Telkom, one of South Africa’s largest companies, has released the news that it will be funding the newly created DGL, or Digital Gaming League, in the country with a prize of R1-million, as well as technical support for eSports. The move comes as a surprise for many who may not have known how seriously the pastime is taken in the country. According to sources who attended a press launch, Paul Chaloner, an international eSports MC and celebrity, going by the nickname ReDeYe, has partnered with executives at the company who will be helping to really kickstart national interest in eSports.
The country’s elite players will even have the opportunity to be accepted into a master programme which will help them build their skills, with the goal of becoming international players, and Telkom has stated that it will support this programme technically through server and connectivity support, in order to ensure its success. The programme will include eight main clans, or teams, that will be grouped to upskill themselves in the major games. The team names have been released as follows: [email protected]; White Rabbit Gaming; Veneration eSports; In-Finity Gaming; Damage Control; CarboN eSports; Bravado Gaming; and Aperture Gaming.
Promotions supporting the formations of these teams are due to begin this year in April and regulated matches will be held too. The finals of the current league within the country’s borders are due to be held at the rAge expo, a yearly event in the country, in October 2016, and though there has not been any information released about the country’s team’s international prospects, many are pleased and predict this will see a rise in the country’s profile.
Problems within South Africa have long been a matter of public interest and with difficulties in maintaining the electricity supply, problems in connectivity and more, the country is currently receiving a lot of negative publicity in the global media. Of course, the establishment of eSports is unlikely to solve all of the country’s problems, but many are foreseeing the potential a move like this could have. Not only could the heavy investment in eSports have a positive impact on the country’s tourism, which is vital for its economy, but it could assist with education and the alleviation of poverty. In the long run, children who are allowed to participate in eSports could find themselves in the enviable position of having more access to quality education, global funding and more, something that is not currently within their reach.
However, there are cynics who believe that Telkom, with all of its problems, may not be able to keep up this level of support. While the move is a positive one for the company, many say that Telkom cannot afford to pay its employees, much less contribute to the establishment of eSports in the country. With corruption and fraud allegedly running rife within the company, many people are concerned that this move is just a publicity stunt, and not a real investment into the future of the country.