The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has made its first move into esports and gaming by launching the Olympic Virtual Series (OVS).
Five international sports federations, including World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), the International Cycling Union (UCI), World Rowing, World Sailing, and the International Automobile Federation (FIA), as well as game publishers are partnering with the IOC in order to form the OVS, making it the first ever Olympic-licensed event for virtual sports.
Gaming platforms used for the OVS include eBaseball Powerful Pro Baseball 2020, Zwift, Virtua Regatta and Gran Turismo. World Rowing has been listed as having an open format.
All five of the events will offer a different form and concept, operating by the sport's respective publisher platform.
Viewers will be able to follow the events via the Olympic Channel, with additional information regarding participation and prizes will soon be announced.
The OVS is due to start on May 13 and conclude on June 23, with the hope that it will generate new audiences worldwide and have them engage with the Olympics before the 2020 Tokyo Games.
“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,” said IOC president Thomas Bach.
“It encourages sports participation and promotes the Olympic values, with a special focus on youth.”
David Lappartient, chair of the IOC’s esports and gaming liaison group (ELG), and president of the UCI, added: “On behalf of the ELG, as well as the UCI, I am delighted to be involved in the launch of the first-ever Olympic Virtual Series.
“A number of IFs have well established virtual sports initiatives; and thanks to the cooperation between the IOC, the IFs and the publishers, the OVS is an exciting step forward for the virtual sports world and the Olympic Movement”.
Author: Jake Wilkin