The digital athlete revolution

If you have ever watched a broadcast on a streaming site such as Twitch, you will understand how popular the world of video games are, especially at a competitive level.

Games such as League of Legends, DOTA 2, and Counter Strike are hugely popular on streaming sites and all have well established competitive tournament scene.

While some may look down on the gaming community, and especially those who consider themselves as athletes. Being exceptional at a video game requires a high level of skill, including reflexes.

Players of these games can earn significant amounts of money, one example of this is DOTA: 2 player Clement Ivanov.

Ivanov, who is based in Estonia, is better known in the professional gaming world as Puppey, captain of Team Secret. One of the top-earning Dota 2 players in the world, he went pro in 2010, and his career growth parallels the growth of e-sports as a whole. According to E-Sports Earnings, he has racked up over $1.65 million in prize money from 93 tournaments. E-Sports as a whole generated a staggering $1.5bn of revenue in 2017.

There is even talk that e-Sports could make its way onto the Olympic scene, but is this really a viable option moving forward?

So how would e-Sports at an Olympics work?

Well, it wouldn’t change much from the current layout that is already in place for e-Sports tournaments. Most tournaments are held in fairly large arenas, which are fairly similar to the venues used in indoor Olympic events, such as Badminton.

The transition would be a fairly seamless one, but would such an inclusion be financially viable for the participants?

The difference with conventional sports is that they have national sporting bodies that provide funding for their athletes, with some athletes having sponsors too, meaning they can afford to compete for an Olympic medal.

e-Sports don’t have national bodies that provide athletes from specific countries with funding. E-Sports athletes rely mainly on sponsors, or their team to make money.

Plus there is an issue with obtaining licenses from developers of the games to be able to broadcast them onto national television.

The interest is definitely there, however whether e-Sports makes it to the Olympic stage remains to be seen. It is unlikely to happen anytime soon, but with e-Sports continuously rising, it may become a reality later down the line.





Jak Edgley



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