Esports players could be competing for Olympic medals in 2024.
Tony Estanguet, the co-president of Paris’ Olympic Bid committee, has told the Associated Press that he’ll be looking to organise talks between esports representatives and the International Olympics Committee about esports joining the 2024 Olympics program.
Paris will be hosting the 2024 after their sole rivals in the bid, Los Angeles, have agreed instead to take 2028.
Estanguet, himself a canoe slalom triple-Olympic champion, speaks of being open to esports making an appearance in the Olympics, especially as after the esports boom has shown that it’s attracting a large audience of youngsters to attend arenas for tournaments live.
“Esports” will become a full sport in the 2022 edition of the Asian games, although it’s not yet been revealed which esports will be featured. It’s likely to feature something relatively bloodless and easy to understand, but that isn’t by any means an absolute fact, just speculation.
For Estanguet, giving esports legitimacy can help the Olympics remain relevant for the new generation.
“We have to look at it because we can’t say, ’It’s not us. It’s not about Olympics,’” Estanguet said during an interview with AP.
“The youth, yes they are interested in esports and this kind of thing. Let’s look at it. Let’s meet them. Let’s try if we can find some bridges.
“I don’t want to say ‘no’ from the beginning. I think it’s interesting to interact with the IOC, with them, the esports family, to better understand what the process is and why it is such a success.”
The process will be slow to get started. The program for 2024 will kick off in 2019, although a decision on which sports will take place in Paris won’t be decided until after Tokyo’s Olympics, in the summer of 2020, is concluded. If included, it would be a massive boost to the industry, opening up individual players to a serious amount of interest from sponsors.
On the flip side, as esports at the moment is more like the club system seen in domestic football, we could see struggles as team's struggle to adapt to national competitions. For some region and game combinations we could see unexpected swings to the medal charts. South Korea have long been seen as the dominant region for League of Legends and are by far the strongest competitors in Overwatch, for example.
Still, we won't need to think any more about it for a few years, it appears.
See more in the video below.
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