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09 Sep 2021

ASOIF publishes new report on IF gaming and esports strategy

A new report executive summary, released today by ASOIF, takes a close look at the gaming and esports market in order to support its members in positioning themselves in this rapidly growing sector. The document highlights the different types of gameplays; provides a structured approach for International Federations (IFs) to define a vision for their role in gaming and/or esports; and outlines concrete strategic options. It also aggregates the perspectives of key players in the gaming and esports industry, including publishers, competition organisers and IFs already active in this area.

ASOIF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said about the report:

This new report builds on research ASOIF already undertook in 2019 when we looked at future trends which could impact our member federations. The global COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the growth of the gaming and esports industry and we believe it is important that each IF carefully understands and evaluates the opportunities and risks related to their potential involvement. Ignoring this new phenomenon is definitely no option.

Recently, an increasing number of IFs have become engaged in gaming and esports with four ASOIF member IFs (UCI, WBSC, World Rowing, World Sailing) participating in the first edition of IOC Olympic Virtual Series. As a consequence, ASOIF commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to draft the new report, enabling a cohesive understanding of the different strategies among its member federations. As part of this initiative, ASOIF and PwC also conducted two series of workshops in February and June this year, which gathered representatives from 20 IFs.

The report shows that there are two ways for IFs to leverage gaming: either traditional sports are replicated virtually (link to the traditional sport, but the gaming activity includes no or very little physical activity, e.g. FIFA, World Sailing, etc) or technology is used to gamify real-world sport action (the focus is on physical activity while integrating augmented/ digital features, e.g. UCI, World Rowing, etc). These activities attract young audiences across genders and territories and can open up new revenue streams. At the same time IFs would have to invest financial and human resources to develop such new products, which likewise require significant effort for regular updates. The acceptance of the community is also unpredictable. In the light of these complexities, the report examines different roles IFs can play in the gaming and/or esports segment at their early development stage and without taking too many financial risks. 

Click here to read the Executive Summary of the report and click here to download the pdf version.