Esports could feature at the 2032 Brisbane Olympics, according to recent statements by the IOC.
A recent amendment of the International Olympic Committee’s rules allows the host city to make recommendations for new sports, permanently or as a one-off, to provide more local flavour between Games. This allows Queensland to include sports it deems valuable or culturally relevant. Of any sports that Queensland suggests, it is likely only one or two will ultimately make it in.
When Brisbane’s organising committee met for the first time last weekend, the IOC dropped a minor bombshell: it felt that video games, specifically esports, are becoming a more and more likely candidate for Olympics inclusion. As the profile of competitive gaming as a spectator sport has risen, it seems the IOC has begun to take note. It doesn’t come as much of a surprise. The IOC has spent several years now attempting to revitalise interest in the Olympics by including more contemporary games like skateboarding and BMX.
This was echoed by Kirsty Coventry, the chair of Brisbane’s Olympic coordination commission. “What we are looking for is sports which are well appreciated by the younger generation,” said Coventry. “As you’ve already seen with Tokyo and previous Games, it’s really about getting them excited by the Olympic dream.” Coventry went on to say that it was still too early to say which sports will ultimately make the cut.
That makes sense. There is, of course, a long road ahead before any of this comes to fruition. The 2032 games are a decade away, and Brisbane is still in the venue planning stages. It will take an extraordinarily long time before any of this starts to fall into place.
For now, Olympic esports should still be considered anything but a foregone conclusion. Should it find itself in the mix, esports will be up against more traditional Australian sports like cricket, netball, Aussie rules and rugby league for selection. Even with another ten years of growth in the offing, it will have a lot of work to do if it plans to convince the IOC.
The International Olympic Committee is looking at holding an esports festival in Singapore next year as a second-stage testbed. It previously held a similar event before the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. If the IOC likes what it sees in Singapore, it could lay the groundwork for the formal inclusion of esports as an Olympic event in 2032.
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