MortaL Pushes for Official Rocket League Events in India
Rocket League may finally be getting some mainstream attention in Indian esports. One of India’s biggest esports personalities, MortaL, recently posted a tweet where he advocated for the start of an official esports presence for Rocket League in India. Rocket League is a vehicular soccer video game developed and published by Psyonix and is described as "soccer, but with rocket-powered cars,". Released in 2015, Rocket League has seen its fair share of ups and downs and has a fairly large ecosystem that is mostly dominated by the North American and European regions. India is no stranger to Rocket League esports and has had some smaller events before, but nothing on a large scale just yet.
Rocket League Esports: The state of the global market
Rocket League has had an established esports ecosystem in western regions like North America and Europe for multiple years now with the Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS) now in its tenth iteration since its establishment in 2016. The 2021 edition of the RLCS saw six teams compete for a total prize pool of $400,00 USD with an average viewership of 100,000-130,000.
The game has a league system similar to many traditional sports like the English Premier League in soccer and the NBA in basketball. The Rocket League Championship Series is Rocket League’s tier 1 league that currently spans four regions; North America, Europe, South America, and Oceania, with the latter two being new additions to the league.
The title attracts a ton of investment from non-traditional esports organizations, with football clubs like Wolverhampton, FC Barcelona, and even PSG, sponsoring and investing in Rocket League teams.
Rocket League in India is still in its nascent stage
India has not been a stranger to Rocket League esports. While not having a region or teams playing at the highest level, there has been a good amount of grassroots tournaments in India. These include APL Indian National (part of Psyonix’s sponsored Nationals series), Rocket League India: Asia Open, Score Esports ‘21 2v2 and 3v3. Unfortunately, the Rocket League market hasn’t yet matured within the country. There is still a major gulf in prize pool of its tournaments within the country, especially compared to esports titles like VALORANT, Free Fire, or even PUBG Mobile/BGMI.
However, things may be beginning to change. Indian teams were part of the open qualifiers for the recently concluded Intel World Open - Asia Mainland Regional. Two out of the top four teams in the open qualifiers were Indian teams, but unfortunately, they did not reach the closed qualifier.
The Road Ahead for Indian Rocket League
The Indian player base, while smaller in comparison to those of other regions, has been bolstered by popular streamers, YouTubers, and esports personalities who have played or streamed the game once or twice for their large followings. Some of these personalities include MortaL and his former PUBG Mobile teammate, VipeR, both of whom have massive fan followings in India, and one of the top Indian gaming Youtubers, Live Insaan, who also put out a couple of videos where he played Rocket League.
While these people don’t regularly play, stream, or make Rocket League content, what they have done is pave the way for the viewers of their content, who are now interested in playing Rocket League, which will not only lead to growth but perhaps bring other content creators to the game and popularize it. This in turn can directly lead to the growth of the game and make Indian esports a significant Rocket League esports market.
MortaL’s call to arms for an official Rocket League esports presence in India is not unfounded and could very well be quite successful with the right focus and nurturing. But it remains to be seen if any major tournament organizers or Psyonix themselves take an interest in this venture.