Asian Games is the international multidisciplinary sports competition between the Asian countries. The first Asian Games were organized in 1951, after that, they were held regularly every four years. The Olympic Council of Asia adds new sports disciplines quite often. For example, in 2006 they started a chess competition. 2018 became the year of esports — its recognition by the Asian Olympic Committee would strongly influence the opinion of the world community about the recognition of esports as the true sports.
China is the largest esports market in the world with a multi-million audience. A lot of large organizations are engaged in organizing huge esports competitions. For example, Alibaba Group hosts WESG yearly — the international esports "Olympics", where each team can only be represented by players from one country. The head of Alibaba made the agreement with the Asian Olympic Committee and made a huge announce: esports will be represented on Asian Games.
Esports is something absolutely unique and new for the organizers of the Asian Games. That is why in the official announcement it was said that 2018 Asian Games will hold the Esports Demonstration Event at first — a series of test tournaments in several disciplines: League of Legends, Starcraft 2, Hearthstone, Clash Royale, Arena of Valor and PES. Since it is just a test event, the medals for these competitions didn’t go into the overall standings. What is more important: Asian Games 2022 will include esports as the official discipline.
The Asian games were officially broadcasted on the local national TV channels of many Asian countries. Organizers have also streamed everything on the official Youtube channel in English and on the Korean platform AfreecaTV. Youtube is blocked in China, that is why fans from the Middle Kingdom had two ways — to watch Afreeca TV or unofficial rebroadcasts on Twitch. That is why Asian Games 2018 lost a lot of potential Chinese viewers, but on the other hand, Afreeca TV and Twitch received a huge boost for that period.
League of Legends is the extremely popular game in China and Korea, so the competition between these two teams gathered a lot of viewers as it was expected — 1.202.364 people at the peak. Starcraft 2 has also totaled a large audience — 25.076 at the peak, which is quite good for this discipline. Hearthstone wasn’t actually popular on Asian Games 2018, as there were no well-known players at the championship.
Fifa Online is the most popular football simulator in Asia. Nevertheless, Asian Games 2018 had PES tournament. It is most likely Asian Electronic Sports Federation signed an agreement about the exclusive PES tournament on their event. It affected greatly on the of viewers — the tournament had only 788 people online at the peak.
Important fact: two of the six declared disciplines are mobile games — Clash Royale and Arena of Valor. Hearthstone can also be called the mobile game as it has mobile version. Mobile esports is quite popular in Asia, for example, Clash Royale League 2018: Asia Fall Season with a $40.000 prize pool launched recently. It will finish in November. That is why the organizers of Asian Games will focus on mobile games greatly in the future.
Esports Demonstration Event was extremely successful. Esports proved to be much more popular than traditional sport. If you look at the amount of watched hours, people looked esports three times more active than all other disciplines combined. Perhaps, the Asian Games will soon become primarily an esports event, rather than a traditional sports event.
Probably, Asian Games will make a major contribution to the development of esports national competitions. Alibaba Group already organizes WESG yearly, where only national teams play. Perhaps WESG and the Asian Games will make some kind of collaboration and will work together. In any case, we are going to have a notable 2022 year.