IOC board proposes e-sports Olympics

Saturday, Jun 15, 2024

LAUSANNE: The International Olympic Committee plans to launch an “e-sport Olympic Games”, separate from the traditional Olympic Games, IOC president Thomas Bach announced on Friday.

The Olympic body´s executive board, on the third and final day of its meeting in Lausanne, proposed the new competition to be voted on at a general assembly in Paris on the eve of the summer Olympics.

“The IOC is already in advanced discussions with a potential host and an announcement can be expected very soon,” said an IOC press release, without specifying how often such an event would take place or what sports would be included.

The IOC, in its perpetual quest to reconcile Olympic tradition with attempts to attract a younger audience, held an initial “Olympic e-sport week” in Singapore in June 2023, consisting of “ten mixed-gender category events.”

Last October, the IOC set up an “e-sport commission” chaired by Frenchman David Lappartient, the president of the international cycling union (UCI), to consider a dedicated competition.

“With the creation of Olympic Esports Games, the IOC is taking a major step forward and is keeping up with the pace of the digital revolution,” said Bach in a statement posted on social media.

“We are very excited how enthusiastically the e-sports community represented in our Esports Commission has engaged with this initiative.” Bach said he does not see e-sports as part of the traditional Olympics.

“With respect to esports, our values are and remain the red line that we will never cross,” the IOC chief said. The dedicated Games would be organised “within the framework of an entirely new specialised structure within the IOC, clearly separated from the organisational and financial model of the Olympic Games”.

He nevertheless specified that the international federations “already involved in an electronic version of their sport”, as well as the national Olympic committees “which include e-sport in their activities”, could be associated with the new Games.