Esports to Be Featured at the 2022 Commonwealth Games

  • There will be separate medals, organization, and branding for this pilot event
  • Three games are set to be a part of the Commonwealth Esports Championships, including Dota 2
  • The inclusion of esports is an attempt to engage more with younger audiences
  • Esports will also be a part of this year’s Asian Games in December
Gamer competing in an esports tournament
Esports will be a part of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England as a pilot event called the Commonwealth Esports Championships. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Trial run

Esports is going to be a part of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, taking place in Birmingham, England. The Commonwealth Esports Championships will be a pilot event with separate branding, organization, and medals, scheduled for August 6-7. It appears that three video games will have events in Birmingham, though the only one confirmed so far is Dota 2.

esports could be a part of the full program when the 2026 Commonwealth Games roll around

The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) is hopeful that esports could be a part of the full program when the 2026 Commonwealth Games roll around. The Canadian city of Hamilton, Ontario is one of the favorites to host the Commonwealth Games in 2030 and is reportedly also interested in including esports.

CGF president Dame Louise Martin spoke about the significant growth in the participation and popularity of esports, especially with young people. She said: “We are continuing to look at ways to explore how it can align with the Commonwealth Sports Movement.”

The 2022 pilot event will help the CGF assess the response to esports-related events and help it plan for future editions. The federation has reportedly come to an agreement with the Global Esports Federation to help with the Commonwealth Esports Championships.

Looking to boost engagement

The CGF has been looking to integrate esports into the Commonwealth Games since the completion of a strategic roadmap in October. Some traditionalists have been against the idea, while others believe that changes are necessary in order to engage with younger people.

CGF chief executive Katie Sadleir confirmed in December that the organization was keeping an open mind regarding the possible integration of esports into the Commonwealth Games. She also noted that significant changes could be made to the Games in the coming years. Hosts in the future will get much more flexibility as to what sports they can include. The only compulsory events are swimming and athletics.

Esports becoming more and more popular

In addition to becoming a part of the Commonwealth Games as a pilot event, esports will also be making their first appearance at the 2022 Asian Games in December, with medals handed out for eight different events. The games included will be FIFA and the Asian Games versions of Arena of Valor, PUBG Mobile, Dota 2, Dream Three Kingdoms 2, League of Legends, Street Fighter V, and HearthStone. A demonstration esports event took place at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) supported an Olympic Virtual Series last year before the Tokyo Games. It had almost 250,000 participants and over two million entries. A new edition of the event will take place this year.

looking at the possibility of including esports as an event in the Olympics

An exploratory committee is also looking at the possibility of including esports as an event in the Olympics as early as the 2028 Games in Los Angeles. Some non-traditional sports that have made their way into the Olympics recently include breakdancing and skateboarding.