Riyadh to host 2024 IESF World Esports Championship; IOC creates first Esports Commission

Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh was named host of the 16th World Esports Championship by the International Esports Federation (IESF) Tuesday.

Philippines awarded Grand Champions at 15th IESF World Esports Championships in Iași, Romania September 5, 2023 (IESF Photo)
Philippines awarded Grand Champions at 15th IESF World Esports Championships in Iași, Romania September 5, 2023 (IESF Photo)

The announcement was made by IESF President Vlad Marinescu during the closing ceremony of the 15th edition that has been staged in Iași, Romania the past 10 days. Philippines were named Grand Champions of the event that included 601 athletes from 111 countries competing across six game titles. Streamed online, the event broke the live viewership record set last year with over 700,000 watching the grand final.

“We look forward to working with Saudi Arabia, the local organizing committee, the Saudi Esports Federation, and our incredible partners to keep the momentum going and continue to grow and promote esports on the global stage,” Marinescu said.

Exact event dates will be announced at a later date.

WEC23 Gold Medalists

Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Philippines
PUBG Mobile Kyrgyzstan
eFootball™ 2023 Iran
Tekken7 Pakistan
CS:GO Sweden
CS:GO Female Netherlands
Dota 2 Mongolia

Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) continues to explore the future of Esports in the Olympic Movement, and Tuesday announced the creation of the Esports Commission to be chaired by French IOC member David Lappartient from France who previously led the IOC’s Esports Liaison Group.

The move follows the conclusion of the IOC’s first-ever Olympic Esports Week, which was held in Singapore from 23 to 25 June, and the Olympic Esports Series, which invited both professional and amateur players from across the world to compete in virtual sports competitions.

“The IOC believes that virtual sports have the potential to complement and enhance the traditional Olympic sports, and that they can provide new opportunities for athletes and fans to participate in the Olympic Movement,” IOC President Thomas Bach said.

“We believe that virtual sports can help to promote the values of excellence, friendship and respect that are at the heart of the Olympic Games, and that they can inspire young people around the world to get involved in sports and to lead active and healthy lifestyles.”

The IOC has yet to name the IESF, or the fledgling Global Esports Federation as recognized Olympic sports federations, instead looking for a different path forward that separates Esports from traditional Olympic sports. Game titles at the Olympic Esports Series were supported by existing sport federations where there is a connection such as Tic Tac Bow with archery, but the event was criticized for embracing titles that are not the most popular in the gaming community.

Esports have already been integrated with the Asian Games but will not appear on planned future Olympic programs at Paris 2024 or Los Angeles 2028.

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.

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