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eSports Heading to the Olympics and Beyond

In a historical move in May, it was revealed that the Olympic Council of Asia has added eSports to its world-famous Asian Games event. The OCA has decided, after huge demand from its spectators, that eSports is fit to be a medal event at the Asian Games in 2022. By adding eSports to its list, the council has effectively given the sport the same standing enjoyed by gymnasts, runners and athletes, in yet another win for the world of competitive video gaming.

In a recent statement, the OCA clarified that it has included eSports in the Asian Games due to its rapidly becoming popular among younger generations. By adding the sport to its ranks, the council hopes to attract new generations of spectators to the Olympic event, keeping up with the times and appealing to Millennials with a pastime that they have grown up with. Furthermore, the council may also have set the blueprint for the future of sporting events, with the Olympics now expected to follow suit.

eSports’ new Olympic status is already bearing fruit, with the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta already scheduling an eSports demonstration to attract new fans to the event. With the Asian Games being the world’s second largest sporting event, right after the Olympics itself, sporting events around the world may soon follow suit should the inclusion of eSports prove popular among the Asian population.

Major Companies Continue To Push for eSports to Be Named An Olympic Sport

Thus far, the 2022 eSports competition has not yet revealed which video games will be featured. With that said, next year’s demonstration in Jakarta has FIFA 2017, a MOBA game, and a real-time strategy game on the agenda for its professional players. League of Legends, Counterstrike, DOTA 2 and Hearthstone are all incredibly popular eSports disciplines, and are expected to feature heavily in its Olympic future.

The inclusion of eSports has come as no surprise to many – the sport has a massive global audience of over 226 million people, and generates revenues of over $325 million. In light of this, there are already rumours of the sport being included at the Olympics itself, with major corporations like Alisports lobbying for it to be featured.

Chinese firm Alisports had ploughed huge amounts of money into the International eSports Federation in an attempt to gain eSports its Olympic status, as well as fronting over $150 million for the South Korean eSports Federation and many more millions to fund the World Electronic Sports Games in Changzhou – a huge eSporting event with over 60,000 players battling head to head for a $5 million prize pool.

Broader Spectatorship And Bigger Tournaments On The Horizon

In the meantime, eSports is enjoying its spot in the limelight despite lacking inclusion in the Olympics. Experts have suggested that the sport is just as likely to gain inclusion as other applicants such as baseball, climbing, skateboarding, surfing and karate, and it is simply a matter of time until this happens, considering the virtual sport’s massive following.

The International Olympic Committee is considering the proposal at present, and in the meantime, eSports is taking over the global entertainment industry, with hundreds of new eSports arenas popping up worldwide. Many of these professional arenas are already appearing in gaming metropolises like Las Vegas too, showing that there is big money being invested into competitive gaming at the present.

Vegas have been quick to embrace the future of eSports, with prestigious hotel casinos like the Luxor transforming their properties into massive eSports arenas. These arenas come complete with multiple levels, competition stages, video walls, spectator seating, TV-quality production studios and even facilities for streaming to bring the world up to speed with the latest tournaments. The city is set to become the world’s largest hub for eSports championships and high stakes leagues, signifying big things to come for the industry.

Spectatorship is also predicted to rise steadily as eSports live streaming becomes more accessible through YouTube, Twitch, and international cable channels. If eSports is accepted as an Olympic discipline, its popularity will burgeon even further, creating a highly successful industry for professional players, bettors and eSports sponsors alike.

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