The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has partnered with five International Sports Federations (IFs) and game publishers to produce the Olympic Virtual Series (OVS), the first-ever, Olympic-licensed event for physical and non-physical virtual sports.
Taking place ahead of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the OVS will begin on 13 May, continuing through to 23 June 2021. The Olympic Virtual Series will mobilise virtual sport, esports and gaming enthusiasts all around the world in order to reach new Olympic audiences, while also encouraging the development of physical and non-physical forms of sports in line with the recommendations of the IOC’s Olympic Agenda 2020+5.
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”.
The following International Federations and gaming publishers will be part of the Olympic Virtual Series:
- 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
The OVS creates a stage to connect the physical sporting world with the virtual and simulation sports gaming community, providing an opportunity to engage with the Olympic Movement. Each IF will offer its corresponding event in a format that maximises online mass participation and prioritises inclusivity and participation through the OVS. The mass-participation Series allows participants around the world to compete from home or their training facilities in order to generate excitement in the build-up to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.