After a recent Esports forum was held to begin bridging the gap between Esports and the Olympics, we’ve taken a look at the audience size of Esports stands up to that of the most popular sports currently included in the Summer Olympics.
Unsuprisingly, football (soccer) comes out on top with a global audience of approximately 3.5 billion, with a significant lead on field hockey in second with a 2 billion person audience. Tennis, volleyball and table tennis round out the top five with 1 billion, 900 million and 850 million fans resepctively.
Baseball is the 6th most popular with 500 million. Despite having not been included in the 2012 London games and 2016 games in Rio, baseball is set to make a return in Tokyo’s 2020 olympics. The final remaining olympic sports ahead of Esports are golf with 450 million global fans and basketball with 400 million.
With Esports perhaps the 9th most popular with 380 million global fans, this could potentially make Esports one of the most popular Olympic events should it be included in the future, adding fuel to the ever increasing fire of Esports’ Olympic argument.
Despite this, it is worth taking some of these stats with a pinch of salt. Although Esports now has it’s large audience, this will of course be across a huge number of titles which would complicate Olympics inclusion. The Asia Games in Jakarta will include League of Legends, Hearthstone, Starcraft II, Clash Royale and Arena of Valor as it’s games, with larg titles CS:GO and Dota 2 not chosen.
Longevity of popular Esports games may also be a hinderance in it’s Olympics bid. With 4 years between each Summer games, popular titles can easily change and cause inconsistency across events. This will cause further difficulty for coutries’ Olympic associations, who will look the find and train potential Olympic talent. If the participating games are to change every 4 years, then finding this talent will surely prove more challenging.
Regardless of complications, the inclusion of Esports in this years Asia Games as a demonstration sport means that it now appears to be only a matter of time until this comes to the Summer Olympics. With some statistics suggesting that Esports’ audience may reach 589 million by 2020, the Olympic Games look destined to step away from the track and step onto the PC.