The past few years have been a great time for esports. However, this may be just the tip of the iceberg with even more expansion in the coming years. Perhaps, we may even see the day when the summer Olympics welcomes esports as a fully-fledged event.
Esports as an Olympics Event
There are many critics who just don’t feel that esports are worth such a spot. They don’t see a place for computer games in the Olympics, but probably don’t realize just how close esports are to achieving this feat.
The rise in popularity of esports has been significant in the past few years. Prize money levels continue to increase as does the number of people playing esports. In addition, press and television coverage has boomed.
One factor helping esports has been the circumstances set by the pandemic. Online sportsbooks are always keen to find new events for their customers and that is why all bookmakers apps offer free bets. They had dipped their toes besides football, also in the esports water, but then the pandemic saw many major sporting events cancelled. Sportsbooks needed replacements and esports grasped its opportunity of increased coverage.
Other online sites followed suit with even the BBC Sports site showing live esports tournaments. Such improved coverage can only increase the chances of esports becoming an Olympic sport. When the Olympics were held in Rio six years ago, the eGames were staged with competitors battling it out to win medals rather than try to win big cash prizes.
The eGames were well received and more was to come two years later. Games such as ‘Steep’ and ‘Staircraft’ were part of tournaments organized by Intel. These were held prior to the Winter Olympics that were held that year with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) offering their support.
Despite these events, esports still didn’t get added to the list of events held at the Tokyo Olympics last year. Further demonstration events were held though and again it proved to be a success.
Eyes on the future
The next Summer Olympics are being held in Paris in 2024. Many believed following the success of the demonstration event, esports would finally be added. However, that is not the case.
What is preventing inclusion from taking place, especially considering the continual growth of esports? There is the need to form a global governing body for esports. That’s necessary to be made an Olympic sport.
There’s the nature of the games that are played in esports. Olympic values include friendship and respect. The recent Winter Olympics saw speeches calling for world peace. That isn’t quite met by the violence that is seen in some esports games.
Then again, the Olympics have included boxing, wrestling, and judo. Perhaps just including games that are computer versions of established Olympic sports is the way ahead.
Does the esports business need to become an Olympic sport? Sports such as cricket, pool and snooker aren’t Olympic sports but continue to prosper. Esports is a big business now and will continue to be so whether it is made an Olympic sport or not. Maybe the Olympics need popular events such as esports because after all, television ratings are so important to the event.
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