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Olympic committee may move with the times on eSports

Over the weekend a meeting in Lausanne of the Olympic Games committee discussed the eSports phenomenon, acknowledging its rapidly growing global audience of millions of men in the 18 to 25 age group, and its potential to enhance interest and engagement in the historic Games.

There is a wealth of practical evidence on this massive online, livestreamed and live audience in the form of viewership and attendance figures at the growing number of major eSports competitions sponsored by major international companies and staged at arenas around the world.

The Lausanne discussion is the latest manifestation of the increasing interest in the inclusion of eSports in the four-yearly athletics competition, with the French bid for the 2024 Games including an interest in embracing eSports.

The next Games are scheduled for 2020 in Tokyo, and it is unlikely that sufficient progress will be made to include eSports in that presentation, but the interest is clearly there.

Observers have noted that a more centralised and formal administration and control of the vertical will need to be established before eSports achieves serious consideration and ultimate recognition as a competitive sport by the IOC.

The nearest body to fulfil that function is probably the Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC), but some work will have to be done before that organisation is truly fit for a significantly expanded purpose.

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