When there is a conversation about eSports and the mainstream - which is something that happens with increasing regularity these days given the increased interest out there - there is always an element of that conversation that says eSports are already mainstream. After all, there is widespread betting on eSport on games like Call of Duty and there are dedicated arenas being built to showcase the sport. So where is there to go?

That’s a reasonable point. As things stand, eSport has a profile that a lot of traditional sports would love to have, sponsorship and even broadcast deals that gamers could only have dreamt of until recently. For the sport to keep growing, though, it is reasonable to look at avenues for greater recognition, and one way that this could happen is through its inclusion in the Olympics. Is this something that could one day happen? There are points that indicate it could, and others that seem to argue against - but let’s look at whether this is a realistic possibility in the near- to medium-term future.


Inclusion in the Asian Games sets a precedent

When you are trying to make a case for anything, the importance of precedent cannot be denied. If something has happened in a certain way before, it creates credibility for it to happen in a broader way. And so the inclusion of eSport in this year’s Asian games gives some assistance to those making the case for it to be featured in the Olympics. Regrettably, we know that there won’t be a space made for it in 2024, when the Games will be in Paris - a noted hot spot for eSports. But with the 2028 games being in LA, that does keep the way open for its inclusion as at least a demonstration sport.

The Evolution Of Esports

There are a lot of sports that aren’t in the Olympics

One thing that is demanded of sports if they are to be recognised by the Olympic Charter is that they be played in enough countries on enough continents by enough people of both sexes. The numbers differ for men and women, and eSports could make a case for inclusion on this point. However, the same is true of cricket, which has never been included since 1900. Chess could also make a claim on this basis, and both sports have been mooted as possible inclusions for longer than eSports. So while its continued lack of inclusion may be irritating, it’s not anomalous.

There is support within the IOC

One thing that may benefit eSports’ case for inclusion is that it does have its supporters within the International Olympic Committee. During the Tokyo games, there was a parallel Olympic-affiliated eSports event, which does suggest that the door is ajar. For the moment, eSports fans can console themselves (pun not intended) with the fact that it’s come a lot further in a shorter time than many other sports, it’s on the sportsbook at Cloudbet and other betting sites, and little by little, eSports stars are becoming mainstream names.

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