An agreement has been signed between the Emirates Esports Federation and ITW Global to launch a novel venture known as the EGL (E-Gaming League). The UAE will be the venue for this international Esports League, earmarked to take place in April 2024.
This new and exciting league boasts a substantial prize pool and presents a golden opportunity for Indian gamers to showcase their prowess on a worldwide stage.
With plans to feature multiple titles, the EGL will comprise six franchises acting as team owners, competing across various games, such as DOTA and PUBG amongst others. The franchises will select their line-up of players via a draft system, making it one of the pioneering leagues to implement such a franchise and draft structure.
This initiative aims to establish an Esports league that follows profitable models observed in traditional sporting leagues.
The federation’s President, Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Bin Shakbout Al Nahyan, remarked, “The Emirates Esports Federation, under the National Sports Council, is committed to supporting the steady growth of Esports in UAE, in a just and regulated manner. We anticipate the EGL reshaping the Esports industry and taking it a step closer to our objective of forging a common ground for publishers, players, organizers & brands. This will significantly contribute to the future of Esports in our region.
“Asia, particularly India, is currently witnessing a surge in Esports. Our league will offer a significant platform for these gifted athletes to stand shoulder to shoulder with the finest Esports talent. We eagerly anticipate the potential of this league and are committed to organizing an event that will significantly help grow Esports.”
The mix of competitors will include both seasoned international participants and emerging athletes from regions such as the USA, Europe, South-East Asia, the Middle East, China, and the UAE. The rigorous selection process to identify fresh talent is scheduled to take place via qualifying rounds in February and March 2024.
After the initial rounds, top existing amateur players and potential rising stars will be drafted into the respective franchises via player auctions or draft picks.
Nayeem Khan from the Sports Marketing & Sponsorship, ITW, commented, “Having been in the sports business for the past 15 years, we at ITW have developed an understanding of the market future trends, and have always been enthusiastic about the potential of Esports. We’re thrilled to be collaborating with the Emirates Esports Federation on EGL, an initiative that we believe will resonate with fans and players alike. Our excitement extends to the launch of EGL India, planned for October 2024, which will be based on the same principles.”
According to a report by Niko Partners, it is projected that India will have a total gaming population of 444 million in 2023 (a YoY increase of 12.1%) and 641.2 million by 2027 (with a 5-year compound annual growth rate of 10.1%).
Capitalising on the burgeoning popularity of Esports in India, EGL plans to integrate successful and profitable sports models, like the franchising system used in the Indian Premier League (IPL), into the Esports arena.
The inaugural EGL is slated to kick-off in April 2024, but build-up activities will commence in February of that year in the UAE, creating a buzz in anticipation of the event.