The President of ESPN said yesterday that he does not consider eSports such as League of Legends and Dota real sports. Instead he classified them as competition. I would tend to agree with him except that his very network also hosts the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Last time I checked a spelling contest is not a sport. It is not his definition of sports that bothers me, it is his blatant hypocrisy. ESPN also shows the World Series of Poker and billiards. The final nail in the coffin is that ESPN showed the Dota International tournament (an eSports tournament with a prizes this year of over $10 million). ESPN showed a competition that it does not consider a sport on a sports network. If the President of ESPN wants to have a stringent definition of sport fine, but do not be so hypocritical in practice.
I loosely define sports as any contest where a person does most of the work in the contest. This makes auto racing and horse racing not sports. This does not mean I do not think they are hard. Those activities are incredibly difficult but the car and horse do most of the work respectively. I am less confident in my definition when moving to more competitions and less “mainstream” sports. In eSports, poker, billiards and spelling bees a person does most of the work. A person is also required to put in huge amount of practice to master their craft and eventually must compete against other people. With those being the parameters for sports I would argue that stock trading may also be classified as a sport. The US government is taking a more liberal definition of sport as well. They have offered eSports gamers sports visas which is a huge step in defining eSports legally, as a sport.
In light of ESPN’s recent comments I realize that I may also be hypocritical in my definition of sports. However, unlike ESPN I am willing to recognize my hypocrisy and modify my definition of sport.