Esports Joining Olympics in 2024
- By Dian Schaffhauser
If you've wondered whether esports truly is an athletic endeavor, maybe this will convince you: The 2024 Summer Olympics, taking place in Paris, will include demonstration esports events.
Organizers have announced "virtual and connected" events that will run prior to and alongside the physical ones, according to reporting by Inside the Games. The idea is to engage fans and spectators in the lead-up to the Games, which start on July 26, 2024. Individual sports would offer online versions, which in some cases, might compete against the athletes taking the field.
For example, World Sailing has proposed a version of its sailing contests. The organization already makes "Virtual Regatta" available, which takes players through some of the most famous regatta in the world, including America's Cup and the Vendée Globe. Other organizations have also joined the esports wagon, including the National Basketball Association and the English Premier League for soccer, by partnering with esports leagues on gaming titles built for their sports. However, World Sailing is the only one so far to put a public proposal on the table for the Games.
What the esports community won't get are shooter games or games that promote other kinds of violence, which the IOC has warned are "not compatible" with Olympic values, as Fortune reported last year.
Competitive video gaming has already been announced as a medal event at the 2022 Asian Games, which will take place in Hangzhou, China.
The advantages of folding esports into the Olympics would benefit both sides, as Forbes opined. For its part, esports proponents would gain the legitimacy that draws "billions in sponsorship dollars now going to traditional sports broadcasting." And the Olympics, run by the International Olympic Committee, with its "careful, slow-moving processes," would be able to "connect to a new generation of fans," a major priority for its corporate backers.
Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.