On September 26, 2019, the Sports Ministry declared eSports as a national sport, making Sri Lanka the first South Asian country to officially recognise competitive playing of video games
as a sport.
Competitive video gaming has been steadily gaining popularity in Sri Lanka with gamers from around the country participating in different competitions held over the years featuring different games.
Over the years, Sri Lanka has seen the emergence of many gaming collectives and today, schools and institutions are setting up clubs and organising tournaments to propagate eSports in Sri Lanka.
Speaking about this historic milestone for Sri Lanka’s gaming community, Gamer.LK CEO and Founder Raveen Wijayatilake said, “The Sri Lankan eSports community welcomes this development with excitement. Gamer.LK has worked tirelessly over the years to create an ecosystem for eSports and professional gaming in Sri Lanka,” Wijayatilake said.
“As the foremost organisation for eSports in the country, we are excited to see where this takes eSports in Sri Lanka. Already, every year, thousands of new members join the community and big brands, including multinationals are seeing the value in Sri Lankan eSports and its rapidly-growing millennial audience,”
Globally, eSports had a whirlwind year in 2018, which has continued into 2019, with a global audience of nearly 400 million people, with viewers spending 6.6 billion hours watching eSports videos online.
Newzoo, the global leader in eSports analytics, has estimated that the industry will generate more than US $ 1.6 billion in total revenue with US $ 1.3 billion coming from brand investments due to its appeal to a wide base of viewers from around the world.
With the gazetting of eSports as a national sport, Sri Lanka joins nearly 50 countries globally that have officially recognised eSports, setting Sri Lanka on the path to greater success in the international eSports arena.