Ready, set, esports!

Now approved by AIA, some question legitimacy



Gamers compete at the Total War Arena Gamescon last year

Skylar Brown, Staff Writer

Esports, also known as electronic sports, are video game competitions and an ever-growing option for clubs on campuses worldwide–and now are being sanctioned statewide by the AIA.

According to the Arizona Interscholastic Association Executive Board’s last meeting minutes, “The main reasons state associations are considering adding this is to help control the club level sports, recruiting and to keep them under the high school association bylaws.”

Last year, NDP had its own eSports Club with seniors Chandler Cook and Matthew Herrera as leaders and Mr. Mulligan as its moderator.

“Esports are becoming more and more popular because younger generations play video games and big brands, as well as some sports teams, are taking part in buying different esports teams and organizations.” said Chandler.

There has even been recent debate on whether or not esports will one day be added into the Olympics as a competitive sport.

According to the International eSports Federation, “Paris 2024 Olympic organizers are ‘deep in talks’ about including esports as a demonstration sport at the Games.” Many believe that esports should be added to the Games because of their global audience and ever growing popularity.

On the other hand, many argue that esports should not be added to the Olympics. They say that the Olympics are for upcoming athletes who love the sport, not for already successful professionals in the sport itself. There are many ways in which the game can be “cheated” and it is not a fast-paced, physical sport like most others in the Olympics.

Mark Cisterna, NDP’s athletic director and an AIA executive board member, said that there is such big talk about esports being added to the Olympics because it is a “popularity that people are buying into.” And that it might only be added on a trial basis, not full time.

In the eSports Club last year, the members would “discuss different jobs in the industry and get together outside of school and have their own competitions in various games.” said Chandler.

According to Cody Streifel-Gollon, NDP track and diver athlete as well as avid gamer, esports “are a cool idea and it gives people an opportunity to express themselves in a way that most people couldn’t.”

Esports are often organized video game competitions, mostly between professional players. These events are often live streamed and viewed by millions from around the world.

According to Chandler, these professional video gamers are playing for money. “The most popular esport games are League of Legends, Counter Strike, and Dota,” he said.

The average annual salary for a professional in the esports industry is about $60,000. Pro-gamer, Kuro Takhasomi, a Dota 2 player, has the current highest salary in the esports world at more than 3 million dollars a year, according to Julian Krinsky Camps and Programs, a college summer camp in sports, arts, academics and pre-college.

Esports teams can make money through different tournaments held around the world, regular salaries depending on the team and player, big name sponsors and online streaming in order to supplement their salary.

“Although the definition of a sport is any activity including physical exertion, esports still requires team collaboration and strategy like many other sports; so it should be considered a sport.” said Cody.

What’s next for the world of esports? It is too early to tell, but it is on a continual exponential curve due to its growing popularity. Who knows, maybe in 2024 esports will make its first debut in the Paris Olympics.