The International Olympic Committee has announced a brand new event called the Olympic Virtual Series. This event is the first officially sanctioned one for physical and non-physical virtual sports. Essentially, this is the first major step for the Olympics to involve esports as part of the official Olympic events. The Olympic Virtual Series will be taking place before the summer Tokyo Olympics, which are still scheduled for this year, with the events starting on May 13th and ending on June 23rd. Five International Sports Federations will be involved along with game developers and publishers.
The announced partners include Polyphony Digital and Konami, with Gran Turismo seemingly making an appearance. The full list of partners is below:
- 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
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.”
David Lappartient, Chair of the IOC’s Esports and Gaming Liaison Group (ELG), and President of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), said:
“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”.
It also looks like anyone will be able to apply to participate, but details on how players and audiences can get involved are yet to be confirmed by the International Olympic Committee. Details will go live on the official Olympic website.
Source: Press Release