IOC Set to Vote on First Ever Olympic Esports Games Next Month

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The “Olympic Esports Games” seem poised to become a reality, with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) set to vote on this groundbreaking initiative at the 142nd IOC Session in Paris next month.

First introduced by IOC President Thomas Bach at the 141st IOC Session in Mumbai in 2023, the first-ever Olympic Esports Games aim to bridge the gap between traditional athletics and the rapidly growing digital domain.

What Are the Future Plans for Esports Olympics?

Details are still being finalized, but the IOC revealed some key information about their esports plans:

  • IOC members will vote on approving the Esports Olympics proposal at the 142nd IOC Session between July 22-24, 2024 in Paris (host city of the Summer Olympics 2024).
  • A potential host city/country for the inaugural Esports Olympics is already in “advanced discussions” and should be announced shortly after that meeting.
  • The events will likely include a mix of sports video game simulations (such as the recent Phygital in Games of the Future) as well as standalone esports titles.
  • The Olympic Virtual Series and Olympic Esports Week, which was organized by the IOC itself, will serve as a beta test for this new Olympic program.

Why Is the IOC Embracing Esports?

In a press conference, IOC President Thomas Bach said that the Esports Olympics symbolize the IOC’s significant step towards adapting to the “digital revolution“.

The primary factors motivating this initiative include:

  • Attracting younger viewers – IOC Data showed 75% of viewers for the 2023 Singapore esports events (Olympic Esports Week) were ages 13-34
  • Remaining relevant – Video games are a rapidly growing form of entertainment, especially among Generation Z. The Olympic Games don’t want to be left behind.
  • Potential revenue stream – While the financial model is still separate from traditional Olympic Games profits, esports offers a new commercial opportunity.

Who Is Leading the Charge?

IOC President Thomas Bach and French Olympic Committee President David Lappartient have played pivotal roles in the International Olympic Committee’s adoption of esports and the creation of the Olympic Esports Games.

In 2018, Bach was involved in the “Esports Forum” in Lausanne, leading to the formation of the IOC Esports Liaison Group.

Under Lappartient’s leadership, this group explored how esports could be integrated into the Olympic movement, marking the IOC’s first major step towards esports Olympics.

By 2021, the Olympics officially welcomed esports, by introducing the first Olympic Virtual Series which concluded in Singapore last year with its third edition during the first Olympic Esports Week.

In late 2023, the IOC Esports Commission was established, comprising notable individuals from both esports and traditional sports sectors, to guide the IOC President on the nature of upcoming events.

How Will the Esports Olympics Be Funded?

Addressing concerns from traditional Olympic sports, Bach reassured stakeholders that the Esports Olympics would operate under a separate financial model.

This approach ensures that the revenue sharing from the Summer and Winter Games remains untouched, protecting the interests of existing Olympic sports governing bodies.

“We are not entering into financial adventures which would put their subventions at risk,” Bach stated.

When Can We Expect the First Olympic Esports Games?

While specific details about the inaugural event are yet to be revealed, there has been speculation that the games may be introduced separately from the traditional Olympics.

As previously reported, the IOC considering “Japan” as a potential host for the 2025 timeframe, the time between the Summer Olympics (Paris, 2024) and Winter Olympics (Milan, 2026).

Japan, renowned for its vast gaming industry and a broad spectrum of gaming fans, is an ideal candidate to host the inaugural Esports Olympics.

Besides they already hosted four Olympic games, and the last Toyko Olympic 2020 was a huge success despite of pandemic.

Consider this speculation with caution until the official confirmation next month and stay tuned with Gaming Foodle for further updates.

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