The United States Armed Forces are wasting no time associating themselves with esports in a bid to influence and recruit youngsters. Following their Naval counterparts, the U.S. Air Force has also signed a multi-faceted deal with ESL, as they become an official partner of the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) NA 2020 event series, ESL Pro League Season 11, and AnyKey.
The U.S. Air Force will be hosting on-site activations while also sponsoring a broadcast segment called ‘Air Force Tactical Timeout’ which will be aired whenever a team calls a timeout between matches. The following features will be starting out with ESL Pro League Season 11 which is all set to start from 16th March.
As a part of the ‘Change Program,’ the U.S. Air Force will also be working with AnyKey to give recognition to a member of the gaming community that has done something to raise awareness on issues related to diversity and inclusion.
Paul Brewer - SVP Brand Partnerships, ESL said that
“We’re honored to welcome the U.S. Air Force as our first Official U.S. Armed Forces partner for ESL tournaments and leagues. We continue to partner with organizations who share ESL's values and, as a supporter of AnyKey, we are especially excited to work with the U.S. Air Force to fight toxicity in gaming and to drive awareness of diversity and inclusion in esports."
This is not the first time that the U.S. Airforce is stepping into esports as they have earlier worked with the likes of ELEAGUE and Cloud9, while also sponsoring the Call of Duty League alongside the U.S. Army.
Maj. Ross McKnight, Chief, Air Force National Events Branch at Air Force Recruiting Service said that
“The Air Force is excited to partner with ESL. This partnership provides the perfect platform to generate public awareness about the Air Force and the many opportunities we have to serve. This partnership showcases the similarities such as teamwork, technology and respect. It can show how young Americans can turn their hobbies and interests in gaming into an Air Force career.”