World ESports Association Announced — New League To Further Professionalize ESports

Today, the World ESports Association, or WESA, was announced. WESA follows the same line as traditional sports associations to bring more player representation, standardized regulations and revenues to teams who participate in eSports. This is the first governing body to be announced for eSports, which are growing into a billion dollar industry by 2018, via figures by VentureBeat, gaining attention from the likes of traditional sports media such as ESPN and advertisers all around the world.

WESA announced the news via a press release, describing its intentions and goals in governing eSports.

“The foundation of the World Esports Association (WESA) has been announced today, as the result of joint efforts between industry-leading professional eSports teams and ESL, the world’s largest eSports company. Based on similar traditional sports associations, WESA is an open and inclusive organization that will further professionalize eSports by introducing elements of player representation, standardized regulations, and revenue sharing for teams. WESA will seek to create predictable schedules for fans, players, organizers and broadcasters, and for the first time bring all stakeholders to the discussion table.”

The ESL, the world’s largest eSports gaming league, and several of eSports’ top competitive teams have come together to create WESA, including Fnatic, Natus Vincere, EnVyUs, Virtus.Pro, G2 Esports, Faze, Mousesports and Ninjas in Pyjamas. WESA will be looking to add more teams and organizations in the future as well.

The organization comes on the heels of major doping and cheating scandals in eSports, most recently Harvard’s disqualification in ESPN’s “Heroes of the Dorm” competition in Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm hero brawler. WESA aims to set regulations, policies and more for the tournaments to abide by, giving greater organization and oversight to what has essentially been the “wild west” of sports competitions. According to a GameSpot report, the rules will seek to cover a whole range of “ethical and practical issues, such as doping tests, table sizes, match fixing and schedule clashes.”

SL One Cologne 2015 - award ceremony - Helena Kristiansson
ESports are on the rise, with many tournaments and livestreams out-drawing even some traditional sports events. According to The Daily Dot, eSports tournaments featuring League of Legends even outdrew the MLB 2013 World Series — and it wasn’t even close. WESA aims to regulate and make eSports more streamlined and professional, which, if done correctly and embraced by the community, can only be to the sport’s benefit.

Currently the ESL Pro League for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is slated to be the first pro tournament governed by the new WESA regulations, but with ESL owning a large majority of the governing body, you can be sure more ESL Pro Leagues will follow suit.

Also, WESA plans to bring in a Player Council, which will be a player-elected council to advocate on behalf of the pro gamers governed by WESA. They will tackle issues such as league policy, rulesets, player transers and more, which WESA says will “empower players where it comes to decision-making in regards to tournaments operated under WESA regulations.” WESA hopes that by bringing players to the table, it helps to give them insight into decisions that directly affect their careers.

IEM Katowice 2015 - trophy - Helena Kristiansson
WESA teams will participate in offline events, which are based on the scheduling and standards which are developed through the eSports Association. Additionally, being a WESA-compliant team does not mean that you cannot participate in any other league, as WESA announced today as well.

WESA’s Player council will work right along with WESA representatives as well as the League’s Commissioner. WESA Interim League Commissioner Pietro Fringuelli has worked as an advisor to some of Europe’s top traditional sports organizations, and the hope is that wealth of experience will help to guide eSports into the future.

The World Esports Association will announce its first Player’s Council soon. To learn more about WESA, check out their website, wesa.gg.

[Images via WESA]