Olympic Committee announces new IOC Esports Commission

Olympic Committee announces new IOC Esports Commission

3 October 2023

Recently, it was time for the periodical update of IOC Commissions by the IOC (International Olympic Committee) itself and as part of that process, the Committee announced the creation of a brand-new official commission focused on international esports. Through the IOC Esports Commission, as the new commission will be called, the organization wants to further grow and highlight the IOC’s efforts and investments in the areas of esports and gaming. The IOC Esports Commission will play a central role in anything esports-related from the Olympic Committee, including the provision of advice and the organization of official esports events.

Notable names from sports and esports

An official IOC Commission serves as an advisory body to the President of the IOC, the IOC Session or the IOC Executive Board. In the case of the new IOC Esports Commission, the name already indicates on exactly which topic it will be focusing all of its efforts. It will be formed by a mix of notable names from the sports and esports industries, led by David Lappartient, President of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and the person who led the IOC Esports Liaison Group as well, until the creation of the new Esports Commission.

Lappartient will be joined in the new Commission by a host of well-known names from various sports and sectors. These include BMX racer and Olympic medalist Sarah Walker, Asian Games gold-medal show jumper and long-term IOC Executive Board member Mikaela Cojuangco-Jaworski, and FIA CEO Natalie Robyn on the sports side. On the esports side, the Commission features Zeynep Gencaga, Senior Director of Global Competitive Gaming at Ubisoft, Shinji Namekawa, Manager of Global Business Development at Konami, and Alban Dechelotte, CEO at G2 Esports, amongst others.

Future of esports

The establishment of the IOC Esports Commission emphasizes once again the Committee’s recognition of the enormous potential of esports in terms of new audiences and new opportunities. As our regular readers know, virtual gaming and simulated gaming have been rapidly gaining popularity over the past few years and that trend is only expected to continue for the foreseeable future. After this summer’s Olympic Esports Series, the creation of the IOC Esports Commission represents a next big step in the development of virtual sports as part of the Olympic world. During those Series, that ran from June 23rd to June 25th, professional and amateur players from across the world were invited to compete in various esports titles, including Gran Turismo, Zwift and Tennis Clash.

“The IOC believes that virtual sports have the potential to complement and enhance the traditional Olympic sports, and that they can provide new opportunities for athletes and fans to participate in the Olympic Movement,” explains Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee, “We believe that virtual sports can help to promote the values of excellence, friendship and respect that are at the heart of the Olympic Games, and that they can inspire young people around the world to get involved in sports and to lead active and healthy lifestyles”.