The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) has today announced an ‘exploratory partnership’ with the Global Esports Federation (GEF) in an effort to better understand esports and how it can ‘advance’ the vision and mission of the organisation. As part of the Commonwealth Sport Movement’s 2022 strategic plan, the GEF will advise on the efficacy of introducing esports-based initiatives and campaigns across the Commonwealth – which includes Australia, the United Kingdom and many other nations.
‘In recent years, we have seen the dramatic rise of Esports in terms of popularity and participation, particularly the participation of young people,’ Dame Louise Martin, Commonwealth Games Federation president said. ‘During the COVID-19 pandemic, interest in Esports globally has continued to increase significantly which demonstrates an important characteristic of connecting people during a difficult period.’
‘For some time now, the CGF has been looking for a way to formally engage with Esports, to explore how it can align with the Commonwealth Sports Movement and its support of the sustainable development of digital infrastructure, connectivity and commerce across the Commonwealth. ‘
The specific areas the GEF will advise on are as follows:
- An analysis of the status of esports in the Commonwealth and its ‘capacity to support and advance [the Commonwealth]’s vision and mission through the joint development of a values-based Commonwealth Esports strategy’
- Exploration and development of ‘athlete-centred, sport-focused initiatives and campaigns that harness and elevate the principles of Equality, Diversity, Inclusion, Integrity and Innovation’ in the Commonwealth
- Exploration and development of sustainable competitions and initiatives that could benefit the Commonwealth through ‘promotional opportunities that connect and serve athletes, citizens and communities’
So far, this doesn’t mean that esports will be joining the Commonwealth Games – but that the organisation running the event is looking for ways to incorporate esports in global sporting activities, with the major goal being to better connect to young communities and encourage digital literacy.
‘We are honoured to embark on this strategic partnership and support the Commonwealth Games Federation. This partnership further strengthens the Global Esports Federation’s mission of convening the world’s Esports ecosystem,’ Chris Chan, GEF president said.
The GEF team will work with the CGF going forward to find a way to develop ‘a pathway together for an inclusive, progressive, and visionary future for the youth and the entire Commonwealth.’
It’s a great step towards legitimising esports on the global stage, and for connecting global esports players together in the spirit of fresh competition. It’s also an important way to make Commonwealth Sport and its initiatives more appealing to younger people, given data from the CGF suggests 32% of 16-24 year olds are more likely to watch esports tournaments than traditional sports.
In future, esports may prove to be a valuable way to bring sports fans of all generations together.