Philippines gets yet another boost to their growing esports industry as ESPN5, a Filipino sports channel has announced plans to host a first-ever esports franchise model league in the country. The league will be called The Nationals and aims to discover and create a pool of talented players for representing the country in tournaments that are hosted or conducted in association with SEA Games, Asian Games and the Olympics.
The league will have 6 franchises or teams in their inaugural season and the 6 partners are as follows:
- TNC Pro Team
- HappyFeet Esports
- BrenPro Inc
- Cignal TV Inc
- PLDT/Smart Communications
- STI Education Systems
For now, 3 titles have been decided upon - Dota 2 for PC, Mobile Legends for console and Tekken/NBA2k19 for the console. The console game will be revealed later in September.
A series of tournaments will be held from August 4th onwards across the Philippines to discover and unearth talent for these titles. The dates of the qualifiers for Dota 2 are as follows:
- August 4, 2018 - TNC Morayta
- August 11, 2018 - SM Seaside Cebu
- August 25, 2018 - Cagayan de Oro Cybersquare Café
- September 22, 2018 - TNC Bacolod
- September 29, 2018 - Localhost Café, KBEN Building, MH Del Pilar, Iloilo
- October 13, 2018 - UGZ - 137 Nueno Avenue, Poblacion 1A Imus, Cavite
- Grand Finals: October 27-28, 2018 - ESGS, SMX Convention Center, Pasay City
Eight teams will be selected from the initial rounds and the players from these teams will have a chance to be drafted and sponsored by the franchises. The regional tournaments, as well as the grand finals, will also be aired on television on the ESPN5 channel.
These qualifiers have been dubbed as the Road to the Nationals and will be fundamental in discovering talent at the grassroots level. A total of 1 million pesos is the prize pool across the 3 titles.
“The Road to The Nationals’ Dota 2, Mobile Legends, and console game tournaments are all part of our National Sports Association’s (NSA) thrust to grow esports in the Philippines. The three separate tournaments are Esports National Association of the Philippines tournaments. This is officially the biggest push to elevate Philippine esports,” Joebert Yu, the president of the newly established NSA for esports, ESNAP, said.