As reported by multiple sources, Intel is currently in talks with the IOC over esports inclusion in the Olympics. The International Olympics Committee has shown interest in including esports as a medal event in the event. Subsequently, Intel is trying to work with them on a partnership, though nothing is confirmed yet. Additionally, IOC president Thomas Bach has stated that they will not allow any video games that include violence at the Olympics. While it is probably far away, this is an important step towards finally admitting esports’ equality to traditional sports.
However, the Olympics won’t be the first traditional sports tournament to host an esports event. This year’s Asian Games will have esports appear as a demonstration. Furthermore, esports will make a full appearance at a multi-sport tournament in China three years from now.
Intel and the IOC have already partnered for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. There, Intel held an Intel Extreme Masters to showcase esports as a possible future sports event. Even more, Intel stated that they currently don’t have an opinion on esports’ inclusion in the games. However, they are always open for a partnership and are actively helping the IOC understand esports’ potential.
While not certain, the inclusion of esports in the Olympics would likely bring a lot of public backlash. As you might know, many people still consider video games a waste of time. The lack of physicality involved with esports also adds to their arguments. While it is true esports are less physical than most traditional sports, there are some exceptions. The public will simply have to change their perception.
If we compare esports to traditional sports, there actually are quite a few similarities. Teams in both train in complex professional ecosystems. They have their own training facilities, coaches, analysts, and even nutritionists. Athletes in both train multiple hours a day and have to take care of their physical and mental health to perform at the highest level.
Looking at finance, esports isn’t close to the bigger traditional sports when it comes to revenue. However, it’s a rapidly growing industry, and the payments, tournament awards, and sponsorships grow every day. Apart from that, the involvement of prominent traditional sports athletes like Michael Jordan, Rick Fox, and Christian Fuchs only shows that even traditional athletes support the esports industry and see its potential.
Lastly, some traditional sports teams even have their own sports teams. Good examples of that are the Golden State Warriors, who own the Golden Guardians League of Legends team, and the Houston Rockets, who are part owners of Clutch Gaming. While it was less obvious a few years back, esports is starting to make its case as a legit sport, and I personally believe it is only a matter of time before it gets included in the Olympics.
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Vince Koyle is an esports writer, tech nerd and future CompSci student. He often likes to compare traditional sports to esports, showing his love for both kinds. Also tends to sometimes try too hard with explaining what esports is and how it isn’t any different than traditional sports. He mainly covers the League of Legends scene, with an emphasis on European and Asian leagues.