The unveiling of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) new Olympic Virtual Series (OVS) snatched the headline last week in the world of esports.
Esports Insider Sub-Editor, Tom Daniels, runs through the top esports business-related stories of the week in the latest edition of the ESI Digest, including the ‘huge’ news that the IOC has partnered with five international sports federations and game publishers to launch the series.
“This will be the first Olympic-licensed event for virtual sports/esports,” Daniels stated. “The event is expected to coincide with the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and will take place between 13 May and 23 June. It will feature virtual sports and esports across baseball, rowing, sailing, motorsport and cycling.
“Some of the titles selected for the event are quite interesting. It’s eBaseball Powerful Pro Baseball 2020, Zwift, Virtual Regatta, and Gran Turismo, with the rowing event not been decided as of right now.”
Discussing how the tournament has the potential to go ‘very well, he continued: ’“I think it’s really interesting seeing the Olympics trying to integrate virtual sports and esports into its product overall. I do think that some of these titles are a bit unknown. Bar Gran Turismo, the other titles are not what you’d consider top-tier esports.
“However, I do think this is a baby steps kind of integration just to see how it works, how the formatting works and how people react to it.”
Elsewhere, the English Premier League has joined forces with Tencent Sport, Tencent Gaming and EA Sports to take its sports simulation competition, the ePremier League, to China.
The competition, scheduled for 28 April, will see ‘some of the best Chinese gamers’ from FIFA Online 4, as well as hand-picked content creators and influencers, represent all 20 Premier League clubs.
“According to the release, this is the first ePremier League event to be staged outside of the UK. Instead of traditionally where it’s FIFA 21 or FIFA 20s, the tournament will actually take place on EA Sports’ FIFA Online 4.
“I do think this is a smart initiative, especially with the Premier League itself wanting to integrate itself more with Chinese audiences and by doing that through an esports initiative is also incredibly smart.”
ESI Digest, in partnership with RocketReel, powered by Reely.ai, is part of the ESI Network, a collection of podcasts encompassing the esports industry. For deep dives into the major areas of esports with subject matter experts, check out ESI Focus. For conversations with key personnel and major stakeholders in esports, ESI Insight is the series for you.