Traditional sports teams and governing bodies continue to invest in esports, and in different ways. Teams and clubs may have their own esports teams or players. Governing bodies may organise or put their names to their own events or, as with the IOC, may consider including esports as part of their events. 

The big question is: Why?

In one or two cases, the reasons may be quite straightforward and compelling. Take FIFA, for example, whose name and brand have long been associated with the EA game that bears its name. For them, embracing esports by organising events like the FIFA eWorld Cup make a lot of sense.

In most other cases however, the justification is not so obvious. One of the answers you will most commonly hear is that embracing esports provides an opportunity to connect with a new and younger audience. Fine, that should work.

But, and this is the big “but”, is the plan to convert the esports fans to sports fans? If it is, well, I am not sure that will work. 

If a crude analogy is helpful, did Facebook invest in Instagram in order to convert Insta fans to Facebook? The answer is “no”. It was a big old hedge. A hedge against Insta supplanting Facebook (which in some respects it has done). 

Is not the better reason for sport to invest because esports, in and of their own right, are worth investing in? And if that is really sport hedging its bets, then let's be proud and honest and call it a big old hedge.