Going from groups of friends organizing LAN tournaments to stadiums packed with fans eager to watch their favorite competitors and millions tuning in to watch streams, eSports have really grown over the past past few years. But the gaming sector could be set to make another significant step up.
Speaking during an interview this week, Tony Estanguet, a co-president of the Paris Olympic bid committee, revealed that the Paris 2024 Olympics could include eSports. Estanguet said, “We have to look at it because we can’t say, ‘It’s not us. It’s not about Olympics,’” explaining that “The youth, yes they are interested in eSport and this kind of thing. Let’s look at it. Let’s meet them. Let’s try if we can find some bridges.”
Estanguet doesn’t want to just say “no” to eSports right away, and hopes to discuss eSports’ inclusion at the Paris 2024 games with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in order to “understand what the process is and why it is such a success.” The IOC will have the final decision, but Estanguet noted, “There is some time to look at it, to interact, to engage.” Paris will not officially be confirmed as the 2024 host until the IOC meeting in Lima, Peru next month, and planning for the games will not begin until 2019.
By the time the Paris 2024 Olympics roll around, it would not be the first time that eSports have featured on such a grand international stage. The 2022 Asian Games may also feature eSports and a small-scale eSports event was held alongside the Rio Olympics in 2016. This would be the very first time that video games have been fully brought into the fold, however, so it would be ground-breaking.
At this point it’s unclear what the likelihood is of eSports being included. As Estanguet pointed out, the inclusion of eSports could be a huge draw to younger viewers and get them into the Olympic spirit. If the potential revenue of the Overwatch League is any example, eSports could also bring in a huge amount of money for the Olympic games, which is significant given how expensive the games are to host.
Also up in the air are which games might be featured. Any game chosen in 2019 would still need to be popular in 2024. Games like League of Legends and FIFA may seem like safe bets, but will newer multiplayer games that are released between now and the Paris 2024 start date be featured too? This is one of several big question that the Paris organizers and the IOC will have to answer.
Source: The Associated Press