In a move that foreshadows a science fiction-esque future where games converge with reality, the committee behind Paris’ bid for the 2024 Olympics has confirmed it will speak with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) about the inclusion of competitive gaming as a medal sport.
Tony Estanguet, co-president of the Paris bid committee says he will speak with both the IOC and eSports representatives about adding competitive video gaming as a medal sport. This follows the announcement that eSports will be a medal sport at the 2022 Asian Games in China, which are recognized by the IOC and marketed as the world’s second largest multi-sport event after the Olympics.
“The youth, yes they are interested in eSport and this kind of thing,” Estanguet told the Associated Press.
“Let’s look at it. Let’s meet them. Let’s try if we can find some bridges. I don’t want to say ‘no’ from the beginning. I think it’s interesting to interact with the IOC, with them, the eSports family, to better understand what the process is and why it is such a success.”
“I think it’s interesting to interact with the IOC, with them, the eSports family, to better understand what the process is and why it is such a success.”
Paris will be confirmed as the host of the 2024 Olympics at the next meeting of the IOC, which is the result of a deal with Los Angeles, which agreed to take the 2028 games instead.
While the Paris bid committee seems to have an open mind when it comes to eSports, the IOC’s president, Thomas Bach, seems a little more cynical.
When previously asked about the Asian Games decision, Bach told Inside the Games: “We are not yet 100 percent clear whether eSports is really sport, with regard to physical activity and what it needs to be considered sport,” though he did note there was high engagement from youth.
Meanwhile, eSports is a flourishing industry. Market research firm Newzoo reported last year that it generated $493M USD in revenue with a global audience of about 320m people in 2016.
Here in Canada, Sportsnet formed an exclusive partnership for a 24/7 eSports TV channel this May.
Source: The Guardian