When youngsters speak about Tyler Blevins and his Twitch gaming streams, they talk about him like he is Wayne Gretsky, Tom Brady, or LeBron James. They analyze his moves in Fortnite, they quote his stats, and they try to copy his moves and tactics to be as good as him. Nowadays, it is estimated that 70 million eSports fans will watch an eSports final, which is a higher viewership than sports such as baseball and ice hockey. In this article, we are going to compare eSports ice hockey with the real thing.
Should eSports Be Considered as Real Sports?
This is a question that has caused plenty of debate down the years, so this is what we are going to have a look at to start with as it is pretty interesting.
Sport is defined as an activity that involves physical skill and exertion in which a team or individual compete against each other for entertainment. While eSports obviously need more mental exertion than physical exertion, this definition does provide a solid platform for the argument that eSports are real sports.
A good thing to do is look at other activities that are more mentally focused and still classified as a sport. Chess is a very good example to use here. It is a very competitive game, and despite the fact that there is little physical activity needed, players need to have great mental skills to stay one step ahead of their competitors. This is the same with eSports where basic motor skills and cerebral skills are needed to defeat rivals.
Just like any other sportsmen and women, eSport athletes spend hours mastering their game and perfecting the necessary skills. Some eSports players train up to 15 hours a day, improving their reaction time and sharpening their reflexes. Yellowstar, who is a popular eSports athlete, says eSports are similar to sports because if you perform well, you will get plenty of praise. If you make a mistake, you can have a negative impact on your team and get plenty of blame.
What is the counterargument to this? If you look at the industry overall, it operates in the same way any other sport does in terms of global reach, popularity, revenue, and sponsorship. However, to athletes who have spent their whole life pushing themselves to the limits to master skills and build strength, eSports is something that they will never consider to be on the same level as real sports. Unlike ith traditional sports where participants are born with skills or physical attributes that they can improve, eSports players all start on the same level with the same pieces of software. This is another reason why many say eSports should not be considered real sports.
Whether eSports should be considered a sport or not is always going to be debated, but one thing that cannot be debated is that eSports are becoming more popular than a variety of sports. It is estimated that there are around 500 million eSports fans across the world, and this number is only going to increase. In the US, it is now believed that eSports has more viewers than all professional sports leagues apart from the NFL. It is estimated that 84 million people in the US follow eSports, while just 32 million follow the NHL, which is the biggest ice hockey league in the world.
Betting on Both of Them
Sports betting is something that makes up 30-40% of the world’s gambling market, and it has been estimated that more than $500 billion is placed on sports each year. When you look at a list of the most popular sports that people bet on, you will not find ice hockey on it since this is really quite a niche sport. While sports such as football and horse racing are enjoyed in many countries around the world, ice hockey is popular in Canada, America, Croatia, Czech Republic, Latvia, Finland, Russia, Sweden, Slovakia, and Switzerland.
However, you will find eSports on the list of most popular sports that people bet on, and its increased popularity means that bookies, such as the ones that you can find at suomiveikkaus.com, have to quickly adapt or fall behind. While finding exact betting figures for ice hockey betting and ice hockey eSports betting is not as easy as we would like, we do not think it is wrong for us to assume that more money is spent betting on real-life hockey than eSports hockey simply due to the fact that the latter has not been around for so long. However, we do not think that this will be the case for much longer though.
Why Might People Prefer Ice Hockey eSports to the Real Thing?
Ice hockey entered the world of eSports back in 2018 when the very first NHL Gaming World Championship was held. Nowadays, there are other big ice hockey eSports competitions such as the IIHF Esports Championship and there are even ice hockey eSports tournaments that fans can participate in, which we think is really cool. In 2020, fans of countries that qualified for the 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship were given the chance to win the right to represent their country at an international eSports tournament.
More and more sports are entering the eSports market because they are realizing just how lucrative it can be, but can this be to the detriment of the real sport? Why might people prefer to play ice hockey eSports rather than the real thing?
Well, one of the main things that attract ice hockey fans to ice hockey eSports is the fact that it gives them the chance to play as some of their favorite players. Video games allow us to escape reality and gives us the opportunity to be the most idolized sportsmen and women in the world. Most of us cannot be like Wayne Gretsky on the ice, but thanks to eSports, we can pretend we are them for a period of time.
Another reason why people might prefer ice hockey eSports to the real thing is accessibility. To play ice hockey you need to spend money on all the necessary equipment such as ice skates, a helmet, a stick, and all the pads. You also need to find an ice rink where you can play as well as enough people to make up two teams.
Also, the cost involved is something that can put people off from attending real-life hockey events. If you Google the cost of going to watch an ice hockey game in the US, you will see that the average ticket cost stands at $94. So, if you are going to watch an NHL match with your family, it will cost a pretty penny, when all the additional costs are added in such as travel expenses and refreshments. Even if you stay home and watch the matches on your TV, you will still be paying a few hundred dollars a year for the privilege. Unless, of course, you manage to stream it illegally.
When it comes to eSports tournaments, if you want to go to a venue to watch the action live, a ticket will probably cost somewhere in the region of $10-20. Also, when you are watching from home, you can find plenty of action on Twitch, which is free to watch. You will also sometimes find the tournament being streamed from YouTube. If you do have to pay to watch an eSports tournament stream, the cost will be minimal.