HEARD AT HALFTIME: IOC liaison group signals no eSports tie-up coming; Nike’s

The IOC continues to tread cautiously where e-sports are concerned

News, views and noise from the non-stop, worldwide circus of Olympic sport:

International Olympic Committee ● The IOC’s E-Sports and Gaming Liaison Group declared that the IOC does not plan to recognize a single group as the worldwide federation for eSports. In a letter circulated last week, the liaison group noted:

“The IOC position is that it does not and is not planning to recognise an e-sports federation.

“We have strong existing relations with the different stakeholders in the e-sports and gaming community, such as games publishers, platforms, athletes and players. We will maintain these direct relationships rather than working through a third party.

“Both of the organisations [International E-Sports Federation and Global E-Sports Federation] who reference themselves as e-sports federations have representatives on the ELG and we will continue to welcome the contribution of these individuals. However, the IOC does not endorse or recognise any specific federation as a representative body in this area.

“This is a position shared by ASOIF, AIOWF and GAISF, and as a result we do not encourage IFs to enter into a formal relationship with these organisations.”

The IOC’s liaison group is due to provide more perspective in its year-end report ahead of the Olympic Summit on 12 December.

From the perspective of the eSports industry, The Esports Observer noted:

Chris Chan, who is secretary of the Singapore National Olympic Council and COO of the GEF, said GEF was formed [in 2019] as a way to have esports included in the Olympic Games.

“The race to become the world governing body of esports as whole is still being run frantically as the GEF was in some part built as a way to overshadow the South Korean upstart, International eSports Federation (IeSF). The IeSF was started in 2008 and looks to promote esports as a legitimate competitive space akin to traditional sports.

“The difference between the two organizations is that the GEF is looking to have Olympic sports become members of the GEF while the IeSF looks to promote and facilitate international competitions. However, there have been a handful of Olympic sports that have acquired membership with the GEF, including archery, canoeing, karate, and tennis.”

Former long-time IOC marketing chief Michael Payne (GBR) gave the best interpretation of these events last week on Twitter:

“[J]ust because IOC refusing to recognise one esport federation over another (which makes total sense, not for IOC to judge until sport has clear leader) does not mean ioc not moving or engaging with industry.”

Athletics ● From Kenya’s K24 TV site:

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