TOKYO — The possibility of esports joining the Olympics program has gained traction in recent years but not everybody involved in the sport favors it.
Rahul Sood, the CEO of esports betting company Unikrn, believes the benefits for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) far outweigh those for stakeholders already invested in electronic sports gaming.
Last November, the IOC recognized esports as a sporting activity and it is set to be a full medal event at the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou.
Organizations like the Asian Electronic Sports Federation (AESF) are looking to get esports in the Olympic fold and hope that the IOC, grappling with an ageing audience and waning appeal for some traditional sports, will see it as the future.
Not everybody within the esports community, however, sees Olympic inclusion as the holy grail for the sport, Sood said.
“Some of the esports community are pumped to see video games at the Olympics, but many don’t see the point,” Sood told Reuters via email.
“I believe esports doesn’t need the Olympics as much as the Olympics needs esports. They would have to make a really good case for this to happen, if I’m being honest.”
Sood said many of the top esports competitions, such as Counter Strike’s $1 million ELeague Premier and Dota 2’s The International, take place during the summer months and would clash with the Olympics. — Reuters