‘This is not just a competition, but a new type of sports product’: Games of the Future start in Kazan

Why it is impossible to compare the Games with the Olympics, whether the next ones will be held in Africa, whether Kazan is ready to receive thousands of guests

‘This is not just a competition, but a new type of sports product’: Games of the Future start in Kazan
Photo: realnoevremya.ru

The long-awaited Games of the Future started in Kazan on 19 February, which will bring together from 2,000 to 6,000 participants from 57 countries. It is even expected that Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko will participate as honourary guests of these potentially major competitions of the Global East. Meanwhile, in Kazan, the management of the Games and the city hall told local and foreign journalists about the readiness of the site and the capital of Tatarstan for such a large and unusual event.

“We are a new sports product”

The Games of the Future started in Kazan on 19 February — the main (at least until we saw the BRICS Games) sports event of the Eastern Hemisphere of the Earth today. Kazan becomes the digital capital for two weeks. The entirely new type of competition will be attended by 294 international teams and more than 2,000 (according to the Mayor of Kazan — 6,000) participants from 57 countries around the world.

Questions from journalists at the opening press conference of the event were heard in different languages. As well as the answers to them. A colleague from Tanzania, for example, asked if it was possible to hold the Games in Africa in the future in order to involve it in the international sports movement. It should be noted that this is the only continent that has never hosted the Olympics.

“This is not just a competition, but a new type of sports product. Sometimes they call us the Olympic Games. And this is wrong," Igor Stolyarov, the head of the Games of the Future project, replied to him. “We are a new sports product. We are very interested in expanding cooperation with other countries and have already held talks with Singapore, Tanzania, Botswana and Kenya. We need to work deeper and wider.

A Serbian journalist asked if the organisers had thought to postpone the dates of the games due to the geopolitical situation. Stolyarov told him a story from his biography about this. In 2007, he took part in a meeting of the Olympic Committee, at which the principle was voiced — never postpone deadlines.

The question was asked by a journalist from Cuba — in Spanish. And Russian journalists were interested in Kazan's readiness to host competitions and welcome a stream of guests. There was even a question about the establishment of the Kazan Games. But the mayor of Kazan, Ilsur Metshin, passed this pass on, noting that first it is necessary to hold these Games with dignity, and only then think about others.

The commercial sector of Kazan is ready. Are the city services ready?

According to Metshin, 33 hotels will operate in the city during the events, 2,640 rooms have been allocated, 1,200 rooms in the Universiade Village. He also mentioned that more than 300 cafes and restaurants will be open during the Games of the Future, and the number of participants, guests and press service staff will be more than 6,000 people. The mayor did not say a word about the work of city services: will snow be removed from the streets, and if so, how? What about garbage collection? Stray dogs? And so on...

“The new digital page of world sports will appeal to you," inspired Metshin spoke primarily to foreign journalists, praising Kazan.

Stolyarov, in his turn, noted the great interest in the Games of the Future among viewers of online broadcasts, citing as an example the staggering, without exaggeration, viewing figures from China. Allegedly, 7 million (?!) people watched Dota 2 group qualifying matches online on one of the streaming sites there.

If this is not the speaker's mistake, then the figure is amazing. The viewing statistics for the 2023 World Championship LoL group stage peaked at 1.95 million people. A similar figure according to the results of The International 2023 Dota 2 is 1.4 million during the grand final between Team Spirit and Gaimin Gladiators.

According to Stolyarov, broadcasts of the competitions have already been deployed in thirty countries and in the coming days the number of countries is going to reach one hundred.

“The games were originally aimed at trends, at young people”

According to Vladislav Ershov, sports director of the Games of the Future project, no one has tried such setups and technical innovations yet. As an example, he cited a basketball court, where a special LD floor is presented to the attention of the audience, as well as an arena coming out of the ceiling in MMA competitions. All this, according to Ershov, is the know-how of the first Games of the Future — previously such competitions have not been shown anywhere in the world.

Realnoe Vremya managed to learn more about the technical aspects of some of the venues of the digital competitions. As Vladislav Ershov answered the correspondent's question, the most difficult objects for technical modifications and arrangement were the Martial Arts Palace, Laser Tag at the Kazan Tennis Academy, Battle of Robots at the Kazan Circus.

“The robots had to be isolated for the safety of the audience, there is a special glass, so the field of play was raised from the field — a special podium. Yes, we are losing the ranks of the audience a little, but it will be more intimate, and the audience will sit very close and see the robot battles. The games were originally aimed at trends, at young people," Ershov emphasised.

Alexander Starshinov

Подписывайтесь на телеграм-канал, группу «ВКонтакте» и страницу в «Одноклассниках» «Реального времени». Ежедневные видео на Rutube, «Дзене» и Youtube.