The eSports and Olympic Games: Perspectives of an ongoing debate


  • Nelson Schneider Todt Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
  • André Fagundes Pase Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
  • Alessandra Maria Scarton Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
  • Luis Henrique Rolim Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
  • Guilherme Ziliotto Berlitz Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
  • Lucas Viapiana Baptista Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil



eSports, Olympic Games, Electronic Sports, Olympic Movement


This literature review paper aims to understand the different perspectives on the inclusion or not of eSports in the Olympic Games programme. ESports (electronic sports) popularity among world’s youth population grows daily. The eSports phenomenon became a new form of entertainment with its own financial means and cultural practices, very close related to streaming technology, and ultimately bringing new questions and challenges for the so-called ‘traditional sports’ field. The audience success sparked the gaming industry with a considerable economic growth, transforming a backyard practice in the beginning of the century into a worldwide recognized activity; a megaevent in terms of infrastructure and media coverage. Therefore, in a short period of time the debate about eSports become recognized as ‘sport’ as well as to be include into the Olympic Games programme emerged. In recent years, some decisions heated this debate. For example, at the occasion of the 6th Summit of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), held at Lausanne (Switzerland) in 2017, eSports were placed on the agenda about the future of the Olympic Movement. As a result of the Summit discussions, the IOC concluded that (1) eSports have been demonstrating a sharp growth with the youth of several countries and could become a platform for engagement between this young population and the Olympic Movement; (2) eSports can be considered a physical activity and the players training intensity could be compared to ‘traditional sports’ athletes; (3) to be recognized as sport by the IOC, the contents of eSports must not violate the Olympic Values; and (4) in order to the IOC grant recognition, an international eSports federation must be created to ensure the compliance of the rules and regulations of the Olympic Movement (IOC, 2017). Moreover, another important milestone was the announcement of the Intel World Open, an eSports event organized by Intel in partnership with the IOC that is going to be held in July 2020 and it will be a pre-event for the Tokyo Olympic Games. In this sense, this paper has an exploratory approach and the Content Analysis was the interpretational method used. The main results indicated three categories of understanding about the eSports and the Olympics relation: (1) the eSports does not have the necessary features to be considered ‘sport’, then could not be included in Olympic programme; (2) the eSports activity is comparable to ‘traditional sports’, therefore could be part of the Olympic programme; and (3) the eSports could have its own ‘Olympic event’, a parallel competition such as Paralympics. In this sense, the relationship between the eSports and the Olympic Movement is undeniable and despite the different arguments analysed in paper, there are other perspectives remaining to be considered. Thus, a second phase of this study is currently under development and it includes the eSports and Olympics protagonists point of view about the research topic.


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Statistics RUA



How to Cite

Todt, N. S., Pase, A. F., Scarton, A. M., Rolim, L. H., Berlitz, G. Z., & Baptista, L. V. (2020). The eSports and Olympic Games: Perspectives of an ongoing debate. Journal of Human Sport and Exercise, 15(1proc), S94-S110.

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