IOC ventures into virtual sports; announces Olympic Virtual Series

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced the launch of first ever Olympic Virtual Series, a never before Olympic-licensed event for physical and non-physical virtual sports. The world Olympic body will partner with five international sports federations and game publishers to produce the OVS.

The OVS, to coincide with the Tokyo 2020 Games, will run from May 13 to June 22. According to an report, the Olympic Virtual Series will mobilise virtual sport, eSports and gaming enthusiasts all around the world in order to reach new Olympic audiences. It will also encourage the development of physical and non-physical forms of sports in line with the recommendations of the IOC’s Olympic Agenda 2020+5.

The series will include baseball, cycling, rowing, sailing and motor sport.

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   “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,” IOC President Thomas Bach said.

David Lappartient, Chair of the IOC’s Esports and Gaming Liaison Group (ELG), and President of the Union Cycliste Internationale (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”.

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; and Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) – Gran Turismo, Polyphony Digital will be the part of the OVS.

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.

The IOC has appointed specialists in virtual sports, DreamHack Sports Games, for the marketing and production of the Olympic Virtual Series.