- Baseball, cycling, rowing, sailing and motorsport were all part of the 2021 OVS
- IOC looking to make series an annual event
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has confirmed its Olympic Virtual Series (OVS) will return in 2022.
The organisation announced in April it would be making a major move into esports and gaming with the series, which would include five international sports federations and game publishers teaming up with the IOC to produce the OVS in 2021. The series became the first-ever Olympic-licensed event for physical and non-physical virtual sports.
According to the IOC this year’s inaugural OVS, which ran from 13th May to 23rd June, featured nearly 250,000 participants and had more than two million entries. The gaming platforms used included eBaseball Powerful Pro Baseball 2020, Zwift, Virtua Regatta and Gran Turismo, while World Rowing was listed as having an open format.
With the OVS’ return confirmed at the recent Olympic Summit, the expectation is the IOC will continue the event on annual basis, in part to help federations engage and promote their sports, as well as reach new audiences.
The dates and sports to be included for next year’s OVS are set to be revealed in the first half of 2022. The federations involved with the 2021 event were the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), the International Cycling Union (UCI), World Rowing, World Sailing, and the International Automobile Federation (FIA).
The IOC has not confirmed if any new federations will join the 2022 OVS, but said in April that Fifa, the International Basketball Federation (Fiba), the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and World Taekwondo (WT) were committed to ‘exploring inclusion’ in future editions.