Whether you’ve been a dedicated gamer for years or simply enjoy casual sessions in your free time, you’ve no doubt heard of Esports. One of the biggest sectors shaking up the gaming industry in recent years, Esports is a form of competitive gaming that sees professional players compete against opponents either individually, or in teams.
As Esports grows in popularity, many have begun to consider whether the activity should actually be considered a ‘sport’, as its name suggests. One fact that supports this argument is the similarities between Esports players and athletes that compete in more conventional leagues such as the NFL, NBA, or EFL. Although it may seem like these two parties have little in common, this is not the case. From the way they train, to the fanbase surrounding them, both Esports competitors and their traditional athletic counterparts share many qualities. In this article we take a look at some of the biggest similarities between the two. Who knows – after reading this you may be persuaded to take Esports more seriously.
Intense Training Regimes are the Norm
We’ve all heard of the phrase, ‘practice makes perfect’ and this could not be truer in the world of sports. All athletes, whether amateur or professional, can’t compete to the best of their ability if they have not spent adequate time on the practice field. Just like regular sports players, Esports players must prepare themselves to perform competitively. The only real difference here lies in the manner in which the two types of athletes do so.
For example, basketball players normally hit the court multiple times a week, running through drills with their teammates and practicing certain plays. Physical exercises may include lunges, squats, and pullups, while weight training is also important. On the other hand, Esports players keep themselves busy by working on their reflexes and response times. Since many games are first-person shooter titles, Esports competitors must have elite hand eye coordination, and rapid finger movement. Although the way they train is focused on the development of distinct skill-sets, both athletic pursuits require a significant amount of practice.
Both Groups Compete with Fans Present
It’s no secret that fans are what drives much of the sports industry’s lucrative nature. When it comes to both Esports and traditional sports, massive audiences of loyal fans follow players to the ends of the earth. In fact, Esports tournaments are often held in huge, multi-purpose sports stadiums and see thousands of spectators cheering on their favorite players. Sports like hockey, football, and baseball also have annual competitions and seasonal games that sell out arenas around the world.
Additionally, betting is a common practice in both athletic fields, as fans take to virtual platforms to place wagers ahead of important match ups. Online sports betting for traditional sports is currently taking off in places like the U.S. as more lawmakers begin to legalize the activity in their states. This has caused more and more providers to pop up throughout the web, offering promotions such as risk-free bets to new and existing customers. Little is different in the world of Esports, as the growing number of premium leagues is leading to greater investment and spectator interest, causing the market to grow exponentially.
In the future, the rates of spectatorship in Esports are only expected to grow, causing a steady increase in the availability of betting platforms as well. One thing’s for certain – if you attend a live competition in either sport and close your eyes to hear only the fan’s cheers around you, both audiences are sure to deliver loud cries of support for the teams they support.
Communication is Crucial for Success
Like any team sport, communication is a hugely important factor that can either drive success or produce failure. In the same way that members of a football team are constantly communicating with their teammates out on the pitch, Esports competitors must embrace teamwork and speak verbally to each other throughout gameplay. This has resulted in the arrival of gaming jargon that is Esports-specific. For instance, a ‘carry’ refers to a player that is protected by the rest of their team with the intention of pulling a surprise attack on the opponent, while ‘man on’ is the call that one player makes to another to warn them that an opposing force is close by.
Likewise there is a wealth of jargon utilized in traditional leagues. In the NFL, any single game is packed full of specialist terms that players use to communicate the state of play. After all, when you’re in the heat of the moment trying to score a goal no one has time for long sentences.
Players Have Celebrity Status
As stated before, both groups are widely followed by fans around the world. This has caused them to retain celebrity status in their respective circles. Esports players are well-known on different streaming sites like Twitch which give them a platform to share their talent. Additionally, events like the annual Esports Awards bring further attention to those in the professional gaming scene.
Traditional sports stars have massive followings on social media and are recognized in public wherever they go. At live tournaments and games, Esports players are flooded with media attention and requests for photographs, as their fans just want a small opportunity to get up close and personal with the professional gamers they know and love. This is no different in traditional sports, as backstage passes and VIP seats are highly sought after.
Hefty Salaries and Endorsement Deals
Last but not least, Esports players and traditional sports players both take home considerably salaries. In fact, the monetary rewards for winning at Esports tournament actually rivals those of standard professional sports organizations. These prize pools are so large that pro gamers have the opportunity to double their yearly earnings with just one victory. In both sports, endorsements and sponsorships are the norm, as huge brands like BMW, Coca-Cola, Red Bull and many more look to invest.
So, there you have it. Perhaps now you can see how closely intertwined players of Esports and traditional sports really are, despite their surface-level differences.