ESPN Says eSports Isn't a Sport -- What Do You Think?
"It's a competition."
It might have the word "sports" right there in the title, but according to ESPN's president, playing professional League of Legends and Dota 2 isn't the same as playing professional football or basketball.
“It’s not a sport—it’s a competition. Chess is a competition. Checkers is a competition,” ESPN president John Skipper said at Re/code's Code/Media Series: New York conference when asked to comment on Amazon's $1 billion acquisition of Twitch. “Mostly, I’m interested in doing real sports.”
It's a surprisingly dismissive position coming from the president of the company that just a month ago partnered with Valve to stream the $10 million Dota 2 world championship tournament The International on ESPN 3, the cable television network's online branch.
It's also not the same position as that of the United States Government, which last year recognized League of Legends players as professional athletes.
It'll be interesting to see if Skipper's position is reflected in ESPN's programming. From a strictly business perspective, there's certianly money to be made by airing eSports. According to a recent report from IHS Technology, 2.4 billion hours of eSports were viewed during 2013, and the eSports video market will be worth $300 million annually by 2018.
We've reached out to ESPN for comment and will update this story with anything we hear back.
Do you think eSports is a real sport? Let us know in the comments below.
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