LA 2024, the committee trying to bring the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics to Los Angeles, has announced a pledge to use eSports’ popularity and technology to try and connect youths to the Olympics.
This pledge was made after Staples Center in Los Angeles hosted the 2016 League of Legends World Championship Finals in front on a sellout crowd of 21,000. This was the third time Los Angeles had played host to the League of Legends World Championship Finals.
“LA 2024 fully supports the IOC’s mission to get young people all over the world leading active, healthy lifestyles,” LA 2024 Chairman Casey Wasserman said in a statement. “We view eSport’s immense global popularity and continued advances in digital technologies as tremendous tools for reconnecting Millennials with the Olympic Movement. The 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Los Angeles – a city always imagining what’s next, where sport, entertainment and technology mix like nowhere else – would enable IOC to stay at the cutting edge of the digital youth engagement.”
In May, LA 2024 sponsored the LA Hacks Hackathon, a computer programming event where more than 1,000 high school and college students were challenged to create hardware and software innovations for sports entertainment, youth engagement and fitness.
They also released an emoji-keyboard app on the eve of the Rio 2016 games that was designed as an online tool for LA 2024 supporters to show their support for the Olympic Movement and for bringing the Games to Los Angeles.
“LA 2024 will work to ensure technology enhances young people’s sports experiences, instead of replacing them and becomes a platform for further popularizing Olympic and Paralympic sports,” Wasserman said. “There are 100 million young people in the United States along and we regard hosting the summer Games for the first time in a generation as a unique opportunity to increase their enthusiasm for and participation in sport. Harnessing the power of new technologies like virtual and augmented reality to promote healthy lifestyles will be a key objective as we seek to create a new Games for a new era in 2024.”
The recognition of eSports comes as the possibility of it eventually becoming an Olympic sport has been proposed. In February, the International e-Sports Federation (IeSF) submitted the “Official Letter of Request” to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in a first step toward attaining recognition.
For the past few years, IeSF has been working to increase its collaboration with different international sports society members to bring e-sport into the sports sector.
“We still have many tasks to cover and this will be indeed a difficult challenge,” IeSF president Byung Hun Jun said in a statement in April. “Nevertheless, we will keep on driving our forces for e-sports to become an official sport and also care for the welfare of e-sport athletes. This calling can be successfully completed with the continuous support from our e-sport fans, Athletes, games companies, and partners wiring together in the e-sports industry.”
Jun also spoke to the Korea Times last month on the subject.
“We are living in a digital era and video games are solidifying their status as a sport for all,” he said. “Reflecting this tendency, we will do our best to let e-sports join the Olympic Games in the near future.”