The International Olympic Committee and the Global Association of International Sports Federations have conducted an Esports Forum at IOC’s Olympic Museum in Lausanne.
The joint IOC-GAISF organisation of the Esports Forum reflects the increasing collaboration between various stakeholders of the Olympic Movement and the esports and gaming community.
With a strong participation from over 150 representatives across the esports and gaming ecosystem, the Forum began a dialogue to build joint understanding and set a platform for future engagement between the esports and gaming industries and the Olympic Movement. The participants included representation from players, publishers, teams, media, sponsors and event organisers; and from across the Olympic Movement: National Olympic Committees, International Sports Federations, athletes, partners, broadcasters, the IOC and the GAISF.
The Forum explored areas of commonality and potential collaboration, including the question of whether esports could be recognised as a sport, and in which form they could be represented within the Olympic Movement, when an organisation does not currently exist that represents esports globally and could align with the Olympic values, rules and regulations. For this reason, the consideration of whether esports could be included on the Olympic programme was not an immediate goal of the Esports Forum, IOA has stated.
GAISF President and IOC Member Patrick Baumann said: “On behalf of GAISF and the IOC, I would like to thank all the participants at today’s forum. One thing in particular was clear from these fascinating discussions – we are united by passion for our sports and a shared love of competition. That’s a positive starting point for further discussions about possible future cooperation between the Olympic and esports communities.”
Rick Fox, a former professional basketball player and the owner of an esports franchise, was the Forum host moderator and commented: “I am proud to have the opportunity to support the beginning of a discussion between the Olympic Movement and the world of esports. I’ve been fortunate to have a career involving both basketball and esports, and I think today reflected the passion that exists in sport and esports and also highlighted ways in which we could work together.”
Jacob “Jake” Lyon, a professional esports player for the Houston Outlaws in the Overwatch League, said: “It was great to be able to participate in today’s Forum with the Olympic Movement. I think both communities were interested to learn from each other and I think it demonstrates the growing importance and following of esports around the world. There is much opportunity for each movement to learn and grow from the other’s experiences.”
The Esports Forum follows the Olympic Summit held in October 2017, which asked the IOC, together with the GAISF, to explore this area in a dialogue with the gaming industry and players and to come back to the Olympic Movement stakeholders in due course.