Sky Sports broadcasts FIFA18 eWorld Cup as esports makes inroads into the mainstream

Last weekend, the FIFA eWorld Cup took place in Paris. The interest in the FIFA 18 tournament – which took in some of the best gamers in the world – was huge.

Once again the winners were Brondby, the Danish side won the inaugural competition last year and retained their crown again in 2018.

This time, it was broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK – a coup for an esports tournament and especially one taking place just one week after the end of the Premier League season, when fans tuning into Sky wouldn’t be seeing much live English football. It was a chance for a new and wider audience to witness the spectacle, and it could be a glimpse of what’s to come in the future.

Last week, esports was on the agenda for the IOC President, Thomas Bach.

Speaking to (with translation via SportsPro) he said, “Esports is clearly an exciting and growing sector in which millions of young people worldwide regularly engage in. The Olympic Movement cannot ignore such a phenomenon by any means.”

“We need to draw a red line and make it clear that killer games can never be part of the Olympic Movement,” he said. “After all, the IOC is a ‘value-oriented organisation’. Game titles like FIFA, the basketball simulation NBA 2K as well as tennis and sailing games could therefore be an option.”

That’s not just a clear indication that the Olympic Movement is open to the idea of adding some kind of esports platform to its events in the near future, but it also shows some kind of forward planning. Having made it clear that only non-violent games could be added, Bach has shown that the IOC are thinking seriously about including esports.

Although FIFA 18 hasn’t been included in the Asian Games, which will feature six different esports including Pro Evolution Soccer, last weekend’s Sky Sports UK broadcast shows that there is an appetite for it from the mainstream, which is the sort thing that will help esports gain Olympic recognition.

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Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 716 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and editor of Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan_

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