Should professional gaming be considered a sport?
Professional gaming has gained a lot of viewers in the last few years. League of legends viewing has gone from a small gathering to the Seoul football stadium packed with space for 66,000 people and getting around 270,000 people watching online through a stream, the year before, 32 million people watched (http://www.theverge.com/2013/11/19/5123724/league-of-legends-world-championship-32-million-viewers). Dota 2 has a similar following, with the last professional tournament getting 250,000 people watching through a stream and the tournament was held in Seattle, Washington, with a prize pool of just over $10,000,000 (http://dota2.gamepedia.com/The_International_2014). Prize pools range anywhere from $20,000 per tournament to $10,000,000. The last League of Legends world finals had a prize pool of $2,130,000, 1 million going to the winning team.. The 1 million is split between the 5 team members on the team. To get to the level to play in these tournaments, you need to train for hours a day, making it a full time job. The amount of time players put into becoming the best is incredible, some people going for 10 hours of training a day. The US government now recognizes professional League of Legends players as athletes, giving them visas to go to the country and work. The boss of ESPN, even though Dota 2 was streamed on their channel ESPN3, said “It’s not a sport – it’s a competition. Chess is a competition. Checkers is a competition….Mostly, I’m interested in doing real sports” (http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2014/09/07/espn-boss-declares-esports-not-a-sport/) He wasn’t thinking then about the 32 million people who play League of Legends when he said this. That number was only in 2011 as well. As of 2014, there are 27 million players daily, with 67 million players monthly. Obviously, this is a huge number, and that should not be taken lightly when saying such things about something a lot of people care...
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