The 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham WILL host pilot event for ESPORTS

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EXCLUSIVE: The 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham WILL host pilot event for ESPORTS… and gaming genre could become a medal discipline by 2026

  • As part of the pilot event, no medals will be earned at the Birmingham Games
  • The event will be branded as the Commonwealth Esport Championships
  • If successful it could have leverage to be a medal discipline by the 2026 Games 
  • Gaming genre has been met with cynicism, but aims to attract young audiences 
  • DOTA 2 will be one of the three video games to feature in the pilot event 


An agreement has been finalised for esports to be included as a pilot event at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham – and plans are being discussed for it to become a fully-fledged medal discipline by 2026.

Sportsmail understands confirmation is imminent following lengthy talks between the Commonwealth Games Federation and gaming chiefs around a bold move that will be viewed with cynicism by traditionalists.

While no medals will be up for grabs during the Birmingham pilot, which will be branded as the Commonwealth Esport Championships, its success or failure in drawing a younger audience to the Games will determine if it is added to the full programme in the next four-year cycle.

The gaming industry under the name of esports will be piloted at the Commonwealth Games

The gaming industry under the name of esports will be piloted at the Commonwealth Games

Birmingham will be hosting this year's Games, but esports will still not collect any medals

Birmingham will be hosting this year’s Games, but esports will still not collect any medals

Details are expected to be released imminently and it is believed DOTA 2 – a multiplayer battle game – will be one of three titles to feature.

The agreement with the Global Esports Federation follows indications from new CGF CEO Katie Sadleir at the end of 2021 that the Games could undergo ‘dramatic change’ across the next decade as it fights for its standing on the international sporting landscape.

Future hosts have already been told they will be given greater flexibility on which sports to include, with only athletics and swimming compulsory under their new requirements.

Video gamers though could be earning Commonwealth Games medals by 2026

Video gamers though could be earning Commonwealth Games medals by 2026

Speaking in December, when she said she was ‘open minded’ about esports, Sadleir told the BBC: ‘We have been thinking about the creative ways we could pivot the Games to make sure it still captures the hearts and minds of the future.’

This latest step is a radical departure from the traditional make-up of a multi-sports event, but could yet be a forerunner for others looking to utilise the $1billion esports industry.

It has already been confirmed as part of the medal programme at the 2022 Asian Games, and the Olympics previously held exploratory talks about introducing gaming.

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