eSports may seem like a passing fad to more traditional sports fans, but its supporters are aiming to solidify its place by taking aim at the biggest sporting event in the world, the Olympics.
The International e-Sports Federation (IeSF), which is based in South Korea, has applied for eSports to be recognized by the International Olympic Committee as an Olympic sport, according to theScore.
IeSF sent in its request on Feb. 19, and it received a response on April 8 from the IOC detailing the process and the necessary steps that must be accomplished in order for eSports to be recognized as an Olympic sport. IeSF secretary general Alex Lim told theScore the organization plans to submit the next request due to the IOC before August. The IOC will then review this request at its executive board meeting in December.
According to Lim, the IOC also requires that applicants answer a questionnaire with specific information on their prospective sports. The questionnaire covers general information, history and tradition, universality, popularity, athletes, governance and development of the sport.
As for which games might actually be played at the Olympics, Lim said his organization would compose a committee in charge of determining which specific game titles would be played.
The remote possibility exists for eSports to be apart of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, but even Lim’s optimism is tempered. He told theScore, “please note Rome [wasn’t] built in a day.”
However, eSports fans will still have a shot to see their sport in an Olympic setting sooner rather than later. ESPN reported the International eGames Committee (IeGC), a nonprofit backed by the British government, is working with the IOC to put on an eSports event in Rio de Janeiro that coincides with the Olympics this summer.
The esports games that will take place at that event are currently uncertain. But according to the IeGC, Brazil, Great Britain, Canada and the United States will be featured in the tournament.
eSports has also made significant gains in terms of U.S. media attention in 2016. ESPN unveiled an eSports vertical back in January, and Turner Sports will broadcast its inaugural eSports competition on TBS on May 27.