I'm all for growing the FGC, but lets not use the terms esports and athletes please. Those are just terms to try and get easy respect but those definitions don't actually fit for playing video games. The other games are set on the term esports and now we're seeing athletes starting to become a more common term. The term athlete isn't even coming from the fans or players, it's coming from the people in suits that aren't even in these gaming communities. Thinking that terms that don't make sense will help the game grow is ridiculous. Athletes as a word to describe gamers is a slap in the face to real athletes.
The FGC isn't set on either of these terms, esports and athletes, so please lets not force it. Forcing it into the mainstream I don't think it will actually work and I've seen plenty of examples. The two things that people talk about when esports gets brought up in the mainstream is the consider parent view, which is a good discussion to have. But also the debate of gamers as athletes. And when it gets discussed in this way it almost always falls on the side of the real definition or they compare pros to real athletes, so it seems ridiculous. But also once they see how the term athlete doesn't fit, it's easier for them to also disregard the games as not taking any skill. We should be coming from the point of view of similar to chess or poker and use better terms that actually make sense to avoid that kind of discussion.
Also the FGC community can grow without copying "esports". We can still have grass roots majors, and avoid some of the "esports" standards. For example just look at Dreamhack. They can stay true to the FGC for the most part. And it's not just the FGC side of things either even other games at Dreamhack are also very loose and not such a stiff, they often tell jokes and swear. Just as long as you aren't attacking someone or a group of people with words, then some swearing is fine.
There is somethings in "esports" that the FGC can and should avoid. I would hope the FGC doesn't become dependent on some esports tournaments. Tournaments that don't respect the FGC side of production(having ads in between rounds, being super tight on language and hype) and shoving us into a corner with half assed resources and keeping the FGC in it's own frame. If we become to dependent on these kinds of esports tournaments(Like MLG) that would not be good in the long run. These types of tournaments are just looking for the big games and as soon as a game takes a dip in popularity, it's out.
So you'll have a lot of overlap with traditional FGC majors and "esports" majors and I can definitely hope players and fans choose right. The good thing is though we are starting to having developers fund their own tournaments or own scenes at least to some degree. And some of the other style tournaments of multiply games and genres are starting to die out. So hopefully Capcom will continue to support some the old grass roots tournaments, and not some new league that just wants to come join in late for a quick cash in. And also hopefully Capcom does a better job on execution of Capcom Cup next year, that would be great.
We can keep some of the good things of the FGC. People often just focus on the bad that the FGC had in the past, like sometimes a bit intimidating, inclusive, harsh on casuals or new players etc. But forget that the FGC really is different than a lot of other games in a good way. We should be able to keep the hype, the roots and history, the smaller local scenes, the diversity, hiring people within the community,etc.