Are you an avid gamer? If so, the 2024 Olympics in Paris are considering adding video game competitions, eSports, to the Games. Thomas Bach, the president of the IOC (International Olympic Committee) believes that eSports contradict the “Olympic rules and values of sport” and questions whether “eSports is really (a) sport, with regard to physical activity and what it needs to be considered (a) sport”. On the other hand, the co-president of the Paris Olympic Committee, Tony Estanguet, plans to further the idea of eSports and discuss with IOC officials about adding it to the Olympic Games in 2024. While this might sound outrageous, eSports have proven to be a huge success as a big money event, along with bringing in numerous amounts of viewers. The International Dota 2 Championship, for example, an eSports tournament hosted by Valve Corporation, has a prize pool of just over $24 million each year. Still, continuous efforts made to push the idea of Esports into the Games has always been rejected. Despite its popularity, people still disagree with the idea, believing that if “real” sports such as cricket and squash aren’t accepted in the competition then why should eSports? While no final decision has been made and the IOC still doesn’t agree with having eSports in the competition, gaming advocates can still convince everyone to take the idea into consideration for the Paris Olympics in 2024.
Before we can even think about eSports, there are crucial steps that must be taken in order to get a sport approved and be considered in the Olympics. The most traditional way is for a sport’s international federation to petition for the IOC. Another alternative is for federations to complete about a 100 page long questionnaire involving gender equality and the amount of excitement of fans seen through media. While this first step can be made possible for eSports, another problem still lies at hand: cost. The cost of venues is increasing, making sports such as skateboarding to be held in urban settings to save money. Thus, lessening the chance of adding eSports to the Games.
Although there are countless factors that might affect the approval of eSports, the Olympics continue to steer their main focus on attracting an audience between the ages of 18-34. Video games are a major target for youth audiences proven in the International Dota 2 Championship, bringing not only countless views but also proving to be a big money event. Despite President’s disapproval of eSports, he still claims the main focus is to “take sports to youth” and if video games are the answer, he might just change his mind. Hopefully by 2024, video games prove to be his answer and Tony Estanguet, co-president of the Paris Olympic Committee, and other organizations are able to make “eSports in the Olympics” really happen.