Panam Sports President Neven Ilic said it was important to "open our minds" to esports ©Panam Sports

An esports event is set to run alongside next year’s Pan American Games here as Panam Sports looks to "explore" the video gaming industry.

Panam Sports President Neven Ilic confirmed that esports would be piloted during Santiago 2023 but would not be an official medal event, when addressing delegates at the organisation’s General Assembly in the Chilean capital.

Global Esports Federation (GEF) is due to run the tournament that is expected to take place in parallel with the Games, which are scheduled to be held from October 20 to November 5.

Ilic said Panam Sports would adopt a "similar model" to the one used for the Commonwealth Esports Championships which was staged alongside the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

"We think it is a very good idea to explore esports industry as we are trying to approach better with the youth," Ilic told insidethegames.

"We will do a pilot during the Pan American Games in Santiago to understand how this industry works and how we can link the Pan American family with esports industry.

"I think there is a big challenge to investigate what is the best way to approach this for the youth because we want to have the youth involved in our movement.

"We will explore different ways and esports will be the first one to explore."

The esports event in Santiago is set to adopt a
The esports event in Santiago is set to adopt a "similar model" to the one used for the Commonwealth Esports Championships ©ITG

The esports industry is continuing to grow with the International Olympic Committee voting last year to push for further development in virtual sport through the creation of the Olympic Virtual Series.

Esports is also set to feature as an official medal discipline for the first time at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games having appeared at the 2019 and 2021 Southeast Asian Games.

Panam Sports Athlete Commission President Aliann Pompey said the topic of esports had been "monopolising" recent discussions with athletes who were finding it "difficult" to accept whether it was a sport.

But Ilic said it was important to be open-minded about esports due to its popularity among the young generation.

"One of my kids is a really big fan of esports and has spent a lot of time doing that but as a father I have to understand that this is another way for entertainment," said Ilic.

"In my generation, our entertainment was another kind.

"We need to open our minds to understand that.

"I think if you do a small review, everybody plays some kinds of games.

"If you see the athletes and the professional football players, they spend their free time playing Games.

"What we are trying to do is understand and open the door to listen and see what happens, then we will take final decisions in the future."