Vipnet and ESL Partner to Launch Adria League
The video game industry is one of the fastest-growing industries, worth over $108 billion, more than the film industry. The Esports industry is still in its infancy, but it’s poised to hit the $1 billion mark soon.
The popularity of Esports has grown all over the globe. Aside from the most forerunners in the Esports world, South Korea, the United States and the Western Europe, the potential of Esports has been recognized even in Southeastern Europe; more precisely, in Croatia.
This Thursday The Croatian telecom company Vipnet and the German Esports giant ESL held a press conference where they announced the signing of a multi-year strategic partnership contract. The contract entails the development of digital infrastructure in Croatia and the introduction of new OTT solutions to the Croatian market.
The most important announcement by the Vipnet CEO Jiří Dvorjančanský, however, is the launch of the new Esports league called the Vip Adria League Powered by ESL, of which Vipnet is the exclusive partner. The league is regional and it will consist of player from Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia and Albania.
The best players from the region will pit their wits against each other in two popular titles: CS:GO and League of Legends, with a side FIFA 17 tournament. The league will culminate in grand finals that will take place at the Reboot gaming conference in Zagreb on November 25 and 26. The Vip Adria League will feature a prize pool of over EUR 20 thousand.
The league will feature the format found in other ESL leagues, consisting of qualifiers, a group stage and grand finals. The first group stage matches are set for July. Four teams will be invited by the organizers, while the other four qualifying spots are up for grabs for the best teams form the qualification stage.
Both parties stressed the increased popularity of Esports has opened new avenues of entertainment and communications. They also stated that the league will be accompanied by the development of a new Esports channel for Vipnet and its subsidiary platforms, B.Net and Vip NOW, with planned expansion to all countries where Telekom Autria operates. The Esports TV channel will feature live streams and other shows, with over 1000 hours of gaming broadcast per year.
“I’m proud to say that this partnership between Vip and ESL, the leading Esports company in the world, will have a marked impact on the regional gaming scene and help us establish and develop Esports in this region”, stated Dvorjančanský and concluded that “it’s Vipnet’s goal to develop a gigabit society in Croatia, and utilize our knowledge for the development of a new industry with huge potential for development. We wish to create an ecosystem along with our partners that will offer new development possibilities and opportunities that will benefit the economy as a whole”.
This development has been touted by Nikola Francetić, the Content Director of Telekom Austria, as a “new era for the telecom providers”, since for the first time the telecom won’t only distribute, but also create content.
The ESL CEO Ralf Reichert claimed that the goal is to bring Esports to the local community and “give local players a stage to show their skills”. It will create local content, while at the same time creating a global awareness of Esports.
The gaming industry in Croatia is worth $48.2 million, with real figures likely much bigger. It is the highest-growing IT industry segment in Croatia, with over 50 % employee growth. More than 99 % of services are exported.
Vipnet is one of the oldest Croatian telecommunications provider, and the company has invested a lot of effort in modern infrastructure and contemporary Internet solutions. It is currently owned by Telekom Austria Group.
The ESL was founded with the aim to create a global brand and popularize video game competitions. Currently it is a global company employing 500 people in 12 offices all around the world.