IOC Opens Door to E-Sports in Olympics

'The players involved prepare and train with an intensity which may be comparable to athletes'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 28, 2017 4:58 PM CDT
IOC Opens Door to E-Sports in Olympics
In this Feb. 17, 2017 photo, Ninjas in Pyjamas, a team from Sweden, competes during the Dreamhack Masters e-sports tournament at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.   (AP Photo/John Locher)

The International Olympic Committee has taken the first step toward allowing competitive video game playing into the Olympics, NBC Sports reports. According to Reuters, the IOC released a statement Saturday after meeting in Switzerland stating that e-sports "could be considered as a sporting activity, and the players involved prepare and train with an intensity which may be comparable to athletes in traditional sports." It's a sign of progress for competitive video game playing after IOC president Thomas Bach previously said the committee was "not yet 100% clear whether e-sports is really sports."

The IOC has been eyeing e-sports as one possible way of getting young people invested in the Olympics, and the team behind the 2024 Paris Games had asked to discuss adding e-sports because "the youth are interested," the BBC reports. The chairman of Los Angeles' successful 2028 Olympic bid has also been high on e-sports. A decision on bringing video games to the Olympics won't be made until after the 2020 Games in Tokyo. In order for it to happen, e-sports would have to be recognized as an official Olympic sport, conform to Olympic values, and create a governing body to make sure it follows Olympic rules regarding doping, gambling, and more. Competitive video game playing brought in more than $525 million in revenue in 2016 and is expected to have a global audience exceeding 385 million people this year. (Read more e-sports stories.)

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