June 22, 2024

IOC to pursue Olympic Esports Games, says chief Thomas Bach

IOC to pursue Olympic Esports Games, says chief Thomas Bach
Reuters

(Reuters) - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will pursue the creation of an Esports Games, president Thomas Bach said in his opening speech at the IOC Session on Saturday.

Bach said he had directed the IOC Esports Commission to study the creation of an Olympic Esports Games and pointed to the overwhelming popularity of esports globally, citing an estimated three billion participants around the world.

"What is even more relevant to us, a majority of them are under the age of 34," he said.

The International Esports Federation did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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The IOC first dabbled in esports five years ago, with the 2018 Esports Forum, and launched the inaugural Olympic Esports Week earlier this year in Singapore.

The Esports Week welcomed more than 130 competitors to play in 10 mixed-gender category events.

"In Singapore, we saw proof that our holistic approach is working. We successfully brought together the Olympic and the esports communities," said Bach.

"This was a promising start. But it is just that: A start. It is like in any sport, after even a promising start the real race still lies ahead."