It seems that esports is going from strength to strength of late, and could potentially be included as an official part of the Olympic Games in 2024.
The bid team from Paris, which is hosting the games that year – although an official announcement is still to be made (it’s coming in September) – has said it wants to discuss the inclusion of esports with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
As the BBC reports, co-president of the Paris 2024 bid, Tony Estanguet, said that he didn’t want to say ‘no’ right from the off to the prospect of including the likes of Counter-Strike or Overwatch as an Olympic sport.
Estanguet commented: “We have to look at it because we can’t say, ‘it’s not about Olympics’ … The youth are interested, so let’s meet them.”
He further noted: “The IOC will have the last say if they want esports on the programme. Let’s discuss among ourselves.”
So this is a long way from a cast-iron prospect at the moment, and in all likelihood the odds are still significantly stacked against the inclusion of esports. But you never know, and it’s certainly an indication that gaming is likely to become a medal sport eventually.
Esports is already being included as an official part of the 2022 Asian Games over in China.
The Rio 2016 Olympics also witnessed the introduction of the eGames, a two-day ‘pop-up’ event which awarded medals to winning gamers, a competition that was supported by the UK government. The eGames will be held again during the Winter Olympics in South Korea next year.
Meanwhile, esports continues to gain popularity and a wider audience via TV coverage, with the Gfinity Elite League Series One being covered on BBC Three (online) and BT Sports.
Big gaming tournaments have also been covered by Sky in the past, and with online gaming now aping traditional sports with professional leagues, scouting, and signing windows, it’s easy to see how it could become a fixture in the Olympic Games.
After all, if darts is going to be a part of the 2024 Olympics – it’s also on the table for consideration – then why not esports?