In the past, passionate gamers were told to get out of their parent’s basement and into the job market. Today, they join competitive teams and are even drug tested before competitions. This year, an old-fashioned attitude towards passive sports is crumbling to reveal the new face of what may be the future of “athletics”. Competitive gaming, known as e-sports, are lifting the collective conception of sporting off of the AstroTurf and onto the internet.
The United States has not received the idea of competitive sports well: when the US government was petitioned in April to accept competitive gamers as players of “legitimate” sports, the response of congress was lukewarm. Even so, the market has had a much warmer welcome with Buffalo Wild Wings letting patrons know they’ll be able to watch the E-League finals from their restaurants this year, causing much applause from the online gaming community. Users on Reddit agree that eSports will boost business for local restaurants, but that sports bars and restaurants should be more consistent in hosting events like E-League.
The highly positive response to E-League being featured on the screens of a mainstream sports bar like Buffalo Wild Wings should garner some attention, and get more people involved in the sport. Should that kind of momentum continue to carry into the future, the west may finally be able to catch up to China’s already considerable investment in electronic gaming, and compete on even ground internationally.