Esports vs. Sports: Getting Students Involved

Although esports and traditional sports may seem worlds apart, both activities are popular with students interested in exercising their competitive spirit.

Most people are already familiar with the major sports that typically define collegiate athletics, such as basketball, baseball, football, tennis, golf, and track and field. College sports also include popular intramural and recreational games, such as pickleball, Frisbee golf, ultimate Frisbee, darts, foosball, and Slamball. No matter your level of athleticism, there’s probably a sport for you.

Esports players competing on adjacent PCs.

Additionally, a new breed of competition has recently revealed itself in the video game world. Electronic sports, or esports, have taken the world by storm as more high school and college students find themselves competing in the digital realm. Although esports are still very much in their infancy, they have several parallels to traditional sports.

Comparing esports vs. sports shows that while the games are different, the spirit of competition and the values that players learn are similar. Additionally, being involved in sports or esports in high school and college can help open up future career opportunities.

For instance, just as you don’t have to be on the court to work for the NBA, the same holds true for esports. Ready Esports reports that the field offers career opportunities in blogging, photography, videography, social media management, business development, coding, development, event coordinating, and more. Whatever your extracurricular ambitions or career goals are, there’s never been a better time to get involved in sports and esports.

Esports vs. Sports: Key Similarities

Although an NFL game at Soldier Field is quite a bit different from a round of Madden in a dorm room, the two overlap in a few ways.

  • Esports and sports are venues of healthy competition. No matter the game — online or in the real world — the goal of winning remains. Healthy competition teaches the values of self-improvement, discipline, and fair play.
  • All sports are played by rules. Whether it’s a game of pickup soccer or a FIFA Online tournament, sports and esports adhere to certain rules that all players must follow. Sports use referees and umpires to enforce the rules, while esports rely on anti-cheat software.
  • Both can be team or individual. Just as sports include individual and team competitions, so do esports. The number of players depends on the game being played and the tournament rules.
  • Esports and sports require equipment. Most traditional sports require specific equipment: a ball, bat, paddle, or stick. Similarly, esports players need a computer or gaming console, a controller or keyboard, a monitor, and headphones.
  • Skill is required to perform exceptionally. To rise to the upper echelons of sports and esports, players must have exceptional skill, talent, and dedication.

Esports vs. Sports: Key Differences

While significant similarities exist between traditional sports and esports, fundamental differences also exist.

  • Location logistics. Traditional sports require all players to be physically present on the same field or court. Esports, on the other hand, allows players to compete from all over the world via the internet.
  • Key attributes. Most athletes who do well in traditional sports, which emphasize strength, speed, and agility, excel physically over their competitors. Esports favors different kinds of skills, focusing on reaction time, motor skills, and hand-eye coordination.
  • Evolution of the game. The majority of sports change very little over time: they use the same equipment and follow the same rules with only minor modifications. Esports, on the other hand, are defined by advances in technology that affect the equipment used and the games themselves.
  • Coaching versus self-coaching. Most collegiate and professional athletes have teams of coaches working with them on strength and conditioning, strategy, and other attributes of their game to help them improve. Esports athletes are generally self-coached with little outside input.

The Benefits of Esports and Sports

An esports versus. sports comparison highlights distinct similarities and differences. However, they share common benefits and lessons.

  • Goal setting. Esports and sports teach players the value of goal setting to achieve a higher level of play — whether bench-pressing 250 pounds or leveling up a character.
  • Teamwork. Whether you’re playing a game of pickup basketball or a joint Overwatch campaign, working together is crucial to success. Team esports and sports teach athletes the power of collaboration.
  • Strategic thinking and problem-solving. No sport can be won purely on strength, just as no esport can be won purely on hand speed. To succeed in either, players must think strategically to outsmart their opponents and discover their weaknesses.
  • Practice. All great athletes — in sports and esports alike — have one thing in common: Top-tier players devote countless hours to their event game of choice, gaining a mastery that few others possess.

Take the First Step Toward a Career in Sports Business Management

Getting involved with collegiate sports teams, esports clubs, and other extracurricular activities can be a great segue toward achieving your career ambitions. If you’re drawn to the world of sports and esports, a number of career opportunities are available for athletes and nonathletes — and having a background in your chosen field can help you get ahead in the professional realm.

Investing in your education is another essential step in job advancement, and Maryville University’s online Bachelor of Science in Rawlings Sport Business Management program helps students develop the skills and knowledge they need to find rewarding careers.

Instruction in business communications and financial accounting offers a solid foundation, while specialized courses such as Sport Finance, Sport Marketing, and Introduction to Sport Business Data Analytics further prepare graduates for careers in the sports and esports industries.

Recommended Reading

How to Join Esports: A Look Into Collegiate Esports

Evolution of the Esports Industry: An Inside Look at This Booming Sports Field

Love What You Do: How to Find the Perfect Career


CDW, A History of Esports

Geek Insider, “Understanding Different Types of Esports”

HowTheyPlay, “10 Advantages of Playing Sports”

Lineups, “eSports Teams & Players: How eSports Teams Work”

Maryville University, Esports at Maryville

Organic Facts, “Top 16 Benefits of Playing Sports”s”

Raise Your Skillz, “Is Esports a Real Sport Compared to Traditional Sports?”

Raise Your Skillz, “9 Key Differences Between Esports and Traditional Sports (2022)”

Ready Esports, What Esports Jobs Are Available Other Than Gaming?

Statista, eSports market — Statistics & Facts

Techjury, “Esports Growth: How Gamers Conquered a Multi-Billion Market”

ViewSonic, Esports vs. Sports: Why You Should Encourage Students to Take Up Esports

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