The Commonwealth Games Federation has announced that it has entered into an “exploratory partnership” with the Global Esports Federation.
As part of the Commonwealth Sport Movement’s Transformation 2022 strategic plan, the two will work together on developing links between esports and the movement, with specific focus on developing a Commonwealth esports strategy.
According to the announcement, the collaboration will include “exploring and developing athlete-centred, sport-focused initiatives and campaigns” that align with the CGF’s values, and seeking opportunities to develop esports competitions “that could benefit…the wider Commonwealth through partnerships and promotional opportunities that connect and serve athletes, citizens and communities”.
CGF president Dame Louise Martin said: “In recent years, we have seen the dramatic rise of esports in terms of popularity and participation, particularly the participation of young people.
“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.”
In its statement, the CGF also noted the importance of esports to attracting a younger generation of fans, citing studies which have shown 16-24-year-olds are more likely to watch esports than traditional sports, adding that 65 per cent of the Commonwealth’s population of just over two billion are under the age of 30.
The GEF, which is based in Singapore and backed by Chinese technology giant Tencent, was founded in late 2019 and is attempting to create a global infrastructure for esports and bring it closer to the world of traditional sports. Last month, it announced the appointment of Paul J. Foster as its chief operating officer.
On the singing of the CGF partnership, GEF president Chris Chan said: “This partnership allows us to develop a pathway together for an inclusive, progressive, and visionary future for the youth and the entire Commonwealth – North to South, East to West – reaching across a third of the world’s population.
“The future of esports continues to be bright, and we look forward to developing great collaborations across the world; elevating Esports based on the traditions and values of sport and the principle of harnessing technology for good.”