The Olympics will shift to Tokyo in 2020, and e-sports may reportedly be part of the competition at those Games.
Jacob Wolf of ESPN.com provided the details Monday:
We could see esports become an official part of the Olympic Games by 2020. The International e-Sports Federation (IeSF), a South Korean organization, has received a response from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) outlining the process and next steps to allow esports to be recognized as an Olympic sport.
Wolf noted the IeSF provided the IOC with a request for more information on how to become part of the Olympics back in February. The IeSF received its answer and will now respond accordingly.
The secretary general for the IeSF, Alex Lim, said the overall evaluation process for recognition by the IOC will not start until December, per William Alco of theScore esports.
Alco cited Lim and said part of the evaluation process is answering a questionnaire with numerous inquiries about topics such as the tradition of the sport, its popularity and how it is governed, among others.
While e-sports may not have the long tradition of other Olympic sports, Alco pointed out the IeSF has held annual tournaments featuring players from different countries in South Korea since 2009.
Alco also said the IeSF created a committee to help decide which games will be in the Olympics if e-sports are indeed included in future Games.
Perhaps most importantly, whether the IeSF earns SportAccord membership stands as a potential obstacle in the process of gaining recognition from the IOC. According to Alco, “SportAccord is a union for Olympic and non-Olympic international sports federations as well as organizers of international sporting events. Membership in SportAccord would mean that e-sports fit the organization's definition of sport.”
If the IeSF is ultimately able to gain a spot at the Olympic table, international events will be nothing new for e-sports, especially by the year 2020.
In addition to the annual tournaments in South Korea, Wolf said it was announced in April that the International eGames Committee (IeGC) will cooperate with the IOC and the British government to hold an e-sports competition in Rio de Janeiro while the 2016 Olympics are taking place in the same locale.
Wolf listed countries such as the United States, Great Britain, Canada and Brazil as participants in the event.
The process of proposing and adding new sports to the Olympics is not without recent precedent. The IOC approved both golf and rugby as sports for the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, and Nick Zaccardi of Olympic Talk reported in September of 2015 that “Tokyo 2020 proposed adding baseball, softball, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing to its Olympic program.”
Perhaps e-sports will be joining the list of potential new sports if the IeSF succeeds in its efforts.