E-sports to become a medal event in 2022 Asian Games

Patrice Gainsbourg
Abril 19, 2017

As a preview of what is to come, esports will be contested at the upcoming Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games. AIMAG will feature esports competitions in Federation Internationale de Football Association 17 along with MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) and RTA (Real Time Attack) types of games.

As to what exactly prompted the inclusion of esports at the Asian Games, "heritage" is a lovely idea but Alisports president Zhang Dazhong was a little more on the nose about it.

Alisports, the sports arm of Alibaba Group, and the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has announced a partnership to bring eSports to the 2022 Hangzhou Asian games, according to a report by China Daily. The Asian Games are recognised by the International Olympic Committee, meaning in 2022 esports will be an official Olympic sport.

The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) said it wanted to reflect "the rapid development and popularity of this new form of sports participation". "We are sure that the extensive organizing capabilities of Alisports, and their experience in e-sports, will assist the OCA in developing all sports".

As part of the announcement, the Olympic Council of Asia also flagged a partnership with Alisports, owned by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

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"Together we will work on providing the sponsors of the Asian Games with more opportunities and maximising the market value, so that the OCA enjoys optimum benefits and advantages". There will be eight qualifiers from each region (two per game) and four Turkmenistan players, making it a 52-player field.

This is a major step toward Olympic consideration and comes a year after two organisations, the global eSports Federation (IESF) and worldwide eGames Committee (IEGC), submitted requests to the IOC for information on how esports could become an Olympic event.

ESports generated $493m in revenue with a global audience of about 320m people in 2016, the market research firm Newzoo reported a year ago.

As for whether esports belong in the Olympic Games, or even in the Asian Games, let's not forget that rifle shooting has been an Olympic sport for years, or that skateboarding and sport climbing were added to the 2020 Olympics.

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