Esports to debut at 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta
The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has signed an official partnership deal with Chinese E-Commerce giant Alibaba.com to bring Esports its first major international event, in the form of the Asian Games. According to sources, the deal has been signed for two editions in 2018 (Indonesia) and 2022 (China). As a test event, the Asian Indoor Games in Turkmenistan this year will also feature games such as League of Legends and Dota 2.
OCA President Farhad Al Sabah confirmed to Sportskeeda about the latest inclusion. He said, “It has been included as a test event along with Alisports, we will take a call whether the sport is a success or not after that. As an organisation, the OCA always looks to inculcate sports which are being played within the continent and it is clear that Esports is one of the most popular. We have not confirmed the games yet, but we will in a few months.”
However, sources close to Alisports confirmed that DOTA 2 and League of Legends, popularly known as LoL has been shortlisted for the event. A mobile game will also be included, but there is no confirmation of any game yet. This is not Alibaba’s first venture into esports, last year they formed the World Electronic Sports (WESG), investing as much as $ 150 million. The partnership with OCA is reportedly double that amount.
A source close to Sportskeeda said, “The primary goal of Alisports is to develop esports in China, apart from making esports a global sport. The Asian Games partnership is a first step towards that, by 2022 when the event comes to China, we are expecting massive turnouts as competitive video gaming has become the country’s number 1 sport right now.”
The International Esports Federation or IESF has been pushing for Olympic legitimacy since 2008, Asian Games inclusion gives their cause more potency ahead of the 2026 Olympics.
Last year, we reported that if Los Angeles were to win the 2026 Olympic bid, Esports would most definitely be included. With the OCA joining hands with Alisports, this is the first step for full frontal mainstream acceptance of competitive games from across the world.