AUSTRALIAN esports is set to explode as the UK’s Gfinity Elite League comes Down Under, with a cricket manager leading the way.
The league will hit Australian shores in early 2018, bringing a $450,000 prize pool spread over two seasons.
In partnership with Australian media organisation HT&E, the league will feature Rocket League, Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Street Fighter V and will be run by the general manager of the Sydney Sixers cricket team, Dominic Remond.
Remond recently accepted the position as CEO of Australia’s Gfinty league, which will commence in February.
The league will first feature the Challenger Series, beginning on January 7, where amateurs have the chance to be drafted into pro teams.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for players to come from amateur status to professional, and if you think about it there’s no other sport that really does that,” Dominic told Redbull.
“If you look at rugby, or AFL or cricket unless you’re identified as part of academy programs by the time you’re 12 to 14 the chances of you being a professional are very slim.
“That’s what’s totally unique esports, and our challenger series and draft lends itself to that.
“The other big one for me is that it should be totally gender neutral, there’s no reason why men and women shouldn’t be able to compete at the same level and that’s a really interesting thing to support.”
Australian gamers can enter the league to win a share of $15,000 in monthly prizes between now and February.
“It’s that grassroots support network that you’ve typically seen in sports, but not yet seen in esports,” Gfinity’s COO, Sam Harris said.
“It provides that direct pathway from amateur to professional.
“The amateurs go online and play on that challenger platform, then at the end of the challenger series a top selection of players will go into the Draft.
“And from there professional teams will select new players from the Draft.”
Gfinity also features the Elite League, which will run over two seasons. While it’s not clear if it will appear on TV, the tournament will be streamed live on Facebook, Twitch and YouTube.
While the League will feature pro teams from six different states battling it out to be number one, it will first take place in the one city.
“You should think about it like the Big Bash, where people come in and they represent a city but they might not necessarily live there all year,” Harris said.
“Players will represent the city, as opposed to living there year-round.
“We’ll have more announcements in the weeks and months to come regarding the arena, but we’re looking at Sydney [for the esports arena’s location] at this stage.”