ESPN president: ‘eSports is not a sport’

One of the most powerful figures in sports broadcasting has questioned the rising legitimacy of eSports.

Re/code reports that ESPN president John Skipper has said that eSports is not a sport”, adding: It’s a competition. Chess is a competition. Checkers is a competition. Mostly, I’m interested in doing real sports.”

That’s of course despite the fact that ESPN itself is apparently looking to expand its eSports coverage following the success of the recent Dota 2 International on one of the network’s digital channels.

In June IHS Technology data revealed that 2.4bn hours of eSports were viewed throughout 2013. That’s nearly double the 1.3bn watched in 2012. Furthermore, it estimates that this will have climbed to 6.6bn hours by 2018, by which time it will be generating global revenue of $300bn per year.

As for the Dota 2 International, the winners of that competition – Chinese team Newbee – pocketed $5m of the colossal $10m total prize pool.

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