In 2022, archers, swimmers, cyclists, and — for the first time — gamers will be participating in the same major sporting event — the Asian Games.
Here Come The Esports Athletes
The Olympic Council of Asia announced that esports will be medal events at the 2022 Asian Games held in Hangzhou.
With close to 10,000 athletes competing, the Asian Games are the second biggest sporting tournament in the world after the Olympics.
Why the inclusion of esports? The Council stated that “the rapid development and popularity of this new form of sports participation among the youth” influenced its decision to include digital events at the Asian Games.
Though the full list of games has yet to be released, we do know that the 2018 demonstration matches will be FIFA 2017, a real-time strategy game and a MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena). Speculation is that MOBA games like DOTA2 and League of Legends will see some action because both have hundreds of millions of monthly online players.
The International Olympic Committee has yet to recognize the International Esports Federation. Nor has the Federation petitioned to become an Olympic event. But, could it happen? With the niche on the rise, it very well may.
In 2016, industry watchers estimated that esports had a global audience of over 200 million, with revenues exceeding $300 million.
In fact, not only are esports venues opening across the United States, but industry leaders are starting to invest, heavily, in the niche. To wit, Alisports — Alibaba’s gaming arm — announced a partnership with the Olympic Council of Asia. That’s in addition to the Chinese online retailer’s $150 million investment in the International Esports Federation — a sign of big things to come.
Kelly / Warner helps esports athletes and teams with all manners of business and legal needs, including, but not limited to, contract negotiations, endorsement deals, and litigation assistance.