Even amidst the rise in popularity of electronic sports, or eSports, people remain unsure as to whether it can really be considered a "sport."
eSports refers to competitive computer gaming whose competitions once just filled small rooms. Now, a football stadium is needed to host eSports championships, and the sports earnings of professional gamers have exceeded even that of the Superbowl.
An example is this year's Defence of the Ancients (DOTA) 2 prize pool, which reached more than $10 million, compared to the prize money for the Superbowl, which was only at $8.5 million, according to News Network Australia.
eSports' fan-base has also grown, which is evident in the 2014 League of Legends World Championships that attracted 40,000 fans to Sangam Stadium in Seoul, while over millions of viewers watched the games online, BBC News reported.
Contrary to assumptions that these gamers and eSports fans are young, single males living in their parents basement, a study has shown that more than half of American eSports fans are employed full time, 44 percent are parents and, perhaps most surprising, 38 percent are women, according to ESPN.
Beyond the rise in monetary value for professional eSports players and the growing number of fans, those who believe that eSports can come at par with traditional sports also argue that the strategy planning, skill requirements and physical training of eSports players are just as important to winning as it is for traditional sports players.
In eSports, coaches are present and highly regarded, game plays are studied, and strategies can make or break a victory. Also, following the logic that a fit body ensures an active mind, eSports players also dedicate a few hours of their days to exercise and keep their bodies in shape, especially because for the rest of the day, they are seated in front of the computer screen. They also make sure they eat healthy meals, Tweak Town reported.
The answer to the question as to whether eSports can now be considered a "real sport" still remains unanswered because governing bodies have not made official declarations. However, most eSports fans believe it's a sport, while most traditional sports player say it's not.