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ESL Premiership ushers in record prize money for E-sports in India

Renowned E-sports organisation Electronic Sports League will now offer Indian gamers a chance to win $ 64,000.

News 06 May 2016, 20:42 IST
India will now witness the renowned ESL production experience

The world’s largest e-sports company, Electronic Sports League (ESL) recently announced their foray into India with a $ 64,000 prize pool. Titled “ESL Premiership,” the league aims to give professional gamers a consistent source of income and exposure.

The games selected for the annual extravaganza are Counter Strike Global Offensive (CSGO), DOTA 2 and Hearthstone. Online tournaments will constitute a major chunk of the league structure, whilst simultaneous online qualifiers will determine “Masters” and “Challengers” for the offline event.

Akshat Rathee, Director and CEO of NODWIN Gaming, expressed, “Esports athletes are treated as celebrities worldwide and they earn millions of dollars every year by opting to embrace electronic sports as a career. This is unfortunately not yet the case in India. – But we hope to change this. The ESL India Premiership is the next big esports revolution in our country.”

A total of two challengers will provide Rs 17 lakhs in prize money each, with a season ending Rs 20 lakhs for the Masters. The sum amounts to Rs 4.2 million, an unheard prize pool within the Indian E-sports landscape.

Head of Financial Operations of Nodwin Gaming, Gautam Virk told Sportskeeda, “Our main aim is to start from level 1, this is the level which India needs right now. Once we set the base, then will the real action kick off. The ESL quality, structure and consistency will boost the local esports scene, as professionals will be playing through-out the year.”

Gautam added, “We are majorly looking at Counter Strike and Dota to get a bulk of our engagement. We wanted it to enter mobile sphere as well, hence we chose Hearthstone, if it is not a hit with the crowd, we will look to change it. The mobile platform has to deal with higher community engagement.”

International teams are also expected in the final offline tournament with one slot designated for a direct invite. Gautam said, “We will be getting two top Asian teams for the event, for the Masters. This will be an attempt to expose Indian teams to experienced outfits from Asia.”

Ankit Panth, Captain of Team Brutality, a professional CSGO outfit was ecstatic about the new venture. He said, “Finally the mother of all esports is here. We hope a solid foundation for competitive esports will be laid in India and there'll be an elevation in the Country's esports scene.”

The tournament will run till December, an annual concept which is relatively new to India. With an Indian Gaming League announced earlier and organisation like Sostronk already building a viable ecosystem, the e-sports revolution might have finally just arrived.

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