Insights International Olympic Committee (“IOC”) explores plans to create Olympic esports


At the opening of a recent IOC meeting, the IOC president announced that the IOC Esports Commission will explore the creation of Olympic Esports Games. Referring to the Olympic Esports Week in Singapore earlier this year, the announcement states this event successfully brought together the Olympic and the esports communities and created a collaboration with the International Sports Federations and games publishers.

The president referred to one of a number of issues that are commonly raised over whether it is possible for esports to be part of the Olympics, the fact that esports games often involve shooting at (virtual) people. The president indicated that such games could not be part of the Olympics but referred to one leading publisher which adapted their game to conform fully with “Olympic values” so that players shot at targets and not at people.

Other issues commonly raised that might prevent Olympic esports include the lack of global and national governing bodies (a condition for inclusion in the Olympics) and, critically, resistance from the games industry itself to allow esports to be classified as a sport on the grounds that sports law could in fact be detrimental to esports; esports exists in a different ecosystem altogether using highly creative products which, unlike traditional sports, are protected under consumer, minor protection, contract, IP, company and taxation laws.

For access to the IOC announcement, click here.