Could E-Sports Become an Official Olympic Sport?

When thinking of Olympic-level athletes, not many people think of video gamers.

Yet, with the kind of crowds that e-sports draw, it might be good to bring new blood onto the Olympics stage.

For example, in 2018, the top 10 games awarded more than $130 million in total prizes, with players and devoted fans from around the world tuning in to watch.

According to Olympics boss Thomas Bach, e-sports’ biggest stars could potentially find themselves battling it out on Olympic stages in the next decade.

As Bach told Seven News reporter Chris Reason, “The [International Olympic Committee] is in talks with the e-gaming industry, and they like what they see with virtual reality games. They could be an Olympic sport in 13 years’ time.”

These comments came after the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) met with e-sports and gaming industry representatives in Switzerland last July.

While the official reason for the meeting was to “explore areas for potential collaboration,” it really seems that the IOC is keen to get a chunk of the millions of dollars in the ever-growing e-sports world.

According to an Olympic statement, an e-sports organization that can “align with the Olympic values, rules and regulations” does not currently exist.

However, that could change.

The Olympics themselves have changed to include new sports over the years, including surfing and skateboarding, which will feature in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The earliest e-sports could come to the Olympics would be 2028 Los Angeles Olympic games or the 2032 Olympic event.

In 2017, Tony Estanguet, then co-president of the Paris Olympic bid committee — which will host the 2024 games — said they are open to exploring the idea of e-sports in the Olympics.

Estanguet noted that “The youth… are interested in e-sport and this kind of thing. Let’s look at it. Let’s meet them. Let’s try if we can find some bridges.”