Guest Columns

The Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program accepts columns on relevant and important topics in sports. For consideration, send ideas or written submissions to Editorial Director Jon Solomon at The Aspen Institute reserves the right to edit all content. 

rich luker, Luker on Trends

Esports dilemma: Passing video games down by generation

Rich Luker Photo.jpg

Going forward, on the present course, esports will have to find an entirely new player and fan base roughly every 15 years because kids stop paying attention and playing long before they become parents. They are not going to pass it on to their kids. That would be like you passing along Pac-Man to your kids. The difference between esports and generationally-linked sports can be found by Googling “St. Louis Cardinals tattoos” and looking at the images. Sports didn’t put those tattoos there, MLB didn’t do it, nor did the Cardinals. A generations-long, family-based love of the game and the team became so strong it became part of a life-long identity. Fans build sports. Sports don’t build fans. Fans make businesses money. Businesses don’t keep fans.

Read more

Tom Farrey, Aspen Institute Sports & Society

The sports gene: why parents need to relax a little

Tom Farrey larger photo.jpg

As Americans, we tend to think excellence can be manufactured. That greatness can be created out of any piece of human clay. The Constitution states that all men are created equal, and thus, we like to think, maybe, so are elite athletes. Which explains why we have soccer academies for toddlers as young as 18 months. Seriously, I’m surprised entrepreneurs haven’t yet figured out how to sell in-utero sport training - it’s easy money.

Read more