Why is eSports classified as a sport
For years the debate has been going on as to whether e-sports should be recognized as an official sport. Esports is already recognized in more than 60 countries around the world and enjoys the same benefits as traditional sports. Furthermore, it is currently under discussion whether e-sports will become a discipline at the Olympic Games. In Germany, Austria and Switzerland there is still no recognition as a sport.
The benefits of recognition
Professional e-athletes and organizations from the field fight for recognition as a sport in order to be able to use the same advantages as traditional sports. These include, among other things, the charitable status of e-sports clubs for tax advantages, easier entry for athletes and, above all, the availability of public funding. Furthermore, the community hopes for a higher social acceptance in society through the recognition.
What speaks for it
E-sports can be compared to classic sports on many levels. E-athletes have to train regularly, perform at their best, click up to 300 times per minute and also have to train physical and mental abilities in their training. Behind the actions of the athletes there is always the intention to achieve the best possible performance. Outstanding hand and eye coordination, ability to concentrate and work in a team, mental and physical fitness are important skills that e-athletes and classic athletes are constantly trying to improve.
What speaks against it
In contrast to traditional sport, disciplines in esports are dependent on the manufacturers and publishers of the individual games. For example, while the rules for sports such as football or basketball always remain the same, in e-sports disciplines the framework conditions for the games are continuously modified through regular patches by the developers. So while classic sports are played independently and without copyright, the monetary interests of product developers are in the background in e-sports. Most players in sports reject recognition of e-sports on the grounds that physical activity only plays a subordinate role in e-sports and that the predominantly sedentary lifestyle is reinforced in our society today. Games with violent content are still classified as ethically questionable by public institutions, governments, sports actors and the general public and are cited as a counter-argument for integrating esports into traditional sport.
Chances for traditional sport
Linking esports to existing sports structures can also offer opportunities for traditional sports. Above all, new target groups and members for existing sports clubs can be developed, for example by implementing e-sports departments. E-sport also has great potential to transfer innovations and new know-how into the traditional world of sport, as well as to set impulses with target group-specific event organization, staging and marketing.
The position of Gamers Health United
Professional e-athletes are athletes. Players and clubs working on expanding and professionalizing the scene, acting on a non-profit basis and achieving good results in the competitive e-sports landscape should be eligible for funding from public funds.
So is esports a sport? In our opinion, not necessarily. A lot speaks for it, a lot speaks against it. In our eyes, esports is a category of its own. Esports has its own identity, culture, community and rules. We gamers don't need to be assigned to traditional sport at any price. We just need the same rights.
We not only have to accept social change, but also actively help shape it in the sense of “Health In All Policies”. E-sports have come to stay and there is an opportunity to create a health-promoting future for the area. E-sports can learn a lot from traditional sports and vice versa. On many levels, collaborations or mergers seem up-to-date and appropriate, I also see great opportunities for the health promotion of computer gamers in an affiliation with the traditional world of sports. As long as there are no efforts to create a legal framework for the public funding of e-sports, at least for us, the credo applies: E-sport is sport!
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