The Olympic Council of Asia announced Monday that it will include esports in the 2018 Asian Games and make it a medal sport in 2022.
The OCA will partner with Alisports, a subsidiary of Alibaba Group, to bring esports to the Asian Games. Esports competitions will take place at the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games as a demonstration sport in September, according to a statement from the OCA. Esports will also be a demonstration sport in 2018 before becoming an official sport in the Asian Games in 2022.
The 2022 Asian Games will take place that September in Hangzhou, China.
"The Olympic Council of Asia has constantly been committed to the heritage, development and improvement of Asian sports, and we are extremely pleased about the strategic partnership with Alisports," OCA president Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah said in a statement. "We look forward to further collaboration with Alisports in regards to digital sports concepts along with sporting events."
Competitions in FIFA 17 and multiplayer online battle arena games will take place at the September Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, though the OCA was not specific about which MOBA games will be played. Dota 2 and League of Legends, two of the most popular MOBAs, are likely candidates.
"I would like to thank the Olympic Council of Asia for their faith in Alisports," Alisports CEO and owner Zhang Dazhong said. "Together we will work on providing the sponsors of the Asian Games with more opportunities."