The International Olympic Committee and Intel have announced a $500,000 esports event ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
The Intel World Open will begin with online qualifiers in early 2020 for Psyonix’s Rocket League and Capcom’s Street Fighter V, with anyone eligible to compete to qualify for their national team. A live qualifier event will take place in Katowice, Poland in June to determine which teams will advance to the championship tournament in Tokyo from July 22-24, 2020.
The finals are set to take place in Tokyo’s Zepp DiverCity venue, on Sunday, July 24, the same day that the Olympics are officially set to start.
ESL will produce the World Open, an extension of the partnership between Intel and the IOC on Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) PyeongChang esports event that took place ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. That event was built around Blizzard Entertainment’s StarCraft II and was won by Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn.
“We are excited Intel is bringing the Intel World Open esports tournament to Japan in the lead up to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020,” said IOC Sports Director Kit McConnell. “As we explore the engagement between esports and the Olympic Movement we are looking forward to learning from this event and continuing to engage with the passionate esports community from around the world.”
There has been a long debate over whether esports should be at the Olympics: of course, many people on both sides of the argument have very valid reasons for believing what they do.
But it looks like the decision has already been made, and it seems in a few years we may very well see esports be a staple inclusion in the Olympic Games.