“Esports is not a sport,” says the British Esports Association

3 min read


There’s still a fair bit of debate over whether esports should be classed as regular sports. Competitive videogames have certainly gained legitimacy over the last few years, with events that rival the pomp, ceremony and spectacle of traditional sporting ones. While that legitimacy can’t be questioned, esports’ standing still is.

Is esports sport? Not according to the British esports Association.

“Esports is not a sport, but a credible activity in its own right,” the British Esports Association says, trying to put paid to the argument.

Many, notably those involved in esport, want it to be classified in much the same way as traditional sport. It would, for starters, open competitive videogames up to some of the funding that sports like Football, rugby and cricket enjoy in the UK. There, as it is here in South Africa, it is put in the same class as mind sports like Chess, Bridge and even Poker (which is subject to the same sorts of debate).

British esports association founder and CEO Chester King has weighed in.

“I can see why there is a bit of confusion as millions of people play and watch esports; there are many professional teams, managers, coaches and tournaments. There is no international standard classification either as in some countries such as Poland, esports, chess and bridge are classified as sports.

The ‘sport’ in esports may be misleading, but like traditional sports, competitive video gaming involves training, long-term dedication, determination, exceptional skills and reaction times, teamwork and coordination, and fun for all the spectators, casters, commentators and fans involved.”

Instead of debating, King argues that it’s time to stop trying to compare esport to sport, and look at it on its own merits.

“It’s time to get away from the ‘esports isn’t a sport’ debate and start realising esports’ true benefits and potential.

Whether or not esports is or is not a sport does not change the fact that the esports industry has enormous creative potential. We must educate audiences to realise its benefits, such as gaining cyber skills and the many career paths it offers, like becoming a professional player, commentator, journalist, manager, or coach.”

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Last Updated: March 30, 2017

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Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I’m old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time – they were capable of being masterpieces. I’m here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • Holden ZA


    and that’s why we shouldn’t strictly apply the sports model to esports.

    Things like regional qualification simply doesn’t work in the bigger picture at the pro-level.

    *looks at MSSA*

    • @SargonDotA2


  • HvR

    Think it is an important debate way much than this guy realise.

    Out of the crucial point of visas and tax and legal implication winning prize money when competing in another country.

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    It’s 3/4s moisturising cream.

  • so instead of eSports we now need to call them eActivities?

    • Lu


    • Skittle


      • NEVER

        • Magoo


          • MonsterCheddar


        • MonsterCheddar


  • Magoo

    I believe 100% that esports are sports. Give me the definition of “sport”, using football as an example, then show me how that definition does not translate into DOTA or CS:GO with the exact same mechanics.

    I think that most have already accepted it.

    • Sports require strenuous physical activity.. it’s why eSports will never be classified as a sport.

      Sports are measured on athletic ability, esports are measured on mental ability.

      • HvR

        But sports like golf, sailing, equestrian and one of the 9 original modern Olympic sports sharp shooting also does not have strenuous physical activity.

      • Magoo

        Esports can be physically enduring, just not as strenuously. But then what about archery, hunting, chess – none of these are classified as sports?

      • Captain JJ

        Originally sport merely meant “entertainment” but the definition has shifted a lot since then. And for obvious reasons.
        But if you were to base an argument on the word’s etymology then Esport should be acceptable.

      • miaau

        And that is why sex is not seen as a sport, it requires both physical AND mental prowess.

        Err, um. Ok. Dunno how that just slipped out. Um.

  • Captain JJ

    It’s a bloody name. Call it snu snu. Just fkn get over this and get on with life.
    I get the classification is the important thing, but the name itself is made a very big deal about.

    • SOCO is REAL whiskey!

      • Captain JJ


        • …oh esports


          • HvR

            No embrace your non-conformist brony ways, call it esporTs

      • MonsterCheddar

        Okay Otto…If that thought makes you happy.

      • Lu

        Anyone wanna help me club a seal?

        • miaau

          are you a fully paid up member of the seal club club club?

          • Lu

            Took me a minute to properly register that. Well played.

  • MonsterCheddar

    I thought we are spelling it eSpOrTs now. Or was it EsPoRtS?

    • HvR

      Only if they allow camels to participate

  • yup. it ain’t a sport.

  • Craig “CrAiGiSh” Dodd

    I wish I was an esports athlete … beating women off of me with my gamer glove …

  • Neon Voice

    What separates sports and competitive gaming is, sacrifice. Gaming doesn’t have any stakes like sports does. Sports stakes are physical and/or economical. Gaming doesn’t require sacrifice, therefore no real determination. You go home and reset, no pun intended. In sports you are physically and mentally punished during training and during the contest itself and after. That’s why losing in sports is so, soul crushing. You’ve put your blood, sweat and tears into winning and it wasn’t good enough. That can be debilitating. Sports is also, way more expensive to compete professionally or even recreationally, sometimes. Majority of athletes did not have full time jobs and were in dire straights. Most often they are scraping by just to get their foot in the door. It could take years or even nearly a lifetime to be able to even compete. Sports is a make it or break it medium, while pro gaming is for hobbyists who have too much time to waste.

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