(Photo Credit: www.ie-sf.com/bbs/board.php?bo_table=iesf_notice&wr_id=133)
Alibaba Sports Group(Alisports) makes another big play in the eSports industry entering into a venture as “Exclusive Global Partners” with the International eSports Federation(IeSF) as of July 26, 2016. Together these 2 groups will be fully supporting the World Electronic Sports Games(WESG), IeSF intends to back all WESG initiatives with it’s members from 47 different nations. Alisports has already invested a total of 150 million USD into the event with 5.5 million USD going to the prize pool for the 2016 year. Currently the WESG hosts 4 major games; Dota2, Hearthstone Heroes of Warcraft, Starcraft 2 Legacy of the Void, and Counter Strike Global Offensive. With qualifiers and tournaments across the globe for each game you can expect to see the best of the best at the WESG World Finals in China this January.
(Photo Credit: en.eikipedia.org)
Even though this is already a huge gain for eSports the 2 companies won’t stop there, both groups have the common goals of having gaming be recognized as a legitimate sport and bringing eSport into the Olympics. This partnership will allow the organizations to do this as IeSF are already an approved counterpart for the eSports discipline by the Olympic council of Asia(OCA), have already received a letter from the International Olympic Committee(IOC), and are preparing documents for review by August 31th, 2016, IeSF should hear back from the IOC by December of this year.
Alisports also isn’t satisfied with merely funding the WESG, they want to make China the new Mecca of esports, with plans to build eSports arenas all over China and accelerate the growth of Chinese and global esports. They’re looking to not only push eSports to the mainstream in China, but make it a way of life. With Alisports being a subsidiary of one of the largest online and mobile e-commerce companies in the world the financial backing is certainly there, and with a smart partnership with IeSF, pushing projects like WESG and applications to the Olympics, they are poised to become a global powerhouse in the eSports industry.
What does this mean for eSports in and around China? With an already large eSports following China will gain more infrastructure for it’s already existing teams and fans. Gaming in China has already taken off causing pro-player’s to become idolised much in the same way Starcraft pros are in Korea, making the Chinese scene a perfect place for potential sponsors and investors. With so much growth and the WESG World Finals on the horizon in China you can expect to see a lot more teams rise up out of the Asia region.
Written by- Tyler Deleeuw
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