The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is exploring plans for the creation of Olympic Esports Games.
The ground-breaking announcement was made by IOC President Thomas Bach during today’s Opening Ceremony of the 141st IOC Session taking place in Mumbai in the presence of the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.
Turning to Esports, the IOC President noted that there are three billion people playing Esports and gaming around the world. It is estimated that over 500 million of them are interested, which includes virtual sports and sport simulations.
“What is even more relevant to us: a majority of them are under the age of 34,” IOC President Thomas Bach said.
The first engagement of the IOC with the Esports community was the organisation of the Esports Forum in 2018 in Lausanne, followed by the set-up of an Esports Liaison Group to have a platform to engage with all the Esports stakeholders. In 2021, the IOC developed the Olympic Virtual Series. It was the IOC’s first pilot venture in Esports.
“Building on the learnings from this Olympic Virtual Series, we then launched the Olympic Esports Week in Singapore earlier this year. In Singapore, we saw proof that our holistic approach is working. We successfully brought together the Olympic and the Esports communities,” Bach explained.
President Bach explained: “Building on the learnings from this Olympic Virtual Series, we then launched the Olympic Esports Week in Singapore earlier this year. In Singapore, we saw proof that our holistic approach is working. We successfully brought together the Olympic and the Esports communities.”
A highlight of the Olympic Esports Week was the thrilling live finals, created in collaboration with the International Sports Federations (IFs) and publishers. Over 130 players from across the globe came together to compete in the Olympic spirit on the global stage, in 10 mixed-gender category events. Players were cheered on by a full house of fans in Singapore, with all the action streamed online.
Including the qualifiers, the Olympic Esports Series attracted over 500,000 unique participants. The Olympic Esports Series generated more than six million views of live action over all channels, with 75 per cent of views from people aged 13 until 34.
“This was a promising start. But it is just that: a start. It is like in any sport: after even a promising start, the real race still lies ahead,” Bach concluded.
In his speech, Bach also addressed the topic of artificial intelligence (AI): “Our continued success depends on how we embrace the ever-accelerating development of digital technology and in particular, AI. This makes our Olympic Agenda 2020 imperative, ‘change or be changed’, even more urgent.”
President Bach noted the growing excitement for the Olympic Games Paris 2024, the “Games of a New Era” and the first to be organised fully in line with Olympic Agenda 2020 and Olympic Agenda 2020+5 from start to finish.
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