Kit McConnell hopes the IOC can expand the Olympic Virtual Series in future ©Getty Images

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has stated its hopes to "expand" its Olympic Virtual Series (OVS) - a mix of physical and non-physical virtual and esports - in future if its inaugural edition is successful.

Five sports will be part of the inaugural OVS - baseball, cycling, rowing, sailing and motorsport - and will run from May 13 until June 23, ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Cycling and rowing will be virtual events, while baseball, sailing and motorsport will be esports events.

The IOC will work with the International Federation and the publisher to bring the events to fruition.

Speaking to insidethegames today in a video conference, IOC sports director Kit McConnell called the five sports chosen a "good mix" while stating his hopes to grow the series in future.

"We look to develop it [the series] as we look forward and have a longer runway to plan future editions," said McConnell.

"We're really happy with the five and we will look to probably expand if we are given the opportunity in the future."

Sports chosen were done so due to the close partnerships between the International Federations and the publishers.

"This is what made it a priority for us to try and do this prior to Tokyo and we seized the opportunity with the postponement of Tokyo 2020," added McConnell.

"We were looking for a range of different types of games and audiences and a mix in the physical and non-physical and looking at the relationships between publishers.

"When we looked at the likes of FIFA and FIBA (International Basketball Federation), there were some challenges around the existing calendars of competition that they have and we didn't want to push ourselves into challenging situations with cross-overs of playing windows which is why it led us naturally to the five."

Cycling will be one of the sports as part of the Olympic Virtual Series ©UCI
Cycling will be one of the sports as part of the Olympic Virtual Series ©UCI

Christopher Carroll, IOC director of digital engagement and marketing added that the OVS will be youth-orientated and tuned to the demographics of the five sports and its participating audience.

"We want to fuel our partners' communities, that's how the participation will grow and we want to complement that by promoting and driving awareness of the OVS through the Olympic Channel as well as our websites and social media channels," said Carroll.

"The period from 2022 to 2024 will be very important.

"You have seen Paris 2024 talking about the importance of digital engagement and how to reach out beyond the 17 days of the Games.

"We're at the start of a journey, we have a rough outline of our intention, but it's built so we can adapt and be agile.

"Our job is increasingly to grow the relevancy of the Olympics and that's through to different outreach to different communities."

One of the recommendations of the Olympic Agenda 2020+5 is the development of virtual sports.

The World Baseball Softball Confederation, the International Cycling Union, World Rowing, World Sailing and the International Automobile Federation are all involved with the project.

Baseball will feature in the OVS through eBaseball Powerful Pro Baseball 2020, by Konami Digital Entertainment.

Cycling events will use the Zwift platforms while rowing will be an open format.

Gran Turismo by Polyphony Digital will represent motorsport with a sailing virtual regatta also held.