IOC Confirms Plans for Olympic Esports Games

Over the last decade, the popularity of esports skyrocketed. While the activity continues to attract more players and viewers, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is also following popular trends, considering its plans to introduce a range of Olympic Esports Games.

Confirmation about the new plan emerged recently at the Opening Ceremony of the 141st IOC Session that took place in Mumbai, India. Notably, the IOC’s president, Thomas Bach, confirmed that he requested the new IOC Esports Commission to look into the creation of the Olympic Esports Games, effectively paving the way for esports into the Olympic vertical.

Bach acknowledged the popularity of esports across the globe, explaining that approximately three billion people are involved in gaming and esports. Moreover, he highlighted that an estimated 500 million people are particularly interested in esports such as sports simulations and virtual sports. According to Bach, one major benefit of those audiences is that they are primarily under the age of 34.

“I have asked our new IOC Esports Commiss kagame ion to study the creation of Olympic Esports Games.“

Thomas Bach, president of the IOC

While the latest announcement by the IOC clearly confirms their intentions to venture further into the esports vertical, details on the topic are scarce. It is yet to be confirmed what esports titles may fall into the Olympic Esports Games category and whether or not hit games such as League of Legends, CS:GO, Dota 2 or PUBG, among others, may make it to the list. Yet, it is safe to say that bettors across the globe would have new options for esports wagering.

Expanding into the Esports Vertical

The latest announcement doesn’t mark IOC’s first venture into the esports vertical. The popular sector has been in the scope of the IOC since 2018 when it organized an Esports Forum in Lausanne. More recently, in 2021, the IOC announced it developed the Olympic Virtual Series, marking its first serious foray into the esports vertical.

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Then, earlier this year, the Committee launched the Olympic Esports Week. Taking place in June, the Olympic Esports Week saw 130 players compete in esports titles such as virtual sports and racing. However, that event didn’t include any of the popular esports games like Dota 2 or CS:GO.

Still, according to IOC data, the Olympic Esports Series saw more than 6 million views within different digital channels. Approximately 75% of the viewers were between the ages of 13 and 34, reaffirming the strong interest from the young demographic.