Alibaba wants to see eSports at the Olympics
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Alibaba wants to see eSports at the Olympics

Chinese internet giant Alibaba is lending its voice to the growing demand for Olympic eSports. The Ecommerce giant is championing games that aren’t “violent or gory” for future inclusion. This would disqualify some of the biggest titles – competitor Tencent’s League of Legends, for example – but could open the door to a massive new venue for eSports, which has already become a big business in China, and is fast catching on elsewhere.

Alibaba is a powerful ally to have: the company not only operates its own eSports business, but is an official sponsor of the Olympic Games through to 2028. According to Zhang Dazhong, AliSports chief executive, the company wants to see “soccer, car racing, and other games” endorsed as “official competitive sport.”

Alibaba’s share price is up by 82% over the last 12 months

graph 1403 alibaba

SOURCE: Yahoo Finance

Researcher Activate says that eSports will become a $5 billion business by 2020. And Alibaba is carving out an important place in the nascent industry. Over the following year, it will invest $47 million into eSports, and it is hosting the World Electronic Sports Games this week.

The event will be attended by members of the Olympic Committee, which Alibaba will be hoping to influence. The company previously managed a similar feat with the Olympic Council of Asia (the company was successful in getting eSports added to the Ashgabat Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games event, as well as the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games).

Zhang said: “In our communication with the Olympics committee, we’ve come to have a better understanding of their values, which is to promote peace. That’s why for the future development of esports, we will focus more on titles that are actually related to sports, instead of games that focus on violence and slaughter.”

He also addressed what makes Alibaba a good fit for the committee, explaining: “We think as a third party esports organizer we’re a better match for principles that the Olympics promotes, which is fairness. If you’re a games producer, you’re suspected of only pushing your games for your own benefit.”

Disclosure

Dominion holds Alibaba in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.


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