Mainstream media and sporting events now feature more esports. Since 2015, ESPN has covered League of Legends, Overwatch, and even Hearthstone. Furthermore, esports have their own ESPN portal that follows everything from major tournaments to team roster changes. Esports continues to grow both in popularity and in mainstream coverage. Now the South East Asian Games confirmed that they will bring in eSports as a medaled event during the SEA Games in 2019.
The Foreign Affairs Secretary and the Philippines South East Asian Games Organizing Committee (PhilSGOC) Chairman Emeritus Alan Peter Cayetano announced the news in a press conference held in Pasay City.
"We are very thrilled, excited, and honored to have esports in the SEA Games with Razer as a partner," Cayetano said, "Gamers are an important part of our community."PhilSGOC and the Philippine Olympic committee partnered with the gaming hardware company Razer to bring esports to the event.
"This will help bring aspiring esports athletes in Southeast Asia to the global stage," comments Razer Chief Strategy Officer, Limeng Lee.
The Asian Electronic Sports Federation, a summit of 18 representatives of nations who are members of the South Korea based Internation Electronic Sports Federation, will be accrediting esports included in the SEA Games.
SEA Games is rewarding six esports medals for three platforms: two for console games, two for PC games, and two for mobile games. For that reason, there will be qualifying tournaments leading up to the main event.
So far, the committee confirmed one game for the SEA Games. The mobile MOBA, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang will be making an appearance for a gold medal. Mobile Legends: Bang Bang is a classic MOBA that particularly takes after League of Legends and features two teams of five fight to enter and destroy the enemies base by controlling the three lanes connecting the two bases. Each player controls a hero avatar that is used to fight and kill other hero avatars to take control of the map. Mobile Legends: Bang Bang also features a battle royale game mode and was the first MOBA to release this type of game mode.
The committee expects to finalize other titles by December 15.
According to Cayetano, TV5 is going through the process to gain the broadcasting rights for the SEA Games.
TV5 supported esports going as far back as broadcasting the League of Legends World Championships in 2015. TV5 President and CEO Vincent "Chot" Reyes said that the network will continue to extend to esports.