Japan Tapped as IOC’s Preferred Host for Inaugural 2026 Olympic Esports Games

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As per the latest news, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has urged Japan to consider hosting the Olympic Esports Games in 2026, signaling a groundbreaking development in the realm of esports.

This move comes on the heels of the IOC’s inaugural Olympic Esports Week held in June 2023 in Singapore, a testament to the escalating popularity of esports, particularly among the youth.

IOC’s Vision

The momentum gained from the success of the Olympic Esports Week prompted IOC President Thomas Bach to announce plans for a dedicated Olympic Esports Games.

During 141st IOC meeting in Mumbai, he officially announced that the IOC considering including esports as a mainstream sport in the Olympics.

This decision is a direct response to the exponential growth of esports, acknowledging its cultural significance and immense following.

But it looks like instead of including esports directly in Olympic 2028 (LA), the IOC is set to organize dedicated esports events separate from its mainstream sports events.

Japan is the place on IOC’s top list

Japan is a culturally rich and passionate place for gaming fans and industry alike.

The recent big boom in the Japanese gaming industry has put them into the world’s leading gaming industry.

They already hosted four Olympic games, and the last Toyko Olympic 2020 was a huge success despite of pandemic.

So Japan is the perfect place for the first Esports Olympic according to the IOC.

Negotiation will be started in 2024.

However, the opportunity to host the Olympic Esports Games in 2026 might serve as a pivotal moment for Japan to bridge the gap between traditional sports and the rapidly evolving world of esports.

It presents a unique chance for the country to reposition itself, especially in the aftermath of Sapporo’s withdrawal from the 2030 Winter Olympic bidding.

Saudi Arabia already declared its plan to host the Esports World Cup

While IOC and Japan talks are at an initial stage, Saudi Arabia has set ambitious plans in motion.

The country is gearing up to launch an annual Esports World Cup in the summer of 2024, promising the largest prize pool in esports history.

Saudi already hosted several esports events, and now with the Esports World Cup, it just raises the bar for the IOC.

Esports have already been included in the Asian Games

Last year in Hangzhou, China, the first time esports was included as a medal event in the Asian Games.

This was the continuation of the Jakarta 2018 Asian Games, where limited esports with no medal event were included.

As the 2026 Asian Games, co-hosted by Japan’s Aichi -Nagoya, this trend will continue with esports taking center stage.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the prospect of Japan hosting the Olympic Esports Games in 2026 represents a paradigm shift in the world of sports.

As negotiations unfold and plans materialize, the trajectory of the Olympic Esports Games will undoubtedly shape the landscape of sports entertainment for years to come.


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