Esports is now a booming sports sector in China. (Photo : Getty Images)
Thanks to the partnership between the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba, esports events will now be added in the 2018 and 2022 Asian Games, which will respectively take place in Jakarta, Indonesia and Hangzhou, China.
A report from PVP Live noted that the recently inked agreement will see the debut of esports in the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.
According to OCA President Ahmad Fahad Al-Sabah, the council has "always been committed to the inheritance, development, and improvement of Asian sports."
Citing the strength and experience of Alisports when it comes to esports, the president believes that the said Alibaba unit will be helpful in their various campaigns.
Alisports is acknowledged for its contributions in the esports industry. Its parent firm has previously committed $150 million to help develop the said sports sector.
In 2016, it launched the World Electronic Sports Games, which is the successor of the now-defunct World Cyber Games.
Alibaba's sports arm has also sealed a partnership with the International Esports Federation (IeSF).
Analysts believe that the inclusion of esports in the Asian Games is a crucial step in making it part of the Olympics. Outside of the Olympics, Asian Games is considered as the world's biggest sports event, considering its wide-ranging Asian audiences.
Since 2008, the IeSF has been lobbying for the Olympic inclusion of esports events. For the federation, hearing about the recently announced progress is a heartening news.
Alongside the IeSF, other organizations are also fighting for esports' addition in Olympic Games. British government-backed International eGames Committee has already launched a body that would both run eGames and advise the International Olympic Committee about the state of esports development.
The first eGames was held last summer coinciding with the Rio Olympics. During the event, Canada's Ally bagged the Smash Bros. gold medal.