eSports joins the 2022 Asian Games as a medal event
Esports will form part of the 2022 Asian Games, set to be held in China. The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) said it wanted to reflect “the rapid development and popularity of this new form of sports participation.” It marks an evolution from next year’s 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, where eSports will debut as a demonstration sport. Come 2022, however, it will be a medal event, given equal footing with long-established athletic events and sports. The move is in part due to a partnership deal between e-commerce beast Alibaba (well, its eSports arm) and the OCA.
It marks another milestone for eSports, and one that doesn’t involve the number of zeroes attached to prize pot amounts. Asia has also notably taken to digital sports faster than other regions: analysts believe revenues will rise to $696 million in 2017, with a whole 15 percent of that coming from China. And if there’s enough viewers and fans to warrant permanent stadiums and arenas in 2017, it doesn’t take much to imagine the scale of events by 2022.