The IOC is set to follow the sports in Birmingham, with Games events eligible for the Olympics if it proves successful at the Commonwealth Games
- The International Olympic Committee sends an official observer to the sports
- If the games events are a success in Birmingham, they can play in the Olympics
- The IOC seems to be moving closer to the idea of including sports in future games
The International Olympic Committee will step up its exploration of sports by sending an observer to games events being held during the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Sportsmail revealed in February that a deal had been struck for the Commonwealth Esport Championships to run alongside the Games as a demonstration event on August 6-7, with the potential for esports disciplines to feature in the full medal program in 2026.
These developments have sparked controversy among traditionalists, but the games’ huge, young audiences have made them an attractive proposition for major sports organizations, including the Olympics.
The IOC will look to the sporting events at the Commonwealth Games with an eye to the future
Sportsmail understands this will extend to the deployment of an IOC observer at the Birmingham Games, with the aim of studying the success of the pilot and further developing its own position on the phenomenon.
While the IOC has not given an indication of when or if esports might become part of a games schedule, they appear to be moving in that direction.
With shrinking and aging audiences for the Summer and Winter Olympics, the IOC has made no secret of its appeal to the numbers generated by sports – an estimated 500 million worldwide will watch sports this year, most of them under the age of 34 years old. the industry is worth barely £1 billion a year – and they have already held two high-level meetings in recent years to explore the compatibility of their parties.
Ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, the IOC launched the Virtual Olympic Series, which includes virtual competitions on baseball, cycling, rowing, sailing and motor sports. Their interest in sports is known to be primarily focused on that model, based on virtual participation in traditional sports as opposed to more popular forms of gaming, with no consideration for games that promote violence outside of martial arts.
The IOC previously launched the Olympic Virtual Series in the run-up to Tokyo 2020