Esports Looking To Olympic Inclusion To Validate Gaming Throughout Sporting World
Booming esports "do not need the Olympics to maintain their explosive growth" but a link with the world's biggest multi-sports event would "validate gaming worldwide and give the Games a much-needed younger audience," industry leaders said, according to Karolos Grohmann of REUTERS. Esports have an estimated 250 million players, "more than several of the traditional Olympic sports federations combined." The market is also worth about $1B a year "and growing." Logitech CEO Bracken Darren, whose company has been making computer and gaming equipment for decades and is now "riding the wave" of esports, said, "This will be the biggest sport in the world within 20 years." Logitech's gaming division has "enjoyed" 25-35% growth annually in the past four years alone, Darrell said, adding that the company was an equipment maker "just like Nike is for athletes." He said, "What has happened surprises us as much as it does everyone. Esports will probably be as big or bigger than football. The earlier the Olympics gets in the mix the better." The IOC last month recognized esports as a sport, the "first clear indication to the growing industry that it wants to link up." With the IOC's traditional audience aging and several Olympic sports past their int'l sell-by date, "it is desperate to attract younger people even if it means breaking with tradition." ESL Dir of Team & Federation Relations Jan Pommer said, "We consider esports as entertainment with competitive and sports characteristics. We fully recognize, though, the reservations of the traditional sports world" (REUTERS, 12/5).
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