SINGAPORE: Efforts to bring electronic sports to the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games 2019 in the Philippines got a shot in the arm as gaming peripherals maker Razer announced on Wednesday (Nov 28) it has signed on to be the tournament’s official partner.
In a press release on Wednesday (Nov 28), the gaming peripherals maker said its CEO Tan Min-Liang had been championing the inclusion of e-sports in the regional games for the past year and led a delegation to meet with the Philippine SEA Games Organising Committee (PhiSGOC) and the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) on “multiple occasions” to make it a reality.
Mr Tan had last week posted on Facebook his meeting with chairman emeritus of PhiSGOC Alan Peter Cayetano, and said the sole purpose is to get e-sports included as a sport at the next SEA Games where medals are up for grabs.
He added in the press release: “The sportsmanship and fighting spirit seen in e-sports is no less than that of other sports, and we’ve fought hard for its inclusion in an international sporting event like the SEA Games 2019.”
It is still not certain if e-sports will make the roster for next year, given that it is one of five sports yet to submit their application by the deadline of Dec 7 this year. The PhiSGOC had last week proposed to hold a record 56 games during the biennial Games slated to be held from Nov 30, including e-sports, according to reports.
Razer’s global e-sports director David Tse confirmed this with Channel NewsAsia, saying in an email that for the event to fully proceed, the Asian Electronic Sports Federation (AESF) will have to submit its application by the stated deadline.
That said, Mr Tse added: “All organisations involved are confident of a positive outcome for the application. As the official e-sports partner, Razer is working concurrently to cement partnerships and engage game publishers for SEA Games 2019.”
The Games organiser and Razer on Wednesday announced it signed on the first game partner – Moonton – and the director revealed the first confirmed title is Mobile Legends: Bang Bang should next year’s tournament take place.
The Singapore-headquartered company added in the press release it will be supporting the final crop of Team Philippines e-sports athletes representing the host country, and this will be through things like product sponsorship and providing resources to enhance their performance. More details will be shared later, Mr Tse added.
He also said it is not confirmed how many of the ASEAN member states will be sending teams, though Razer is “working actively” with respective national sports associations to firm up the list.
It declined to share how much it is investing in the Games as official e-sports partner.
“We are confident that e-sports will be a very popular event in the Games, and its status as a medal event will undoubtedly be of interest to all countries,” Mr Tse said.
E-sports has had a breakthrough 2018, having featured in the Jakarta Asian Games albeit as a demonstration sport in the lead-up to its full debut as a medal event at the 2022 edition.