The inaugural Olympic Virtual Series (OVS) was revealed on Thursday (22nd April), as the first-ever, Olympic-licensed event for physical and non-physical virtual sports.
The new Series, which will start on 13 May, continuing through to 23 June, 2021, aims to 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 International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s Olympic Agenda 2020+5.
The IOC will partner with five International Sports Federations and game publishers to produce the OVS:
- World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) — eBaseball Powerful Pro Baseball 2020, Konami
- 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 OVS event will aim to maximise online mass participation and prioritise inclusivity.
“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," said IOC President Thomas Bach.
"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.”
By building this bridge between virtual sports and traditional sports, the IOC is aiming to expand its activities to engage fans, the virtual sports community, players, and partners.
All five OVS events will differ in form and concept and will operate via the sport’s respective publisher platform, and fans will have the opportunity to engage and follow the events on the Olympic Channel.
Additional information on how to participate, as well as prizes included with select events, will be announced in due course.