Vlad Marinescu

The 14th International Esports Federation (IESF) World Esports Championships Finals officially wrapped up last month and became our flagship event’s largest and most diverse edition. 

The world esports family came together for ten days of thrilling competition, empowering programming, a spectacular medal ceremony and more.

As the President of IESF, I felt incredibly grateful and proud to watch athletes from a record 105 countries compete and celebrate together in Bali. The 2022 World Esports Championships showed me how far we’ve come and how much more we can achieve!

Our mission as IESF is to support, unite and empower the whole esports ecosystem, and the World Esports Championships are a clear reflection of our journey so far. We serve as the uniting body for World Esports. 

We support our 130 National Federations and all international esports stakeholders with the tools and resources to develop and promote sustainable and responsible gaming worldwide.

As the sole international esports competition where athletes compete representing their nation and flag, the World Esports Championships has the unique ability to foster national pride and values while connecting people from all corners of the world for a shared passion for esports.

In 2022, we once again showcased the ability of esports to go beyond borders and promote friendship, solidarity and unity. 

Together in Bali, we united the world esports family, broke barriers and made significant progress in creating additional opportunities for women in esports.

Our first-ever female CS:GO Tournament crowned the world-leading esports club Natus Vincere of Poland as champion. Promoting women in esports remains a top priority for IESF.

We formed partnerships with several organisations, including the GirlGamer Esports Festival and Women in Games, who share our same values and are helping us reach our goal of an inclusive esports world. 

A medal ceremony during the 2022 IESF World Esports Championships Finals in Bali ©IESF
A medal ceremony during the 2022 IESF World Esports Championships Finals in Bali ©IESF

The world esports audience is growing, and we are fuelling it with engaging content and messages. The 2022 World Esports Championships featured 492 hours of action-packed competition. 

We surpassed several million views from a record-breaking 497 matches and are anticipating statistics and valuations from Nielsen. We reached more than three million views on our TikTok channel and 185.4 million impressions across all other IESF social media platforms.

The Land of the Gods and the beautiful beaches of Bali served as the perfect setting for our historic event. The success of the World Esports Championships was only possible with our incredible host city partners in Bali.

They were exceptional hosts and competed fiercely to win three of the seven featured game titles, bringing crowds of enthusiastic fans to every competition. 

Every participant, including athletes, coaches, officials, fans, and more, shared IESF's values of respect, unity, and friendship. It was an honour to crown Indonesia as the world esports champion.

We have several exciting initiatives planned for 2023 that will leave a mark on the history of esports. This year, the World Esports Championships are going to Europe, to Romania’s historical capital Iași.

We look forward to working closely with the dynamic city of Iași and continuing to grow and expand the World Esports Championships with more than 800 players.

My goal as President of IESF is not just to engage athletes in esports but to educate them on how to play responsibly and develop strong leadership and teamwork skills. IESF continuously partners with organisations and institutions from the educational sector to help esports athletes develop professional skills. 

Therefore, the World Esports Championships feature many academic and social workshops that empower our athletes to be their best versions and experience valuable life learnings.

We partnered with FitGMR to provide participants in Bali with a variety of physical and mental training programmes every morning - from yoga to running to meditation. 

The first IESF World Esports Championships Finals to involve a women's tournament saw Poland claim the CS:GO crown ©IESF
The first IESF World Esports Championships Finals to involve a women's tournament saw Poland claim the CS:GO crown ©IESF

As an athlete, since the first moments I can remember, I attribute so much of my personal developments and achievements to the fighting spirit, and for this reason, it's very close to my heart to ensure that all gamers on the planet are strong - physically, mentally and socially!

In 2022, we also held the annual World Esports Summit. We welcomed influential leaders and stakeholders from the esports ecosystem to join us in Busan, Korea, for two days of panels and discussions on the past, present, and future of esports. Events like the World Esports Summit help us establish good governance practices and discuss the best ways to serve our National Federations.

We were honoured to have International Olympic Committee head of virtual sports Vincent Pereira speak at the 2022 World Esports Summit about the synergies between traditional sports and esports and the future of esports in the Olympics and Paralympics. 

The only way for esports to receive international recognition and be embraced within the Olympic Movement is through total unity. This means unity at the national level, continental level and international level. Together with our shared values, esports can introduce a new generation of youth to the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

IESF has been uniting and embracing all other international bodies that deal with esports, the majority of which are represented on the IESF Board, such as the World Esports Consortium. We are very grateful to leaders such as H.R.H. Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud for working diligently to build consensus between IESF and other esports organisations. 

We've seen significant progress for esports in the Olympic Movement and within international sports, such as the Olympic Virtual Series, now the Olympic Esports Week, which is set to take place in Singapore later this year. We have expressed our readiness to support this activity fully with our network of National Federations and holistic community of gamers.

The world esports family has entrusted me to lead IESF for another three years. I am extremely thankful for their trust and look forward to continuing to use my fighting spirit to keep growing and uniting the world esports family. 

My gloves are on, wrapped tight, and the bell has been rung.

In closing, together with the IESF Board, our 130 National Federations, and our athletes, we are responsible for protecting and advancing the interests of the world esports family. We are working to ensure a prosperous future for esports and the recognition of esport as a true sport. 

Together, we will support the athletes and promote the total unity of our esports ecosystem! World Esports is a tribe with cultural values, and the World Esports Tribe will make history again in 2023!