IOC EB proposes creation of “Olympic Esports Games” to IOC Session

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The Executive Board (EB) of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is proposing the creation of “Olympic Esports Games” to the 142nd IOC Session, which will be held during the Olympic Games Paris 2024, when the IOC Members will vote on this proposal. The IOC is already in advanced discussions with a potential host, and an announcement can be expected very soon after the last formalities have been finalised.

“With the creation of Olympic Esports Games, the IOC is taking a major step forward and is keeping up with the pace of the digital revolution. We are very excited how enthusiastically the esports community represented in our Esports Commission has engaged with this initiative. This is further proof of the attractivity of the Olympic brand and the values it stands for,” said IOC President Thomas Bach.

The IOC has been engaging with esports since 2018 in a holistic way. It has chosen an approach that allows the organisation to be successful in the esports space while staying true to the values that have guided the IOC for over a century. “With respect to esports, our values are and remain the red line that we will never cross,” the IOC President said.

The IOC’s first engagement with the esports community was the organisation of the Esports Forum in 2018 in Lausanne, followed by the setting up of an Esports Liaison Group as a platform to engage with all the esports stakeholders. This was later transformed into the IOC Esports Commission, chaired by IOC Member David Lappartient. In 2021, the IOC developed the Olympic Virtual Series, the IOC’s first pilot venture in esports.

Building on the learnings from this Olympic Virtual Series, the IOC then launched the Olympic Esports Week in Singapore in June 2023, which brought together the Olympic and esports communities. A highlight of the Olympic Esports Week was the thrilling live finals, created in collaboration with the International Sports Federations (IFs) and game 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 and generated more than six million views of live action over all channels, with 75 per cent of views from people aged 13 to 34.

Following this success, last October the IOC President tasked the Esports Commission with studying the creation of “Olympic Esports Games”. In record time, the Commission has come back with a very concrete proposal. At the IOC EB meeting today, it was highlighted that such organisation must happen under a completely new dedicated structure within the IOC, clearly separated from the organisational and financial model for the Olympic Games.

Nevertheless, the IOC EB emphasised that IFs already engaged in an e-version of their sport that is considered for inclusion in the “Olympic Esports Games” would be the IOC’s first go-to partners. The same will be true for National Olympic Committees that include esports in their activities.

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The International Olympic Committee is a not-for-profit, civil, non-governmental, international organisation made up of volunteers which is committed to building a better world through sport. It redistributes more than 90 per cent of its income to the wider sporting movement, which means that every day the equivalent of USD 4.2 million goes to help athletes and sports organisations at all levels around the world.

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Credit: IOC

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