have at our disposal, we cannot really say that we have invented something new in the past fifty years. Some would go as far as to say that no radical change has occurred in over a century. It’s not that there is anything particularly wrong with the sports we have; however, due to the development of technology, some new forms of entertainment have occurred, one of the most notable being esports. Is it something that we are able to integrate with existing sports, and can football find its future in this new world of digital entertainment?
What are esports?
The term ‘esports’ is a shortened form of the phrase electronic sports, which is used to denote various kinds of digital events and competitions that take place between players, who are usually professionals. This term is not used for digital and video game versions of traditional sports –any game can be considered an eSport, if it is played competitively, regardless of the topic or genre it deals with. The earliest type of eSport competition took place in 1972, at Stanford University. However, these tournaments today usually take place online.
Is football threatened by esports?
In short, yes it is. Professional sports have definitely changed from what they used to be only half a century ago. Many retired professional athletes do not have a positive opinion of professional sports today. As the science progressed, athletes were able to train, feed, and build their bodies in order to extract the maximum performance, and it isn’t always for the better. Injuries are a very common occurrence, and there are even some examples of athletes committing suicide because they were unable to deal with chronic pain from their sports injuries.
Is there money in esports?
The beginnings of esports, as far as beginnings go, were not very profitable. Prizes were not large; however, that has definitely changed. For example, the prize for winning the International DOTA2 Tournament in 2016 was a whopping 20 million dollars, almost double the prize pool for the Super Bowl! Judging by the steady rise in the amounts of money spent on esports, it is safe to assume that in the future, large tournaments will have prize pools that will be able to rival the biggest sports events on the planet, like the UEFA Champions League.
Is esports really the future of football?
There are numerous reasons for and against esports. Opponents would probably argue that the atmosphere of a real football game is unparalleled, especially when it is compared to people sitting at their computers. However, esports do, in some aspects, provide a healthier alternative for players, as there are far fewer situations in which the players might become injured. We have also seen that with every passing year, esports bring in more and more prize money, which could financially jeopardize classical sports. However, even if football is entirely replaced by esports, would it really be so bad for the spectators?