(ATR) Paris 2024 bid co-chairman Tony Estanguet says the youth attraction to esports makes it an intriguing possibility to add to the Olympic program.
Tony Estanguet during Olympic Day in Paris (ATR)
"We have to look at it because we can't say, 'it's not about Olympics,'" Estanguet told the AP. "The youth are interested, so let's meet them.”
Esports are gaining popularity around the world, with professional sports leagues such as the National Basketball Association and International Federations such as FIFA endorsing the trend with esport leagues of their own.
The 2022 Asian Games will also feature competitive video gaming as a medal event following its inclusion as a demonstration sport in 2018.
The final step for the growing discipline would be inclusion to the Olympic program.
"I think it's interesting to interact with the IOC and the esports family to better understand what the process is and why it is such a success,” said Estanguet, adding that a decision can wait until more data about esports becomes available.
"There is some time to look at it, to interact, to engage. I don't want to say 'no' from the beginning.”
The event program for Paris 2024 will be ratified after the conclusion of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, but Estanguet says conversations are likely to begin at the IOC Session in Lima, Peru this September.
“We will spend some time after Lima to engage with new people and stakeholders," Estanguet said. "The IOC will have the last say if they want esports on the program. Let's discuss among ourselves.”
The IOC currently remains skeptical about the emergence of esport.
"We are not yet 100 percent clear whether esports is really sport, with regard to physical activity and what it needs to be considered sport," IOC president Thomas Bach said in April.
"We do not see an organization or a structure that will give us confidence, or guarantee, that in this area the Olympic rules and values of sport are respected and in place, and that the implementation of these rules are monitored and secured."
Paris 2024 did not offer more comment to Around the Rings
at this time regarding the potential of esports to join its Olympic program or its popularity in the French capital.
Homepage photo: Getty Images
Written by Kevin Nutley
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