Talks Underway to Have e-Sports as Olympian Demonstration in 2024

eSports could be included in the Olympic Games as a cultural or demonstration event.
eSports could be included in the Olympic Games as a cultural or demonstration event.

The International e-Sports Federation (IeSF) is in talks with organizers of the Paris 2024 Olympics about incorporating the discipline as a demonstration sport at the games, the federation’s acting secretary-general, Leopold Chung, told Reuters.

The competitive side of electronic gaming, e-Sports, has quickly amassed an estimated 250 million players worldwide, more than several traditional Olympic sports federations combined in a growing market worth about a billion dollars a year.

The International Olympic Committee in November recognized e-Sports as a sports activity, the first clear indication that the growing industry wants to link up.

“It won’t be possible to be an official discipline but to be a demonstration title within the Paris Olympics,” Chung told Reuters.

“The local Olympic organizing committee and the city are supporting this movement, so this will be a stronger message towards the IOC that e-Sports could be included as a demonstration title in 2024.”

While e-Sports are mainly driven by games developers and publishers, the IeSF is the first attempt at creating a global body that could promote e-Sports.

The IeSF currently has 46 members and hosts an annual e-Sports World Championship involving three major gaming titles–Counter Strike, League of Legends and Tekken.

Global audiences for e-Sports are expected to reach 380 million this year, according to research firm Newzoo, which has also estimated that the e-Sports economy was expected to grow 38% year-on-year in 2018.

 Asian Demonstration

Slated to appear as a demonstration event at this year’s Asian Games in Jakarta, e-Sports will make its debut as a medal event at the multi-sport tournament four years later in Hangzhou, China.

Appearing at an Olympics would be a huge step for e-Sports and Chung said Paris was the perfect platform.

“Paris would one day like to become an e-Sports hub for Europe,” said Chung.

“There are great engagement numbers, great fan numbers who live in France, and especially in Paris, would definitely want to come to an e-Sports game.”

The International Olympic Committee is fully aware of e-Sports’ rapid growth and their popularity among young people, making it an attractive proposition to refresh its own aging audience and make the games relevant to a new generation.

International Olympic  Committee President Thomas Bach acknowledged the popularity of e-Sports among young people this month, but was wary of their often violent or discriminatory content.

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