Jun Byung-hun, President of KeSPA and the International e-Sports Federation (IeSF), spoke to the Korea Times about his ambitions for his “biggest goal” which is esports, in some form, becoming an official olympic event.
Bung-hun said: “The IESF has been working with its membership countries to solidify the status of esports, alongside other sporting events like baseball and football. Our biggest goal is to secure membership on the international olympic committee (IOC) to make esports an official olympic event.”
The IeSF, which is based in South Korea and organises a world championships which took place in Jakarta this year, has been in existence since 2008 with nine countries signing up as founding members. At present this has since been expanded to 45 countries.
The interview also touched on KeSPA which Byung-hun heads up. This is an organisation founded in 2000 which is focused purely on the development and protection of esports in South Korea and shares an office space with the IeSF in Seoul. He said: “The esports scene in Korea should consolidate a more rock-solid industrial base to be able to handle rapid changes in the global e-sports industry. To do that, companies running professional e-sports team and investors should know that e-sports events have already had great promotional effects. They should invest more to nurture a virtuous ecosystem.”
He also revealed how KeSPA has been working with the government to try to rid the negative associations that mainstream society in the country has with the industry, and grow the professional scene for the future. He said: “KeSPA has been working with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to designate PC cafes throughout the country as official esports PC clubs. It is both to dispel negative views of esports and nurture up-and-coming esports players in the country.”
Esports Insider says: The discussion of esports in the olympics has been touched on before and still seems both premature and unnecessary. Moreover what this means in detail in terms of which title or titles would be selected was not mentioned. Let’s focus on building the industry so that more professional players and teams can compete full time with proper contracts in place before any talk of the olympics is entertained.