2024 PARIS OLYMPICS TO HAVE ESPORTS AS ‘DEMONSTRATION TITLE’
The 2024 Paris Olympics hosting committee is in talks to include eSports as a ‘demonstration sport’ during the event, the International e-Sports Federation (IeSF) has announced.
The Paris organising committee made a previous announcement that it would include eSports as an official discipline in the event, following official discussions with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), shortly after Paris had been elected the host city.
Meanwhile, eSports are slated for the 2022 Asian Games already.
According to IeSF acting secretary general Leopold Chung, the games could not constitute an official discipline for the time being, but they will be featured as a ‘demonstration title’ during the event.
The inclusion of eSports in the Olympics is largely possible because of IOC president Thomas Bach who has been pushing to innovate the event and rev up interest and investment at a time when major cities around the world have been turning down offers to host upcoming events.
Bach’s strategy for the reinvigoration of the Olympics has focused on young people and reaching out to new audiences. However, Bach remained cautious at the idea of introducing eSports that could be seen as ‘the promotion of violence’ or ‘any kind of demonstration.’
When discussing the possibility last October, Bach made a case for professional video gaming but noted that they should not infringe any Olympic values.
At the same time, the support of the Paris Organising Committee comes as an auspicious occurrence. France is one of the countries in the world that recognises eSports as an official sport and accord the status of ‘athletes’ to professional gamers.
With its own organisation representing electronic sports, namely France Esports, the country is the perfect bidder to field eSports during an official Olympic Ceremony.
Chung has this to say about the future of eSports as part of the Olympics: ‘Paris would one day like to become an esports hub for Europe. There are great engagement numbers, great fan numbers who live in France and especially in Paris, who would definitely want to come to an esports game.’