Entertainment

Alisports and Olympic Council of Asia partner to bring eSports to Asian Games

By Benjamin Cher | Reporter

April 18, 2017 | 3 min read

Alisports, the sports arm of Alibaba Group, and the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has announced a partnership to bring eSports to the 2022 Hangzhou Asian games, according to a report by China Daily.

Besides the 2022 games, eSports will also be added to the 2017 Ashgabat Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games. Alisports will work with the OCA to develop the market for the events at the games.

A new study finds esports viewership is growing at the expense of traditional spectator sports.

Alisports and the Olympic Council of Asia partner to bring eSports to Asian Games

This move follows Alibaba’s investment of $14.5m to launch the World Electronic Sports Games, one of the highest paying eSports tournaments with a prize pool of over $5.5m.

Major businesses across the world, including BT Sports and EA Games, have been making partnerships and upping prize pots in order to raise the profile of eSports.

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Alisports will carry out a digital marketing strategy as part of the partnership, combining real-time sporting events with a digital platform to expand the market and increase advertising value for OCA and major sponsors.

“We look forward to further collaboration with Alisports on digital sports concepts along with sporting events," said Sheikh Ahmad Fahad Al-Sabah, president, 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.

"Alisports places an emphasis on the operation of sports events and the related business of sports media, but not in purchasing the broadcast rights of events, which is different from its rival LeSports," said Sun Zheng, analyst, Analysis.

It would be easier for Alibaba to tap into the emerging eSports sector and build up its own tournaments than with traditional sports according to Sun.

“Alibaba expects to strengthen its influence on eSports through cooperation with OCA," he added.

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