E-SPORTS FOR THE OLYMPICS?
Official bid has been placed with the International Olympic Committee.
The burgeoning eSports vertical could be accepted as an Olympic sport by the time the Lost Angeles games take place in 2024, according to the publication Sportskeeda, quoting an organization titled LA 2024, which has submitted a bid to the International Olympic Committee.
The bid details the phenomenal growth and popularity of eSports, which has transcended the level of a small interpersonal activity and spiraled into a worldwide movement, attracting tens of millions of fans, with prize pools as high as $20 million..
A source close to the IOC confirmed that an official bid has been placed by LA 2024, and that the committee is considering the inclusion of the vertical.
LA 2024 Committee chairman Casey Wasserman told Sportskeeda:
“Our initial talks with the IOC indicated that they are more than interested in staying at the cutting edge of youth digital entertainment.
“Esports or competitive video gaming has been consistently getting more participation and viewership than most sport within the Olympic spectrum. Los Angeles as a city is always imagining what’s next, be it technology or sport and this is the next step forward.”
A source within the IOC told Sportskeeda:
“Sadly, Rio saw a decrease in viewership between the 18 to 27 age category, which is a big loss for sport in the world. Our goal is to meet whichever sport is upto the competitive criteria and how much the youth is indulging in it. We are very much aware of the LA 2024 committee and are reviewing their requests accordingly.”
LA 2024 is not the first organization to flag the importance of eSports to the committee; the International eSports Federation (IESF) has already submitted an official bid with the IOC for inclusion by 2018, giving examples such as the 2016 League of Legends World Championships which attracted 18 million concurrent viewers online, along with 21,000 people attending the event in Los Angeles.
According to Sportskeeda sources, League of Legends, Defense of the Ancients (DOTA), Counter Strike Global Offensive (CSGO), FIFA, Call of Duty (CoD) and Hearthstone are likely to be a part of the inaugural edition, and both LA 2024 and IESF are keen to create a co-ed ecosystem, instead of separate male and female tournaments, as is the case with the equestrian events.
The IOC is expected to take a decision on the matter by 2020.