IOC Announces First-Ever Olympic Virtual Series

The new program will feature virtual sports including baseball and cycling, with participants from around the world.

Need to Know 

  • The IOC has joined the booming online sports world, announcing the first-ever Olympic Virtual Series.
  • The three-week-long program will feature physical and non-physical forms of virtual sports, with participants from around the world joining from home or from training facilities.
  • The Olympic Virtual Series is intended to build hype ahead of the Tokyo Games, but also promote inclusivity and encourage online participation among sports fans.


For the first time ever, the Olympics are going digital. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced they will be partnering with five International Sports Federations (IFs) and game publishers to produce the first-ever Olympic Virtual Series. 

Kicking off ahead of the Tokyo games on May 13th and continuing through June 23, 2021, the Olympic Virtual Series will feature both physical and non-physical forms of virtual sports, such as electronic sports like eBaseball or virtual cycling.

“The Olympic Virtual Series is a new, unique Olympic digital experience that aims to grow direct engagement with new audiences in the field of virtual sports,” said IOC president Thomas Bach. “Its conception is in line with Olympic Agenda 2020+5 and the IOC’s Digital Strategy. It encourages sports participation and promotes the Olympic values, with a special focus on youth.”

“A number of IFs have well established virtual sports initiatives; and thanks to the cooperation between the IOC, the IFs and the publishers, the OVS is an exciting step forward for the virtual sports world and the Olympic Movement,” said David Lappartient, chair of the IOC’s Esports and Gaming Liaison Group (ELG).

Participants from around the world can compete from home or from training facilities. The format is designed to build hype for the Tokyo games and promote inclusivity and online mass participation. 

Much like every other industry around the world, the pandemic turned the sports world upside down last year. Esports and other digital experiences, like Toronto-based MLSE’s digital arena, offer a new way for fans to connect with their favorite teams, other fans, and enjoy sports in an alternative modality.