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Esports Olympics – Could esports be an Olympic event?

A top esports team at a competition

Your parents were wrong: turns out video games aren’t just a waste of time. As online streaming and Internet gaming have evolved and matured over the years, organized competitive video gaming, also known as esports, tournaments have become major sporting events in their own right. Professional esports teams now enjoy corporate sponsorships and large online followings that have turned online gaming into a legitimate—and even lucrative—profession.

As viewers and revenue flood the esports industry, the case for creating esports Olympics events is gaining momentum. With the recent additions of skateboarding and surfing to this year’s Olympic Games and break dancing to the 2024 Olympics, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has demonstrated a desire to stay current and add events that will attract younger generations.

Based on its rapidly growing popularity and rising earnings, esports seems like a natural fit for a new Olympic event, and it looks like the IOC agrees.

What has the IOC said?

The prospect of esports Olympics events has been burning bright since 2017, when IOC officials first revealed that they were “open” to including top esports events in future Olympic Games.

While these comments were noncommittal and didn’t lay out any timeline for making a decision, the president of the IOC did acknowledge that esports has quickly gained a significant audience and cultural influence—both of which strengthen the case for adding top esports competitions to the Olympics in the future.

“Olympic values” must be upheld in esports competitions

The biggest requirement of any potential esports Olympics competition is that the game or contest needs to align with “Olympic values.” This means that the competition cannot feature or promote violence of any kind. Likewise, any esports competition would not be allowed to feature content that could promote discrimination or be used to make political demonstrations.

This would eliminate some popular esports competitions from consideration, including games that feature shooting or war-like settings as part of the game. Sports games and racing games, however, are among the types of popular esports competitions that might be considered for inclusion in the future.

The Olympic Virtual Series leads the way

While you won’t find esports competitions at the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, the Olympic Virtual Series brings us one step closer to esports at the Olympics. During the Virtual Series, fans will be able to enjoy esports events planned as innovative digital engagements taking place around the Olympic Games. The Olympic Virtual Series will offer gaming competitions across five different esports events, giving fans—especially younger fans—an exciting new way to participate in the Olympic experience.

The Olympic Virtual Series also lets the Games test out the idea of esports within the larger Olympic experience, without green-lighting these competitions as full Olympic sports. If you’re eager to see esports events at future Olympic Games, the Olympic Virtual Series is a promising step in that direction.

When will we see esports Olympics events?

While the IOC is actively engaged in exploring esports as a future Olympics event, don’t count on seeing a gold medalist in esports until at least 2024, likely later. Sporting competitions must be officially added as Olympic sports before they can be eligible for future Games, and the window for adding esports to the 2024 Summer Games in Paris is closing fast.

Olympic esports are much more likely to debut at the 2028 Olympic Games, which will be held in Los Angeles. Waiting until 2028 will give the IOC more time to evaluate the benefits of adding esports to the Olympics, and to make sure rules and expectations are in place to keep the competition in line with Olympic values.

In the meantime, esports fans should check out the Olympic Virtual Series to show support for Olympic esports events. Whether you’re streaming esports competitions live or participating yourself, you can get the best gaming experience possible by upgrading to Ting Internet’s lightning-fast service. Our fiber internet offers the high-performance connection that top esports gamers depend on.

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