Up for Debate: Are eSports fans also Sports fans?

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Rocket League

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With the surging rise of eSports and eSports leagues, there is a general debate on whether eSports are actually a sport in their own right. With lots of games emulating certain sporting programs and leagues, the discussion becomes more and more relevant each day. But today I don’t want to talk about the actual Leagues or competitors within them, instead I want to focus on the audience, or the fans so to speak.

Gamers and Sportspeople (is that how you call them?) aren’t exactly always considered in the same field. But the audience members are totally different. What I want to know is: can eSports fans enjoy watching sports just as much? Or what about sports fans? Can they enjoy eSports just as much?

Let’s take Rocket League for example: essentially it’s soccer… but with cars. So are Rocket League fans secretly fans of normal football/soccer? Personally I couldn’t care less about football, which is probably why I’m not that interested in Rocket League. But I’m wondering if there are any Rocket League fans out there who are not interested in normal football (I say normal football but I mean soccer without cars, which is just soccer. Great now the word soccer sounds weird to me. Soccer, soccer, soccer. See? Wait what were we talking about again?). Alternatively if I got a die-hard footie fan in my room and put Rocket League in front of them would they enjoy it just as much as FIFA? Or would I just have a drunk in my house singing strange chants? How long will it be until we’ve got Rocket League away fans throwing bikes in Dutch canals and smashing up cafes?

There’s an interesting line between eSports and… well, sports. Whilst eSports allow for a level of engagement and unique imagination unbound by real-world limitations, many people in the sports industry are now heavily interested in eSports. Maybe we can finally have eSports widely recognised as an actual sporting event with just as real stakes and struggles. Or maybe eSports should be classed differently, essentially isolating itself in its own field of expertise and training, which would essentially be reflected by how many of the fans are into both sports and eSports.

It’s an interesting one to think about and I would be very intrigued to know how many of you are just as interested in both, or how many of you are bigger fans of either one!