E-Sports: One More Step Closer to the Olympic Games

By Emre Bilginoglu, Attorney-at-Law, Istanbul, Turkey

In one of our previous posts on E-Sports on the GSLTR website, we mentioned the possibility of E-Sports being recognised as an Olympic sport. On 17 April 2017, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) announced that E-Sports will be included in the 2022 Asian Games to be held in Hangzhou, China, and will be a medal event.

The Asian Games are recognised by the IOC and regarded as the world’s second biggest multi-sports event after the Olympics themselves.

The OCA will also introduce E-Sports as a ‘demonstration sport’ at the 2018 Asian Games to be held in Indonesia. This is, usually, the last step on the way for any sport to be included in the ‘Olympic Programme’.

Chinese E-commerce giant Alibaba’s affiliate, Alisports, has teamed up with the OCA to bring E-Sports one more step closer to the Olympic Games. Incidentally, it is interesting to note that Alibaba has signed an 11-year deal, thought to be worth US$1 billion, to be a leading sponsor of the Summer and Winter Olympic Games. The OCA seems well aware of the rise and popularity of the new phenomenon of E-Sports, reflecting “the rapid development and popularity of this new form of sports participation among the youth.”

The OCA has, therefore, officially declared that E-Sports are a form of sport.

In fact, E-Sports generated in 2016 revenue of US$493 million and reached a global audience of some 320 million people.

Thus, E-Sports are now well on their way to becoming a recognised Olympic sport, particularly in view of their wide appeal amongst young people!

 

Emre Bilginoglu may be contacted by e-mail at ‘emre@glayanyalcin.com’