World hockey aims to broaden reach in esports and gaming

World hockey says the sport “has to find its place” among the major sports when it comes to esports and gaming, writes Richard Bright.

The first-ever Olympic-licensed event for physical and non-physical virtual sports started this week, running until June 23.

Five sports are part of the inaugural Olympic Virtual Series: baseball, cycling, rowing, sailing and motorsport.

Curent International Hockey Federation (FIH) president Narinder Batra outlined in his manifesto for re-election that the sport “needed to reach a wider audience through different mediums, which are gaining popularity.”

He added: “E-sports and gaming are developing at a fast pace and Hockey has to find its place among the core sports that the developers are considering to integrate onto their platforms.”

In the upcoming FIH Congress, the world governing body will seek to make ammendments to its charter to have control of virtual or e-gaming activities and hockey competitions.

The IOC aims to mobilise virtual sport, esports, and gaming enthusiasts in order to reach new Olympic audiences through its virtual series.

The curent mass-participation event allows participants to compete from home or their training facilities in order to generate excitement ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.

All five OVS events will differ in concept and will operate via the sport’s respective publisher platform.

The IOC will then showcase the top players in the finals live from Japan. For example, in baseball, the best players from its eBaseball Powerful Pro Baseball Tournament will all be invited to Tokyo.

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