InGame Entertainment in association with the Sri Lanka Esports Association (SLESA) will be hosting the first ever INGAME Esports South Asia Cup in December this year. SLESA is working with the national Esports federations of India, Pakistan and Maldives to select the best team to represent their country in the game League of Legends. The selected teams will be flown to Sri Lanka for the event happening on the 7th, 8th and 9th December at SLECC.
The teams will be competing for a prize-pool of USD 5,000, one of the largest in the region, which will be awarded to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners of the event. The event is set to be the catalyst for organised Esports in South Asia and is expected to have viewership from Esports enthusiasts from across South Asian countries. InGame Entertainment and the Sri Lanka Esports Association are working together to position Sri Lanka as the hub for South Asian Esports – a sport that will soon eclipse the traditional and position itself as one of the most popular sports in the world.
Electronic Sports, better known as “Esports” is the competitive play of video games. The videogames industry has been a juggernaut in the media landscape for decades now, with video game revenue reaching over $100bn in 2017. Esports is a subset of that industry, where video games are played competitively by individuals and organisations and watched by millions around the world. Much like a traditional sport such as Cricket, it is structured around teams and competitive tournaments governed by national and international bodies enforcing rules and regulations. Esports is also increasingly being included in traditional sporting events like the Asian Games; a team from Sri Lanka attended the 18th Asian Games in August this year to represent the country in Esports. The International Olympic Committee is currently discussing the inclusion of Esports in the 2024 Paris Olympic Gamesl.
The viewership and revenue
The massive growth that Esports is enjoying today is due to a fast growing millennial viewerbase. According to Esports analyst firm Newzoo, Esports had an audience of 222 million viewers globally in 2018 – this is on par with sports like Golf today. It is expected to increase to 316 million by 2021. Viewership is fueled by massive prize-pools for tournaments – the largest being a $25 million prize purse awarded at the 2018 Dota 2 International held in Vancouver this year. With this many viewers for the sport, brands are moving towards Esports to associate their brand with Esports teams and events. Sponsors and advertisers are enjoying above average engagement levels from Esports viewers, as the primary form of consumption of coverage is through online streaming on channels like Twitch, YouTube and Facebook. The latest entrant to the Esports advertising landscape is Nike with their “Dribble & Carry” campaign. Nike signed on League of Legends player Jian Zihao, where the word “Carry” means a skilled player carrying his team to victory.
The Esports scene in Sri Lanka has also seen tremendous growth over the past few years, with organisations like InGame Entertainment hosting large-scale digital entertainment and Esports competitions annually and running active social communities through Gamer.LK. Esports in Sri Lanka is governed by the Sri Lanka Esports Association, consisting of 10 competitive Esports clans and organisations working together. Sri Lanka’s largest Esports Championship, the Sri Lanka Cyber Games held within Play Expo, receives over 3,000 participant registrations and has foot traffic of 25,000 over the 3 day event. Brands like Dialog, SLT, Mobitel, Red Bull and MAS have already gotten involved heavily in the local Esports scene by organising and sponsoring events.
For more information on Esports and the IGE South Asia Cup, visit www.gamer.lk