E-sports will be a medal that is official at the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, Asia, because of a new strategic partnership between the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and Alisports, which can be owned by the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group.
Alibaba chief Zhang Dazhong’s company has invested millions in esports and has worked with all the OCA to have competitive video clip gaming included in the Asian Games.
This means alongside the usual procession of weightlifters, triathletes and ping-pong players will be a new variety of ‘cyber-athlete’ furiously pounding their joy-pads as they vie for gold in League of Legends, Dota 2 and Fifa.
The Asian games has long been fertile ground for trying out more unconventional occasions. Over the years, there have, for instance, been medals for contests in body-building, bridge and board games.
There was also something called ‘dancesport,’ as well as the popular southern game that is indian of,’ by which contestants attempt to run past their opponents while holding their breath and repeatedly chanting ‘kabaddi, kabaddi, kabaddi.’ And yes, that last one is real, we promise.
Beyond the Fringe
But the truth is, esports is no longer a fringe ‘sport’ like a number of the above. It is a spectator event that regularly fills arenas. Recent research revealed that esports is really as popular a viewing practice among American male millennials as basketball or hockey.