Mail.ru Group will launch its own professional e-sports league, the company's press service reported. The league is expected to begin work in the first half of 2018. Its first discipline will be the online shooter Warface, through which Mail.Ru Group will host the Warface Open Cup in 2013.
League Mail.ru Group will start working with partners, sponsors and sites after the approval of the main provisions and contracts. The company is also considering the possibility of attracting foreign teams to participate in tournaments.
In Warface registered more than 48 million users, most of whom live in Russia and CIS countries, specified in the Mail.ru Group. For 2016 and 2017 years. more than 50 tournaments were held, and the number of teams participating in Warface's e-sports activities exceeded 4000, the company said.
According to Ivan Voznyak, the producer of the Internet marketing department of Mail.ru Group, the development experience of Warface showed that "Russian gamers have great potential from amateurs to turn into professional athletes," but cyber sport in Russia is just beginning to develop and many processes are not yet built. He added that the company's initiative is aimed at making such procedures, as the transition to professional e-sports, the development of the team brand and working with contracts, clear and transparent for the players.
Cybersport is an open competition of users of computer games: Counter-Strike, StarCraft, Dota 2, League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, World of Tanks, etc. The phenomenon is relatively new: although the first StarCraft competition took place in the late 1990s ., a large audience of such tournaments began to collect only in recent years. The organizers of sports competitions and players on sponsorship contracts, advertising, sales of broadcasting rights, etc., are earning.
In October 2015, the shareholder of Mail.ru Group, Alisher Usmanov, invested $ 100 million in Virtus.Pro, the organizer of cyber sport tournaments. This is one of the largest deals in the field of e-sports in Russia. In an interview with "Vedomosti" he told that he considered "the promotion of mental activity in the form of a sports contest between the youth as a whole and promising from the point of view of business.
"We have already invested in eSports quite a large amount of the declared capital, and today we have good results, the best teams and media rights on them, international tournaments ..." - he said. The analytical company SuperData predicted that in 2017 the world market of e-sports will reach $ 1 billion.
In Russia, e-sports was recognized as an official sports discipline in the spring of last year, that is, athletes will be able to receive sports ranks and ranks. This will in the future hold championships of the country and other competitions. The analytical company SuperData predicts that the volume of the global e-sports market in 2017 will reach $ 1 billion.