Thumbs-up for electronic sports at the 2022 Asian Games

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10,000 athletes participated at the most recent Asian Games in 2014. The video games that will feature in the Hangzhou Games have not been decided yet.

Last year, Alisports invested US$150 million in the International eSports Federation, a South Korean organisation that lobbied the International Olympic Committee to consider esports for the Olympics.

Alisports, the sports subsidiary of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, has announced a strategic partnership with the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) that aims at bringing electronic sports to the Asian Games by 2022 as an official medal sport, says a press release from OCA.

The OCA that it has added eSports to the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Turkmenistan earlier this month, focusing on football and other sports-related games.

The six regions will each provide eight qualifiers - two in each game - for the final tournament in Ashgabat, where they will be joined by four Turkmen players to take the field to 52 players.

The eSports industry has grown on a year-over-year basis and is estimated to be responsible for over $1 billion in revenue in 2017. "It's stagnated and it's necessary to re-energise the sports programme".

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The deal with Alisports, the OCA hopes, will provide financial stability to the 2022 edition. The WESG is expected to be one of the highest-paying e-sports tournaments in the world.

The winning team at the biggest e-sports event, the League of Legends World Championship, scooped £810,000 in prize money past year.

Online publication CNET wrongfully speculates with this new partnership, e-sports will be included in the Olympic program.

The partners have said by 2022, e-sports will become an official medal sport.

The IESF is one of two organizations, along with the British government-backed worldwide eGames Committee (IEGC), that submitted a request to the IOC previous year to obtain information on how to gain inclusion for eSports in the Olympic programme.

It's estimated that eSports had a global audience of 226 million gamers in 2016, with global revenues worth $325 million.