The IOC explores creating electronic Olympic Games

Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), revealed at the start of the 141st IOC Session in Mumbai, India, that they will create an electronic sports Olympic Games

The president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, revealed this Saturday that his organization is already exploring plans to create Olympic Games of electronic sports (e-sports, in English), in the context of the 141st Session of the IOC inaugurated in Bombay (India).

He noted that there are 3 billion people who use video games around the world. It even estimated that more than 500 million of them are specifically interested in esports, which includes virtual sports and sports simulations.

“What is even more relevant to us is that most of them are under 34 years old,” he noted. “I have asked our new E-sports Commission to study the creation of an electronic sports Olympic Games,” Bach stressed, following a “holistic” collaboration of the IOC with entities dedicated to e-sports that dates back to 2018.

According to Bach, they have chosen an approach that would allow them to “be active in the esports space while staying true to the values ​​that have guided us for over a century. With respect to esports, our values ​​are and will remain the red line that we will not cross.”

He stressed that his clear position is gaining respect in the esports community. “One of the main authors even adapted his popular game to fully align with our Olympic values, so that players would shoot at targets and not at people.”

The IOC wants to integrate youngsters with a new vision of sports

Electronic sports have generated millions of views from people between 13 and 34 years old (Reference image source: Alex Smith, Unsplash)
Electronic sports have generated millions of views from people between 13 and 34 years old (Reference image source: Alex Smith, Unsplash)

The IOC’s first commitment to this idea was the organization of the E-sports Forum in 2018 in Lausanne (Switzerland), followed by the creation of a Liaison Group to have a platform to interact with all interested parties. In 2021, the IOC developed the Olympic Virtual Series, the IOC’s pilot initiative in esports.

Following this Olympic Virtual Series, “we launched Olympic E-sports Week in Singapore earlier this year. In Singapore, we saw evidence that our holistic approach is working. We successfully brought together the Olympic and esports communities,” Bach said.

More than 130 players from around the world competed during that Olympic E-sports Week in 10 mixed category events. The players were cheered on by a room full of fans and everything was broadcast online. Including the qualifiers, the Olympic Esports Series attracted more than 500,000 unique participants and generated more than 6 million live action views across all its channels; 75 % of the views were people between 13 and 34 years old.

“It was a promising start; but just that, a start. It’s like in any sport; even after a promising start, the real race still lies ahead,” Bach said. “Our continued success depends on how we embrace the ever-accelerating development of digital technology and, in particular, artificial intelligence. This makes our Olympic Agenda 2020 imperative and even more urgent: ‘change or be changed’,” he warned.

For all this, he called for changing the mentality in the Olympic Movement: “The younger generation has a completely new way of thinking. They are living digital lives right now. We must not ignore their thinking if we do not want to endanger our own future. We must empower them to guide us with their young mentality.

Source: dpa

(Main reference image source: IOC, Europa Press / dpa)

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