COMMENT:

Is Fortnite a sport? The answer quite clearly is yes.

E-sports, accept it or otherwise, is here to stay. They attract millions of participants, similar numbers of spectators and now, after witnessing the first ever Fortnite World Cup at Flushing Meadow in New York on the weekend, the sort of prize-money many other self-called sports would love to call their own.

But does all that still qualify as a sport?

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Your standard dictionary definition pigeonholes "sport" as something like "an activity involving physical exertion AND skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment".

I've deliberately highlighted the word "and" in that sentence because to me it defines exactly what this debate is about. For a lot of us (self-styled) old-school type grunters, the whole is-it-or-isn't-it argument revolves around whether there's enough of both the effort and exertion involved to qualify Fortnite as a sport as opposed to being just a game. And then I suppose if it does qualify as a sport should it then be also included in discussions such as eventual inclusion at the Olympics.

Is Fortnite a sport? The answer quite clearly is yes. Photo / Getty
Is Fortnite a sport? The answer quite clearly is yes. Photo / Getty

Of course that is an entirely different proposition and one based mainly these days on revenue-earning opportunities as opposed to any altruistic reasons for enhancing those original ideals of Faster, Stronger, Higher. I've long argued against newbies like tennis and golf being added to the quad-annual epic purely because any sport where its own individual honours (being majors and grand Slams) remain more highly prized than a gold medal only devalues the thing, not enhances it.

E-sports I'm sure would not just love the chance to be included at the Olympics, but thrive on it. And in a world where everything is geared towards attracting likes, clicks and the generations whose lives depend on those things for personal self-fulfilment, then surely it's only a matter of time before these games are added.

And that's the point. Yes they tick many of the definitive boxes but but are these electronic sports actually sports?

Concentration, dedication, application all delivered in spades. It's just that old chestnut called physicality that remains under question. But as Fortnite and similar other past-times increase exponentially in popularity I wonder whether the sitting down screen focused part will become less and less relevant. It's all about numbers playing, size of the audience watching and the potential revenue to be generated.

For all of us who remain confused, opposed, out-of-touch, refusing to engage, watch, be interested or wanting to play, e-sports is part of the professional landscape now, increasing in influence and here to stay.