Commonwealth Games: Esports could feature in 2030 if Hamilton, Canada win bid

Team Sentinels' compete in the VALORANT Champions Tour 2021.
Esports will be piloted alongside the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Esports are set to be a part of the 2030 Commonwealth Games if Canadian favourite Hamilton wins the bid to host what will be the event's centenary.

The Birmingham 2022 Games will pilot esports alongside the event this year.

Commonwealth Games Federation chief Katie Sadleir said it could be a full part of the programme in the future.

Sadleir also told BBC Sport that Canada - which saw Hamilton host the first event in 1930 - "made it clear that esports would be part of that Games".

Speaking to The Sports Desk podcast, she added that the programme for the 2026 Victoria Commonwealth Games had not yet been confirmed.

"What we are interested in, in terms of the Commonwealth Games is providing opportunities for young people to achieve their potential and we think that that the huge growth in esports is really exciting," said Sadleir.

"The long term future of esports and collaboration - that's why this pilot programme is so important to us."

The Commonwealth Esports Championship, running alongside Birmingham 2022, will have separate branding, medals and organisation.

Esport will also feature at this year's Asian Games in China, where eight medals in games such as League of Legends, Fifa and Street Fighter V, will count toward the overall standings.

Despite the growth of esport, there are some that are opposed to gaming being a full part of the programme.

Former swimmer Sharron Davies, who won gold medals at the 1978 Commonwealth Games, said: "I would have loved to have seen the Commonwealth Games introduce things like parkour or BMX or skateboarding, which was so successful at the Olympics.

"I just believe we should try to evolve [the Commonwealth Games] with physical activity sports that engage young people, not ones that require people to sit on their backside and use their two fingers and their thumb. "

For Sadleir though, the growth of esports can't be ignored, saying: "We think it's a good opportunity to learn from each other, to align ourselves with something that's growing at such phenomenal rates for young people and the way that they're looking at innovating themselves in terms of active esports opportunities."

Adam Ryan, who plays Fifa professionally for LDN UTD and has also represented the Scotland national team believes esports can send out the right message.

"We've worked with gaming and we've used that as a tool to address knife crime, racism; we had an event called All Access Gaming where we had 130,000 people watching," he said.

"Why don't we use gaming as a tool to promote exercise rather than just trying to rubbish it? Because it is clear that the next generation are gaming."