The Olympic Council of Asia and Alisports of China announced a strategic partnership to bring the eSports to the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
eSports has already been added to the OCA’s 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, this September as a demonstration sport.
Said OCA President, HE Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah: “The Olympic Council of Asia has constantly been committed to the heritage, development and improvement of Asian sports, and we are extremely pleased about the strategic partnership with Alisports.”
He continued: “We look forward to further collaboration with Alisports in regards to digital sports concepts along with sporting events. We are sure that the extensive organising capabilities of Alisports, and their experience in e-sports, will assist the OCA in developing all sports.”
The Guardian (UK) reports that Alisports, “established in 2015 as the Alibaba Sports Group, announced a $150m investment last year with the International eSports Federation (IESF), the South Korea-based federation that’s long campaigned for the inclusion of competitive gaming in the Olympics. It put forth more than $14.5m to organize the World Electronic Sports Games in China’s Changzhou province, where roughly 60,000 players from 120 countries and regions competed for a $5.5m purse in January.”
It adds: “The IESF is one of two organizations, along with the British government-backed International eGames Committee (IEGC), that submitted a request to the IOC last year to obtain information on how to gain inclusion for eSports in the Olympic programme.”
“While that prospect remains distant, the incorporation of eSports to the Asian Games will offer a highly visible testing ground. That Alibaba signed an 11-year deal to be a leading sponsor of the summer and winter Olympics thought to be worth more than $1bn is interesting, too.”