Expanding Olympic Betting Arena with eSports and Flag Football for Enhanced Wagering Experience

Posted on: October 17, 2023, 07:37h.

Last updated on: October 17, 2023, 07:37h.

The times are changing, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is keeping pace with new developments. The Olympics will soon feature a range of new games, opening up exciting opportunities for sports bettors.

eSports players participate in a live competition in front of an audience
eSports players participate in a live competition in front of an audience. The IOC has launched an initiative that could bring eSports to the Olympic Games. (Image: World Football Summit)

The IOC has announced plans to establish the Olympic Esports Games, a significant step in embracing the rapidly growing industry of eSports. This comes after the success of the Olympic Esports Series, held during June’s Olympic Esports Week. It’s an exciting development that follows years of discussion on the topic.

In addition to the inclusion of eSports, the IOC has confirmed the arrival of several other sports. Among these are flag football, cricket, and more.

eSports Receives Olympic Recognition

The Olympic Esports Series, overseen by the IOC, featured unconventional esports titles that focused on sports simulation. Notable inclusions were Virtual Regatta and Virtual Taekwondo, although popular titles like CS:GO and League of Legends were absent.

IOC President Thomas Bach expressed satisfaction with the series, which attracted over 500,000 participants and garnered more than six million views. Viewers showed a keen interest in this new approach to competitive gaming.

While the Olympic Esports Series received acclaim, there was criticism from parts of the esports community due to the absence of traditional esports titles. The addition of a special Fortnite mode sparked debates about the event’s alignment with the core ethos of esports.

As the IOC ventures into uncharted territory with the Olympic Esports Games, details about the event’s format and specific titles remain undisclosed. This ambitious initiative signifies a significant leap forward.

According to Global Market Outlook, global esports betting was valued at $682.63 million last year. Projections indicate that it could grow at a compound annual growth rate of 24.92% through 2028, reaching $2.59 billion.

American Football Gains International Acceptance

The IOC has approved the inclusion of flag football, cricket, baseball-softball, lacrosse, and squash in the Olympic Games. This decision marks a significant milestone for cricket, which is set to make a return to the Olympics after being eliminated in 1900.

The addition of lacrosse to the Olympic lineup is also noteworthy, as the sport hasn’t been featured since 1908. This decision reflects the IOC’s commitment to reviving traditional sports and diversifying the Games to appeal to a broader global audience.

Flag football is nearly identical to American football, with minimal physical contact. Players wear flags, and a “tackle” occurs when an opponent successfully removes the flag.

Other changes are also taking place. Weightlifting and modern pentathlon will continue to be part of the Games, while breakdancing, which will debut in the 2024 Paris Games, will not be included in subsequent Olympics.

In India alone, cricket reportedly generates approximately $150 million in betting revenue. It is the second-most popular sport for bettors, second only to soccer. The inclusion of these sports in the Olympics will create new avenues for global sportsbooks.

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