athe time After the Olympics are over, it is worth asking a somewhat recurring question about the natural symbiosis that can occur in the short term between the Olympics and the virtual games. Will we ever see them together? There have been multiple rumors and speculations. But for now, without certainty.
To put some recent numbers in context. in the United States of America, League of Legends World Championship (one of the most popular video games), it had 24,000,000 viewers (The one you already know is the unit that measures viewers in age flow and watch online). In the Olympics held these days, NBC (which had the broadcast rights), also for the United States, averaged about 15,000,000 from viewers (Attempting to normalize the unit of measure to facilitate comparison).
There are two arguments for believing that this false dichotomy between “digital” and “face to face” will soon be obliterated. As in other social settings (business, leisure, education, etc.), there is no longer any talk of differentiating styles. New generations want to enjoy games, no matter where they are. For example, in my case, I like to see both good video games and good basketball or water polo in “traditional” Olympics. I love sports and competition or the adrenaline that allows us to wait. The second point that makes us believe this could soon be a reality is the economic one: Sponsors increasingly want to make their brands more visible in mixed spaces (both digital and face-to-face). A good example of this is how the marketing departments of major football clubs are transforming. They already have a lot of people dedicated to creating communities Online Plus the fact of attracting sponsorship. In the end, it’s more about selling the digital and social spaces where the brand can enter, more than just saying “We are Real Madrid and in Indonesia they love us so much.”
Naturally, the Olympic Committee has already begun to take its first steps on the field. Without going any further, last winter he staged his first virtual series. Of course, physical sports: cars, cycling, baseball, sailing and rowing. For example, a cycling competition was held at Zwift, an indoor cycling app. Car racing in Gran Turismo Sport. That is, video game platforms with wide followers were used. But, yes, only for sports. The committee has focused on these sports because it does not want to lose what they call its sporting essence. And you don’t want to lose your values: in the end, sport (especially minorities) is supported to promote gender equality, mental and physical health, integrity or athletic transformation. Obviously, these are the aspects that are considered nuclear in physical exercise.
And what do followers think? Without a detailed study, it is clear that this is not what anyone would call esports. The game and the great communities are elsewhere. So the controversy, the dilemma, should probably lead her to an explanation of what and how she plays. Just about sports or about games?
On the other hand, and from a purely mathematical perspective, it will be necessary to think about how to digitally transform sports that require the physical body to control. Rowing or cycling are two examples. Perhaps the car driving could be replicated in a video game. Something similar can happen while sailing. But the physical preparation that requires handling the bike, or controlling the water, is also apt to go to a digital level?
However, it appears that the Olympic Committee is planning to introduce this virtual sports series for the Los Angeles 2028 Games. While we will see as many discussions about it as the VAR.