Playing on the big stage
One of the most gratifying moments for an eSports players is finally getting the chance to play on the big stage in front of a sold out arena. DOTA 2’s The International ranks in the upper echelon of those moments.
The International is as much an eSports tournament as it is a celebration of video games. Fans pack the stadium to maximum capacity, most dressed in their favorite costume from their favorite games (also frequently called cosplay).
These tournaments take place at state of the art arenas, with massive monitors hanging above the stages for the entire audience to witness the live action. Shoutcasters and analysts are escalating the hysteria, giving live commentary and play-by-play calls.
On the stage are ten young professional players, fiercely battling it out in hopes of fulfilling lifelong aspirations of reaching the eSports competitive peak – to be crowned The International Champions.
While the stadium is a bustle of chatter and excitement, teams are locked in sound-proof barrier glass rooms on stage. They can see the electric buzz and total elation happening around them, but their main task at hand now is focusing on beating the other five players on the stage.
Sixteen teams from over 14 different countries competed at last year’s International, selling out a 15,000-plus seat KeyArena in Seattle, Washington.
Everything is magnified tenfold. Millions of fans are watching. Millions of dollars are at stake (a total prize pool of $20 million to be exact – the largest prize pool in eSports history). The lights can’t seem to shine any brighter, the stage couldn’t be any more immaculate.
This dream has previously eluded teams from New Zealand – not anymore.
New Zealand attempting to join other powerhouse countries
eSports is an extremely lucrative business, and countries that have consistently succeeded have implemented the proper infrastructure to make this happen. China, South Korea, Serbia, and Switzerland are just a few countries that either fund programs to train young players, fund national teams, or provide financial compensation to professional eSports players.
Here in New Zealand, eSports isn’t fully recognized as an official sport. This means government funding cannot be appropriated for professional players. Enter the New Zealand eSports Federation (NZeSF), promoting local players to become increasingly more involved with the rapid expansion of competitions.
The NZeSF’s push for eSports recognition
The NZeSF is also our sponsor for the New Zealand Gaming Championships (NZGC), including our current national League of Legends tournament that’s being aired here on Letplay.live and Sky Sport 3.
The finals of the NZGC will be broadcast on Sky Sport 3, as well as played in front of a live audience at the Museum of Transport and Technology in Auckland.
The organization is not stopping just there. The name “eBlacks” has been trademarked and next month the NZeSF will back teams from both League of Legends and Hearthstone at the 8th eSports World Tournament, hosted by the IeSF in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The New Zealand players attending have yet to be announced.
This also exciting news for New Zealand, and we can’t wait to help usher in this new era!