Olympics adds esports to its schedule, kind of

The International Olympic Committee has given the go-ahead to a series of virtual events meant to hype this summer's games.

A group of international sports federations and game publishers have partnered with the International Olympics Committee to formally sanction a series of esports events meant to supplement the Olympics.

The game publishers are the companies behind a baseball, cycling, rowing, sailing and motor sports titles that will be used in competition.

The first-ever Olympic Virtual Series is a roughly six-week event that launched May 13 and invites gamers from across the world to participate in sanctioned competitions.

The games and apps being used include Konami’s eBaseball Powerful Pro Baseball, Zwift’s home cycling app, Vendee Globe’s Virtual Regatta, Gran Turismo and unclear options in rowing category described only as “open format.”

The new event was introduced as part of the IOC’s “Olympic Agenda 2020+5.”

Video game industry trackers have long hoped for a day when esports-based competition would make the roster of official Olympic sports.

While the committee has not indicated this is a step in that direction, that they consider these gaming options viable and important enough to be formally attached to the Olympics name is telling.

The series “aims to grow direct engagement with new audiences in the field of virtual sports,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in a press release. “It’s conception … encourages sports participation and promotes the Olympic values, with a speical focus on youth.”

Cyclist Greg Van Avermaet said he thinks this kind of competition is here to stay, especially after the coronavirus pushed people to do more virtual sports and virtual training.

You can find all information and the events at the website HERE.

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