e-Sports: Sports Positives

So today is the start of Super Week for the League of Legends League Championship Series (LCS). That is to say that it is the last week of the Summer Split Tournament in both North America and Europe, and as such there will be a lot more games going on this week than usual. After this week, the top six teams will be able to compete for a chance to go to the World Championships. The bottom two teams will face relegation and have to compete against Challenger level teams in order to maintain their spot moving forward next season.

Anyway, with Super Week starting up, I thought I might throw down some other thoughts I had on the potential of e-Sports, and why I think it might be even bigger in the future.

The first reason is one I just touched on in my introduction. Teams don’t stay in the pro circuit if they don’t perform. While this does add a lot of pressure to the players, I think it’s ultimately great for the players and the fans. In sports we see a lot of teams that sit in the bottom of their divisions for long periods of time. The Pittsburgh Pirates were terrible for over a decade until this season. We can find similar examples of teams with long stretches of irrelevance throughout all of the athletic sports world. Much of this has to do with how terrible the owners of these teams are. Honestly, if you view owning a team purely as a business and not as a labor of love, you shouldn’t own a team. Every team should be trying to win every year, not just padding the lining of their owner’s pockets. And the way that League of Legends is set up, that would never happen.

Since the bottom two teams are eliminated from each split, or at least have to play against the up-and-coming Challenger teams to maintain their spots. It is in everyone’s interest to make sure that every team is performing at their best. For sponsors or owners this would mean being forced to spend money to maintain good players to ensure that the team doesn’t become bad. For fans this means that you don’t have to worry about suffering through years of a team being terrible. If they’re that bad, they will quickly disappear.

The second thing I would like to touch on is more a hope for the future than a current actuality. One thing I find promising about e-Sports in general, not just League, is the ability for men and women to compete at the same time in the same sport. In athletic sports, this would be very difficult. On average, men have more muscle mass and strength. This means that male athletes are able to compete at a physical level that is higher, on average, than their female counter parts. In e-Sports this isn’t true. Games of this nature do have a physical aspect, but it has to do more with dexterity and reaction than strength, which means that the playing field is even, as these qualities don’t break down on gender lines. This means that in the future we could easily be rooting for co-ed teams, which I think would be a lot more fun. It would also lead to a greater fanbase for the sport, since anyone watching would be able to relate to the people who are playing, rather than athletic sports which cater primarily to men.

Currently there are not very many women who play e-Sports. There are several reasons for this, the biggest being that the gamer community is not a place that is kind to women, LGBT people, or even non-whites or non-Asians. Companies, sponsors, and top players are pushing to change these attitudes in the community, and I think that they will eventually succeed, but until then we probably won’t see as many female pro-gamers, not because women aren’t capable, but because there is a higher “barrier to entry” if you will.

Anyway, just some more thoughts I wanted to share. Feel free to agree or disagree and post in the comments.

Super Week starts today at 4pm. If you’ve never watched a game of competitive League before, why not start today?

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