Sports and Esports: Similarities between popular mainstream sports and esports titles

Shounak Sengupta

24th, Sep, 2018

Cover Image source: @ESL

The age-old esports vs sports debate looks to be far from over but the popularity of esports, especially with the new generations is something that is hard to ignore. While esports has made significant leaps and bounds as a competitive genre, it’s haters still fail to come to terms with the core spirit of any competition. Team spirit, player storylines, passion and fandom are all common aspects of both and with esports’ inclusion in the Asian Games and talks of it being at the Olympics, it’s no longer something that people can dismiss so easily. Here we take a look at 3 popular esports and their similarities between some of the world’s more popular, mainstream sports.

Counter-Strike and Football

When it comes to sports football is without a doubt the biggest and most popular sport out there and it seems fitting that we compare it to the oldest and most recognizable of esports titles, Counter-Strike.

  • What makes the games incredibly similar is simplicity. Both games are incredibly simple to watch, easy on the eye and you don’t really have to know a lot about the game to appreciate it or be entertained.

  • Even the elements of both games are quite easy to understand. One involving two teams and a ball and the other involving two teams going at each other with guns. The FIFA World Cup finals is the most watched sporting event in the world and much of it is because of the game’s simplicity.

  • It’s easy to tell when someone makes a good play and it’s even easier to tell which team is in the lead.

  • The commentary is relatively easy to understand. Since CSGO is round based, it’s easier for casters to hype up the build and make a narrative till the actual play or execute which means that viewers can tune in and out of the game based on just the voice. Similarly, in football, you can usually tell by the build-up that there is a potential for a big play.

Dota and Cricket

Dota is the biggest esport when it comes to prize pool and when it comes to passionate fan bases cricket and dota are exactly alike.

  • Both games are not the easiest to understand for a new viewer. You’ll get a basic idea of what’s happening but still end up being confused as to how and why.

  • Both games have lull periods with sudden unexpected periods of hype which are usually hard to anticipate.

  • Knowledge of player roles and specialities are often an important part of following a game and understanding it.

  • Sometimes you can tell pretty early on when a team takes a huge lead but the game still needs to be played out.

  • Incredible comebacks make the best matches and sometimes games go right down to the wire.

PUBG/Battle Royale and Toure de France

I guess we could have picked any marathon or long drawn race but Toure de France is one of the more popular ones so we went with it.

  • Lot’s of dry spells of inactivity with very easy to miss moments of real action.

  • Need to know the map in and out to understand why teams are doing what they are doing.

  • It’s not hard to understand the overall flow of the game/race but things get really chaotic towards the end.

  • Hard to comprehend strategies and gameplans that teams implement and generally takes a very deep level of understanding.

  • Doesn’t make for the best viewing experience.


The differences between traditional sports and esports will always be there but at their core, we can find a lot of similarities. Stories of struggle and perseverance and the classic tale of rising to the top will always be inspirational and motivational irrespective of the title and sport and while esports have a long way to go in terms of popularity reaching the mainstream audiences, it is without a doubt that we are well and truly on our way there.



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