From Betting to Competition: Things Sports and eSports Have in Common

Aside from the fun of participating in sports, there’s a certain joy to watching sports as entertainment or a chance to gather with friends and family. The same is true for eSports. In a previous post, we wrote about Noah “NoahUpNxt” Johnson who made his name dominating the collegiate eSports community of Madden NFL. At just 17 years old, Johnson beat two elite players to win his first belt before going on to win a national title as a representative of West Virginia University.

For sports fans, Johnson’s trajectory may seem familiar. After all, some traditional sports athletes also get their careers started through collegiate sports. Of course, this is only one way eSports are similar to their traditional counterpart. In fact, while video games may seem too different from the world of sports, eSports can be a fun and interesting alternative. In this post, we’ll look at some of the things that sports and eSports have in common, from friendly rivalries to betting and player injuries:

Friendly competition

One of the most familiar similarities between the two would be the friendly competition and rivalries fans can find in both worlds. After all, both are great avenues for healthy competition at the highest level, whether on a field or on a gaming PC. Today, eSports rivalries are abundant across various titles and eSports genres. The better an eSports player or team is, the more likely they are to have ambitious rivals longing to beat their legacy.

Legendary League of Legends player Lee “Faker” Sang-Hyeok from T1 is much loved by long-time fans of the eSport, and is known to have various rivals throughout his career. Some of these rivalries date back to Faker’s first few years in his LoL career, like World Champion Heo “PawN” Won-seok, who sent Faker and T1 home in the quarterfinals of the 2014 Champions Korea Summer playoffs.

Similarly, many traditional sports today have decades-long rivalries that help fuel fan engagement and devotion throughout various leagues, tournaments, and championships, regardless of the sport. In terms of the NFL, for example, some of the most iconic football rivalries date back to the 1910s, like that of the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears — the two oldest teams in NFL history. Of course, some healthy competition and rivalry can go a long way. To date, the two teams have more wins than any other teams in NFL history, boasting a combined 22 NFL championship wins and 67 Hall of Famers.

Betting culture

Another similarity between eSports and traditional sports is its thriving betting culture. Aside from watching tournaments and cups live, many sports fans enjoy placing bets on their favorite teams as a way to make some extra money while upping the stakes and making the viewing experience more intense. The same can be said for eSports fans. In fact, some sports betting platforms today offer eSports betting options.

Of course, due to how eSports works, some key differences exist when placing bets for both. As outlined by these eSoccer betting tips, bettors should pay attention to the eSports teams and players and their performances to guide their betting strategy. This includes knowing how real-world results will have an impact on in-game player stats, so players should be aware of how the real sport affects the digital one. Depending on the eSports title, some betting odds may also differ from sports betting. While most sports betting is outcome-oriented in that bettors place bets on which team will win, eSports betting odds and lines may include predicting specific scorelines or round differentials.

Another difference is that eSoccer — like most other eSports — is available all year round. While some traditional sports are seasonal, like soccer and American football, eSports aren’t reliant on weather conditions and location. As such, for sports bettors who may not enjoy waiting around for the next football season to start, eSports can be a nice and convenient alternative for the off-season.

Injuries and fatigue

Finally, another crucial similarity between eSports and sports is the unfortunate incidents when players and athletes aren’t able to play for their teams due to injury or health conditions. While playing video games may seem vastly different compared to playing sports on a field or court, injuries in eSports are surprisingly common. Scientific research suggests that gaming may affect one’s physical and mental health.

Many eSports athletes suffer from conditions like eye fatigue, neck and back pain, and wrist and hand pain. During the Covid pandemic, many eSports teams had to have matches postponed or substitutes put in due to positive cases. As you may guess, injuries and health conditions can impact the outcome of a team as much as they do traditional sports athletes.

Of course, injuries and fatigue are nothing new to traditional sports athletes, regardless of the sport. Aside from risking getting hurt during matches, players are also vulnerable to physical and mental hurt during training. After all, playing and competing at the highest level can be grueling, even for the most experienced athletes.

Ultimately, while seemingly worlds apart, there are a lot of similarities between eSports and its traditional counterpart. With an open mind, sports fans may find that the eSports scene can still be interesting and an entertaining alternative.

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