E-Sports: For the Paris 2024 Olympics?

By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw

E-Sports continue their inexorable rise in popularity and it is perhaps not surprising that the organisers of the Summer Olympics in Paris in 2024 are open for their inclusion in this edition of the Games.

Co-chairman of the Paris Organising Committee, Tony Estanguet, has told the media, that, in a desire to make the Games more youth-friendly and appealing, he favours the inclusion of E-Sports in the 2024 Olympic Programme. Of course, the final decision on what sports will, in fact, be included in any Olympic Games rests with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the custodian of the Games under the Olympic Charter.

The IOC will not make any decision on E-Sports until after the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

E-Sports will be a medal competition in the Asian Games to be held in 2022 in Hangzhou, China. It may be noted that the Asian Games are recognised by the IOC and regarded as the world’s second biggest multi-sports event after the Olympics themselves.

In view of their continuing and increasing popularity around the world, an exclusive article on the governance of E-Sports by Ian Smith, the Integrity Commissioner of the recently-formed ESIC (E-Sports Integrity Coalition) will be published in the September issue of the GSLTR journal. Describing E-Sports as being “the top level of competitive video gaming”, he goes on to say:

“The best analogy is to consider ordinary video game players playing against other video game players as two people kicking a ball to each other in the back garden or, at best, two five-a-side teams going at it on a Wednesday night at the recreation centre. Professional esports players, on the other hand, are Neymar playing for Barcelona or Tom Brady playing for the Patriots and, before you scoff, yes, they really are that good.”

It is reported that, in 2016, E-Sports generated revenues of US$493 million and had a global following of 320 million!

Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw may be contacted by e-mail at ‘ian.blackshaw@orange.fr’