KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: The International Olympic Committee has overcome an initial reluctance and committed to an Olympic Virtual Series.
The IOC will partner with five international sports federations and game publishers to launch its first licensed event for physical and non-physical virtual sports. It will run from May 13 June 23.
IOC president Thomas Bach said: “The Olympic Virtual Series is a new, unique Olympic digital experience that aims to grow direct engagement with new audiences in the field of virtual sports.
“Its conception is in line with Olympic Agenda 2020+5 and the IOC’s Digital Strategy. It encourages sports participation and promotes the Olympic values, with a special focus on youth.”
An IOC statement explained:
The following International Federations and gaming publishers will be part of the Olympic Virtual Series:
– World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) – eBaseball Powerful Pro Baseball 2020, Konami Digital Entertainment
– Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) – Zwift, Zwift inc.
– World Rowing – Open format
– World Sailing – Virtual Regatta, Virtual Regatta SAS
– Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) – Gran Turismo, Polyphony Digital
The OVS creates a stage to connect the physical sporting world with the virtual and simulation sports gaming community, providing an opportunity to engage with the Olympic Movement. Each IF will offer its corresponding event in a format that maximises online mass participation and prioritises inclusivity and participation through the OVS. The mass-participation Series allows participants around the world to compete from home or their training facilities in order to generate excitement in the build-up to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
All five OVS events will differ in form and concept, and will operate via the sport’s respective publisher platform where participants will be able to take part. Fans will have the opportunity to engage and follow the events on the Olympic Channel. Additional information on how to participate, as well as prizes included with select events, will be announced soon. Information will also be available online at www.olympicchannel.com
In line with Recommendation 9 of Olympic Agenda 2020+5, which states “Encourage the development of virtual sports and further engage with video gaming communities”, the launch of the first-ever OVS supports the IOC’s Digital Strategy and aims to leverage the growing popularity of virtual sport to promote the Olympic Movement, Olympic values and sports participation and grow direct relations with young people. It supports the IFs in further establishing virtual and simulated forms of sports as a discipline within their regulations and strategies. Building on the success of their respective events, both the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), along with other International Federations such as the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and World Taekwondo (WT) have confirmed their excitement and commitment to exploring inclusion in future editions of the OVS.
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 3.4 million goes to help athletes and sports organisations at all levels around the world.
About the Olympic Virtual Series
The International Olympic Committee will partner with leading International Sports Federations and game publishers to offer the first-ever Olympic event for virtual sports video game enthusiasts all around the world — the Olympic Virtual Series. Taking place from 13 May to 23 June 2021, the series will encourage the development of physical and non-physical virtual forms of sports, with a focus on regulating fair competition, respecting the values of sport in these virtual forms, and reaching out to new audiences, in line with the recommendations of the IOC’s Olympic Agenda 2020+5.
The IOC has appointed specialists in virtual sports, DreamHack Sports Games, for the marketing and production of the Olympic Virtual Series.