Just like that, the dream of esports becoming part of the Olympics hits a brick wall. It’s in the form of International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach. Bach, during a press conference with members of the Associated Press, noted that certain “killer games” and violence have no future in the sporting event.
Esports, violence, and the Olympic dream
We’ve monitored developments in the growth and acceptance of esports as a legitimate competition. It is an undeniable fact that esports has taken the world by storm. Likewise, it’s become a regulated part of the industry with its own business model. We’ve also seen that groups have lobbied for its inclusion in traditional sporting events.
For instance, the 2018 Asian Games feature League of Legends and other esports for demonstration. Also, an Esports Forum in Switzerland last July brought up the topic of an Olympic inclusion. The overarching idea is to make esports more acceptable to a wider audience — and there’s no better way to do that than being in major events like the Olympics.
Unfortunately, it looks like we’re at an impasse. Bach’s full statement adds the following:
We cannot have in the Olympic program a game which is promoting violence or discrimination. So-called killer games. They, from our point of view, are contradictory to the Olympic values and cannot therefore be accepted.
Bach also cited a comparison with his background in fencing — pretty much a combat sport with weapons — where he won a gold medal in the 1976 Summer Olympics. Bach mentioned this:
Of course every combat sport has its origins in a real fight among people. But sport is the civilized expression about this. If you have egames where it’s about killing somebody, this cannot be brought into line with our Olympic values.
Find a compromise and follow the money
Esports and Olympics. As often, follow the money. Don’t be distracted if sport? Not sport? Violence? IOC sees the young demographic. Billions in industry. Accommodations can be found, surely.
— Stephen Wade (@StephenWadeAP) September 3, 2018
So yes, for now, the dream of esports becoming an Olympic event is still up in the air. However, AP reporter Stephen Wade did surmise a possibility of compromise. Follow the money and find accommodations — and we’ll see if the IOC can eventually change its mind.
How do you feel about these developments? Will esports eventually find its way into the Olympic games? Let us know.