Despite being wildly popular, esports have struggled to be considered true sports. However, that could change dramatically in the not-too-distant future.
Alisports, a subsidiary of Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba, has teamed with the Olympic Council of Asia to make esports a part of the Asian Games, according to CNET. Following an appearance at the 2018 Indonesia games as a “demonstration sport,” esports will be a medal sport at the 2022 games in China.
That’s right, “League of Legends” players one day could carry their nations’ colors during an Olympic ceremony alongside athletes such as Lebron James and Usain Bolt.
Regardless of whether esports players are considered real athletes, they’re part of a sport that’s growing too fast to ignore. The industry was worth over $450 million as of last April, and is expected to be worth as much as $1 billion by 2019, according to CNET.
The industry’s path toward acceptance in the athletic community could be greatly accelerated by professional sports leagues in the United States. The NBA, for example, already has revealed its plans for a professional esports league, and the NHL might not be far behind.
Thumbnail photo via Flickr/Artubr