British Esports Association

What's in a name? The eSports vs esports debate

Education - 25 Jul 2017

At face value it might seem trivial, but to some the way esports is spelt (and pronounced) is an important thing to get right.

With esports being such a growing sector, there are still many sponsors, individuals and other companies getting involved in the industry for the first time. Many of whom who write esports as 'eSports', 'e-sports' or even 'e-gaming'.

The lack of consistency is understandable. Compared to many other traditional sports which have been around for hundreds of years, esports is still relatively new. In many ways the industry is still finding its feet and adapting as it continues to grow. That includes how it's spelt.

What are esports? An overview for non-fans

For a while 'eSports' seemed to be the generally accepted term used to describe electronic sports, but several in the industry began pushing for 'esports'. After all, 'email' is not spelt 'e-mail' or 'eMail', is it? Why the odd capitalisation?

Thankfully the argument was (largely) settled earlier this year.

The Associated Press, a news agency whose content is published by many publications and broadcasters, recognised it as 'esports' in its latest style book back in March 2017.

Here's the official definition:

"What I think convinced a lot of the other committee members, was when we looked at Google Trends results and saw that people were searching for 'esports' without the hyphen at a rate of like 30 to 1 over 'e-sports' with a hyphen," Oskar Garcia, assistant sports editor at the AP, told ESPN.

"At the end of the day it's about clarity for the readers, and the readers are telling us they don't search for it with the hyphen. 

"Universally what we've heard is that we made the right call on that, and a lot of industry folks just appreciate that it's settled, and that they can move on to more important things."


How to write esports

  • Esports (when used at the start of a sentence or in a name)
  • esports (when used mid-sentence)


How not to write esports

  • eSports
  • e-sports
  • e-gaming


What about pro gamers?

You can call them professional or amateur gamers if you need to, depending on their level, or simply esports players.

Avoid the term 'e-gamers' - it means nothing!