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IOC Announce Move Into Esports By Unveiling Olympic Virtual Series

W
ith the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games just months away, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have announced a move into the esports world, partnering with five international sports federations and game publishers to produce the Olympic Virtual Series (OVS).

The federations include the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), the International Cycling Union (UCI), World Rowing, World Sailing and the International Automobile Federation (FIA).

The gaming platforms include eBaseball Powerful Pro Baseball 2020, Zwift, Virtua Regatta and Gran Turismo.

The goal of the OVS, which will take place between May and June, is to engage “new audiences worldwide” and will be “generating excitement ahead of the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympics later this summer.”

IOC president, Thomas Bach, said the new initiative will target different focus groups.

“The OVS is a new, unique Olympic digital experience that aims to grow direct engagement with new audiences in the field of virtual sports,” Bach said.

“It’s 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,” he said.

In other esports news, the English Premier League (EPL) has partnered with Tencent Sports, to launch a new Chinese Esports FIFA series.

The tournament, which will kick-off April 28, will be titled, ePremier League China, where it will attempt to deepen the digital offerings, as there are more than eight million followers of the EPL across digital and social platforms in China.

EPL commercial director, Will Brass, said: “After three successful ePremier League seasons in the UK, it is exciting to now be able to take this overseas for the first time and particularly to China, a hotbed for gaming and football.”

“I am sure it will prove popular with the loyal and passionate supporters of EPL clubs in China,” he said.