Alisports, the sports wing of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) have announced a strategic partnership to bring esports to the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games. Esports will be added to the 2017 Ashgabat Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games and the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games.
The Asian Games are recognized by the International Olympic Committee and are described as the second largest multi sport event after the Olympic Games. The inclusion of esports within this ecosystem will go a long way in destigmatizing the industry while opening it up to a wider, more mainstream audience.
Last year, Alibaba invested over $14.5 million to launch the World Electronic Sports Games.
Global research firm Newzoo estimated that worldwide esports revenues are set to cross $1bn in 2019. In 2016, Chinese esports teams won $19.3 million across tournaments - the highest amount earned by any nation in the same year via esports winnings. With the announcement of this partnership, esports are poised and ready for yet another growth spurt in China.