At a time when plenty of sports owners are looking for ways to invest in esports, one NFL owner has no interest in any such opportunities.
Via Daniel Kaplan of TheAthletic.com, Falcons owner Arthur Blank does not believe in esports.
“[M]y own personal view, and this is a personal view, is that sitting in front of one of these electronic video game kind of things, where you have to develop the skill set for ‘x’ number of hours a day, is just not in keeping with what I think is the best part of healthy young mind growing up,” Blank said.
Blank has rejected at least one chance to invest in esports.
“[A] company came in and made their presentation, one of the slides was a young man who may have been . . . maybe 11, 12 years old, made, I don’t know, some incredible amount of money, something like 500,000 bucks — just awful, awful amount of money,” Blank told Kaplan. “But they were clear he was practicing nine, 10 hours a day. And so I said to myself, ‘Listening to this, do I really want to invest in a business and own a business that is going to encourage behavior that I wouldn’t want to encourage in my own children?’ And the answer is no.”
Blank was careful to point out that he’s not passing judgment on his NFL partners who have decided to support, and profit from, esports.
“I’m not being critical of somebody else, you know, they make their own decision for their own reasons and their own set of values,” Blank told Kaplan. “And beyond, and maybe, some aspects of this, somebody could argue with me and take a different point of view.”
People tend to gravitate to the things at which they have proficiency. Kids who are destined to become great athletes typically realize their abilities early in life. Kids with significant hand-eye coordination that would allow for typically great video-game performance realize those abilities early in life.
That said, if too many kids attempt to pursue esports instead of real sports, there may not be enough players to let the future stars in real sports develop. So maybe Blank is onto something.
Regardless, times have changed. Video games are everywhere. Esports has become thriving American, and global, business. If Blank doesn’t want to invest in the esports, someone else will — and they’ll likely make plenty of money doing it.