Schedule for eSports demonstration event at Asian Games revealed

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The schedule for eSports at the 18th Asian Games is here and people are getting excited.

Videogaming will take yet another step towards mainstream recognition with the eSports Demonstration Event in Jakarta that will take place from August 26 – September 1.

This is the first time that eSports will be associated with an officially sanctioned Olympic event.

League of Legends tops the bill from August 27-29 with PES 2018, Clash Royale, Arena of Valor, Hearthstone, and Starcraft each showcasing a one day event, according to Tencent.

 

August 26 is game on with Arena of Valor the first battleground for elite gamers, and the full time whistle will blow on September 1 with Pro Evolution Soccer 2018.

Qualification has been underway since June.

China, Chinese Taipei, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Vietnam will compete in the eSports tournament in Jakarta.

Explosive

The galactic growth of the international gaming industry continues, the headline game in Jakarta is a case in point:

In 2017 the League of Legends World Championship reached 60 million unique viewers online, compared to 43 million in 2016.

Intel’s World Championships gaming event in Katowice in 2017 had 173,000 live spectators. That’s almost 100,000 more than 2018’s World Cup final.

Intel’s Extreme Masters World Championship 2017 also reached more than 46 million online viewers.

Digital sports are moving into the international mainstream arena and the Asian Games Demonstration Event is another sign of the times.

eSports crowds in Las Vegas
Crowds watch the DragonBall FighterZ finals during EVO 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images)

Big name game

Predictions are that the industry could be worth nearly $138 billion by the end of 2018 and there are some big names entering the field of play.

Gaming giant Blizzard (Creators of blockbuster games Star Craft, World of Warcraft) created the Overwatch League (OWL), the first major global professional esports league with competition organized by cities.

12 pro teams played in the first-ever global city-based esports league from January to June 2018.

Overwatch League finals New York City
Overwatch team players at the grand finals in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Eisman/Getty Images)

A quick glance at the backers of this new league gives you a good idea of the direction the sector is heading with investments made by some of the most successful owners in the world of sports:

Robert Kraft (New England Patriots, New England Revolution), Jeff Wilpon (New York Mets), Stan Kroenke (Los Angeles Rams, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Rapids, Arsenal FC), Andy Miller (Sacramento Kings) are among other noteworthy names involved from both traditional sports and esports.

A dedicated esports stadium called Blizzard Arena was also built at the former studio of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

Traditional sports and digital sports are growing closer.

The Olympics

In July the International Olympic Comittee (IOC) met with the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) and agreed to establish a liaison group.

Further discussions are set for the IF Forum in Lausanne in November.

IOC President Thomas Bach spoke at the eSports forum where he revealed that digital sports will be on the agenda at December’s Olympic Summit.

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Author: Ken Browne
Ken Browne is a multimedia journalist for the Olympic Channel.