The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is exploring the possibility of establishing the Olympic Esports Games. IOC President Thomas Bach made the historic declaration in front of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Opening Ceremony of the 141st IOC Session in Mumbai, India.
The president of the IOC mentioned that three billion people worldwide participate in esports and gaming. An estimated 500 million of them have a particular interest in esports, which are virtual sports and sports simulations. “What is even more relevant to us is that the majority of them are under the age of 34,” stated Thomas Bach. International Olympic Committee Olympic Esports Games
I have asked our new IOC Esports Commission to study the creation of Olympic Esports Games.
We chose an approach that would allow us to be active in the esports space while staying true to our values that have guided us for over a century. With respect to esports, our values are and remain the red line that we will not cross.
Our crystal-clear position is gaining more and more respect also in the esports community. One of the leading publishers even adapted their popular game to conform fully with our Olympic values – so that players shot at targets, not at people.Thomas Bach President IOC
In order to establish a forum for communication with all esports stakeholders, the IOC first got involved in the esports world in 2018 by organizing the Esports Forum in Lausanne.
This was followed by the creation of an Esports Liaison Group. The Olympic Virtual Series was created by the IOC in 2021. It was the IOC’s first experimental foray into 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.
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 aheadThomas Bach
The exciting live finals, which were produced in association with publishers and International Sports Federations (IFs), were a highlight of Olympic Esports Week.
In ten mixed-gender category events, more than 130 players from all around the world joined together to compete in the Olympic spirit on a global scale.
Fans in Singapore filled the house as players competed, and the entire event was broadcast live online. Over 500,000 unique players participated in the Olympic Esports Series, including the qualifiers.
Over 6 million live-action views were produced by the Olympic Esports Series across all channels, with 75% of those views coming from viewers between the ages of 13 and 34.
“The younger generation has a completely new way of thinking,” he said, urging the Olympic Movement to adopt a fresh perspective in order to take advantage of this potential.
They currently lead digital lives. If we don’t want to put our own futures in danger, we can’t disregard the way they think. Their youthful perspective must be given the authority to lead us.