Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes ofwebsite accessibilityPopularity of esports sparks debate -- are participants athletes? | KECI
Close Alert

Popularity of esports sparks debate -- are participants athletes?

Facebook Share IconTwitter Share IconEmail Share Icon
Comment bubble

More than 250 million people participate in esports, and that number continues to grow, according to Syracuse University online. Those staggering numbers have esports players and one esports coach sparking the debate -- are esports athletes considered athletes?

Jimmy Stauder is the University of Montana’s esports coach, and he believes certain skills make you an athlete.

“One comparison I like to make is with NASCAR, which people can debate is a sport or not. But the same skills that are applied to NASCAR are the same that we apply to in a team-oriented sense,” said Stauder.

As esports popularity grows, Stauder says it goes along with what he’s been saying since he took over as head coach:

“Whether you want to call gaming a sport, whatever, that doesn’t matter, but more people play video games than play sports,” says Stauder.

With similar skillsets such as reflexology and cognitive thinking, Stauder believes esports athletes know how to compete and win just like stick and ball athletes.

“I think it’s a little different than other sports in some ways. You don’t have to be the strongest guy in the world, but you’ve got to have physical traits that are more important,” said Stauder.

Now that UM is offering scholarships, Stauder believes the university is lightyears ahead of the competition.

“This is a bigger deal than what people may initially think -- let’s give it a shot. And we’re grateful for the university to give us a chance to see how it works, and I think we’ve proven it to be successful,” said Stauder.

More money is being paid out for esports tournaments, and now gamers are comparable to basketball and baseball players and in some cases make more than those athletes.

But the debate continues -- athlete or not?

Comment bubble

Loading ...