- Pavel Kolobkov, Russia’s Minister of Sport, spoke at a recent business forum outlining his views on esports.
- He believes that esports and traditional sports do not overlap, although esports displays “all elements of a sport.”
- Rather, Kolobkov insists that esports is a legitimate sporting subsection that his ministry will support and regulate appropriately.
The Minister of Sport of the Russian Federation, Pavel Kolobkov, recently addressed his organization’s updated approach to esports at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum last weekend. In a series of quotes provided by Russian esports organization ESForce, Kolobkov outlines his belief that, though esports will not replace traditional sports in any sense, it is a considerably established industry in its own right that continues to develop quickly.
“When we were recognizing esports, we wondered if its disciplines will replace traditional sports,” Kolobkov explains. “Now we are witnessing that they will not, and statistics are showing the same. It is a totally unique sphere which does not cross traditional sports.”
Throughout his statement, the minister reinforces his belief that esports have “all elements of a sport,” and that international organizations (like the International Olympic Committee) that have in the past refused esports have been proven wrong.
“Our task is to regulate it and put in some legal boundaries.”
Kolobkov also outlines the role of the Russian Ministry of Sport when it comes to esports, explaining that it views esports “as [its] own sport, which has its separate disciplines, including [strategy games] and sports simulators.”
“We had a long discussion, and I believe that we made the right choice, because it does not matter whether the government or somebody else recognizes esports as a sport. It was recognized by the society. By people who are making it. Our task is to regulate it and put in some legal boundaries, allow it to develop under our control, along with the government, along with us. That is why I am sure that at this moment one can say that esports is quite an established sphere.”
Also speaking at the event was Emin Antonyan, secretary general and chairman of the executive board for the Russian Esports Federation. He provided great detail at the forum about real-world esports initiatives that can be applied to traditional sports, with a particular theme being the success of streaming.
“I am in favor of esports complementing sports and vice versa,” said Antonyan. “What I am saying is that we are not competing; we should take the best from each other and work for the good of fans and athletes.”
These kinds of discussions at major international business forums is a key element to spreading the success of the esports industry to sporting and business professionals. While marketing and mainstream media do a great job at hyping up the industry, these events provide a backbone where those interested in investing can see real results and impacts made by esports. With Russia taking an advanced role in supporting and regulating esports within its borders, it serves as a model for other countries on how to address the growing phenomenon.