Video game lovers from across the globe might be able to go for the gold by playing e-sports in the Paris Olympics.
Earlier this week, Tony Estanguet, co-president of the Paris Olympic bid committee, said there will be talks with e-sports representatives about the possibility of gaming being included in the 2024 Olympic lineup.
Ryan Pallett, president of the Toronto Esports Club, said the popularity of e-sports is on the rise, with some tournament prizes reaching more than $1-million and viewership that rivals some major league sporting events.
“A lot of tournaments are held in sporting stadiums, they often sell out up to 20, 30, 40,000 live attendees, and the crowds are cheering and just as passionate as traditional sports fans,” Pallett told the Calgary Eyeopener.
“I guess the only main difference is that instead of watching the athletes, mostly you’re watching the action on a screen instead.”
Best of the best
There are only a handful of video games in contention to become Olympic e-sports, said Pallett, including League of Legends and Counter-Strike.
Pallett said the League of Legends championships was watched by a staggering 46 million viewers online.
“The NBA finals this past year I think was 44 million at its peak. So I think that’s what spurred this on in the first place is that people are starting to see how popular this is among young people,” Pallett said.
Just like big names in traditional sports, Pallett said there are “rock stars” in the gaming community, including League of Legends’ reigning champion Lee Sang-hyeok, better known by his user name, “Faker.”
“(Faker) has sort of like a multi-million dollar contract and sponsorship…