Git Gud in Esports and Get Gold
Today, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and Alisports of China, announced that eSports will be an official medal sport at the 2022 Asian Games in China. For context, the Asian Games are billed as the world’s second largest multi-sport event after the Olympics. The last one took place in Incheon, South Korea in 2014 and drew 9,501 competitors and 45 nations participating.
Besides that, eSports is also running this year as a demonstration sport at 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia. Demonstration sport is played at bigger sporting events like the Olympics to bring more exposure to the sport. In many ways, giving medals for the 2022 Asian Games for the eSports competition will be one of the more striking examples of how the sports world is acknowledging eSports.
As for the games? Well, OCA has yet to give name all the games that would be in play at the Asian Games, but mentioned that players would be competing in FIFA 2017, as well as MOBAs and RTAs (Real Time Attack) games. Thus, we can probably expect to see League of Legends or StarCraft making a showing.
Regarding Alisports, they’ve been reported by The Esports Observer to have spent $150 Million in promoting eSports. Alisports is part of Alibaba which is one of the world’s largest internet companies, surpassing even Walmart as an e-commerce company. On this partnership, the OCA’s president, Sheikh Ahmed Al-Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah says:
“We look forward to further collaboration with Alisports in regards to digital sports concepts along with sporting events. We are sure that the extensive organising capabilities of Alisports, and their experience in e-sports, will assist the OCA in developing all sports.”
Although there’s no money to be won at the upcoming events at Asian Games, the wide exposure will invaluable to legitimizing competitive video game playing as athletic endeavors.