IOC confirms Singapore as host of first Olympic Esports Week
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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has confirmed that its inaugural Olympic Esports Week will take place in June next year.
The announcement marks the next major step in supporting the development of virtual sports within the Olympic Movement and engaging further with competitive gamers.
The event runs 22-25 June 2023 in Singapore, with the country having hosted the first ever Youth Olympic Games in 2010.
All eyes on Singapore
In partnership with the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, Sport Singapore and the Singapore National Olympic Committee (SNOC), the Olympic Esports Week will showcase the best of virtual sports – both hybrid physical and simulated sports – in the four-day festival.
This will include exhibiting the latest technologies, panel discussions, educations sessions and show matches.
The highlight of the week will be the first in-person live finals of the Olympic Esports Series, a global virtual and simulated sported competition created in collaboration with the International Federations (IFs) which builds on the successes of last year’s Olympic Virtual Series. The 2021 series attracted over 250,000 participants from across 100 countries to take part in competitions in virtual and simulated sports including baseball, motorsport, cycling, rowing and sailing.
"The first Olympic Esports Week marks an important milestone in our ambition to support the growth of virtual sports within the Olympic Movement."
Thomas Bach, IOC President
Speaking about the announcement, IOC President Thomas Bach said: “The first Olympic Esports Week marks an important milestone in our ambition to support the growth of virtual sports within the Olympic Movement. We believe the exciting new format of our virtual sports competition, with live finals to be staged for the first time, is an opportunity to be partnering with Singapore, which has a history of supporting innovation in the Olympic Movement, hosting the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in 2010, so we are looking forward to working together closely.”
SNOC Board member and ICO Vice-President Ng Ser Miang said: “The Singapore NOC shares the Olympic Movement’s ambitions of exploring the development of virtual sports. Singapore has a track record of successfully hosting some of the biggest events in the virtual sports and esports calendar – we are honoured to be collaborating with the IOC to bring this shared vision to life.”
Details, including how to be part of the first Olympic Esports Week and Olympic Esports Series, will be revealed in early 2023.
What to expect
Last year, we saw the IOC dip its toe in esports for the fits time with the Olympic Virtual Series, in the build-up to the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
This was very much a virtual version of Olympic disciplines, with events in Baseball, Cycling, Rowing, Sailing and the not-so-traditional Motor Sport.
Unlike the 2023 offering, the Virtual Series was held over six weeks, which suggests that this year the programme is going to be condensed as well as being held live and in-person.
Whether we will see the same "simulated sports" on offer remains to be seen, and as for the "hybrid physical" events, Singapore did show off both Taekwondo and Archery, so expect those and possilby more to feature.