Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban reveals his interest in eSports, referring to competitive gaming as ‘real sport’ in the run-up to a League of Legends show match.

The argument over whether eSports should be counted alongside traditional sports is a long-fought one, with battle lines firmly drawn in the sand. However, it looks as though the side of eSports supporters has another name on its list – and one that has a long history in sport. Media mogul and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has expressed his opinion that eSports should be counted as a “real sport.”

During an interview with ESL, Cuban discussed the issue of where eSports stands in relation to traditional sporting events. “This is a real sport, and people are going to figure it out really, really quick,” said Cuban before a League of Legends show match. The Mavericks owner called out comments from former ESPN host Colin Cowherd, who made controversial comments regarding eSports earlier this year. “I love Colin but he’s an idiot,” Cuban said, continuing to describe League of Legends as “like playing five-dimensional chess against the world.”

Cowherd had previously been extremely critical of eSports, openly expressing his distaste at ESPN covering the Heroes of the Dorm event. “If I am ever forced to cover guys playing video games, I will retire and move to a rural fishing village and sell bait,” warned Cowherd. The controversial host then left his position as ESPN Radio host a few months later, although it’s unclear whether his eSports comments had any relation to his departure.

League Of Legends Art

The world of eSports has become a popular – and profitable – venture over recent years, with League of Legends tournaments even selling out 65,000 seater stadiums. Meanwhile, 2015’s The International saw a whopping prize pool of $18 million, becoming the largest in the history of eSports. The competition, which is Valve’s annual eSports event for DotA 2, was eventually won by American team Evil Geniuses in an extremely tough-fought event.

Of course, the growth of eSports has lead to some serious implications, with some gamers willing to go to extreme lengths to make sure they reach victory. The Electronic Sports League is putting in place drug tests for teams taking part in tournaments, after one competitive gamer revealed that use of drugs such as Adderall is rife within eSports.

Competitive gaming enthusiasts will no doubt be thrilled to have such a high profile name as Mark Cuban behind eSports as a sporting endeavour. With ESPN showing continued interest in eSports, including highlighting Evil Geniuses’ win at The International, there’s no limit to just how popular eSports can become. Let’s see who the next big name is to announce their enjoyment of competitive gaming.

Source: ESL