The sentiment behind saying something we love is ‘going corporate’ may seem negative, but we’re pretty convinced the formation of corporate leagues for our favourite games is going to be a great thing for local esports.
Corporate sport leagues are a thriving industry across the globe and offer plenty of benefits for companies that enter teams, such as boosts to teamwork, ability for staff to handle pressure situations and trust co-workers in those situations, morale, social cohesion between staff, stress relief and creating a greater sense of loyalty to the company as a whole.
There are even peripheral benefits like it potentially creating recruiting assets through pictures of staff having a great time together and even the simple PR effect of having your company name listed in the standings.
However, there is one significant drawback: Outdoor sport isn’t for everyone. Not everyone is going to feel skillful enough to have the confidence to compete in a five-a-side football league, or fast enough to play in a touch rugby league or have the patience to smile through an entire golf day.
The benefits of corporate leagues are so clear, though, that companies have started looking into less ‘athletic’ options like trampoline dodgeball and, now, even esports, As we found out when Eddie McKenzie, the owner and manager at RE ACCE Esports, contacted us to let us know about the SA Corporate CS:GO League.
“The original idea came from my good friend Johan Bezuidenhout (of Leetpro fame) last year. Leetpro hosted a Lowveld Corporate League for businesses in the Nelspruit and surrounding areas. I entered my accounting firm, RE Accounting and Services (Pty) Ltd and we lost in the final against Leetpro’s office team. This whole league meant so much for my workers and they all felt this was a great team building exercise.
Most of my gaming friends are employees of some business during the day and game at night (GLHF: Us too.), and I noticed that a lot of them had colleagues who also played CS:GO. So we came up with the idea to host the SA Corporate League for all businesses all over South-Africa in an online tournament.”
This idea is amazing in its own right (GLHF: Imagine how much more palatable it’d be working late on a Monday if you had the chance to destroy, let’s say picking any company at random, Telkom’s employees in a CS:GO match later that evening), but there is another element that could have a big impact on the local gaming scene.
“This is a way to get local businesses and the corporate world involved in esports in South Africa and getting more sponsors involved to help out our local players and teams.
The idea for this corporate league is to make the citizens of South Africa more aware of esports and change the way people think of gaming.”
Exposure, money and more gamers. The holy trinity of growing the local scene. Plus things like ladder anxiety and toxic teammates are very real things online (GLHF: We’re talking from experience here.) and this could be an effective way to expose people to the competitive side of gaming without the usual stresses of online gaming.
“Leagues like this and similar ones (like the events Mettlestate host) are so needed for our esports community. It gives players the opportunity to test their skills against other players and help them develop into better esports athletes.
As South Africa is still a conservative country where most of the older generation (GLHF: Read also, corporate leaders.) still see gaming as a doomed activity. I feel these tournaments bring more awareness to people and show them what esports really are.
We also arranged a great gaming caster, in the form of Renier ‘SabreFox’ van Rooyen, to live broadcast selected matches each week. SabreFox is known for his Battlefield casting and he knows CS:GO very well, with a big following on his social media channels.
Giving people the opportunity to spectate their spouse, siblings or family members play in such an event (GLHF: Although we’re not sure how well it’d go down if you tell your spouse you’re working late and then they see you playing games live on stream.), with a commentator boasting about the awesome clutch he or she just saw from them, will break the bad way of thinking about gaming and hopefully show the SA community that esports is a sport like all other.”
Interestingly, there is even prize money on the line. With Eddie’s company covering the costs of hosting the event, all of the R500 entry fee per team is going into the prize pool.
Obviously this then raises concerns of companies signing up ringers to help them win the tournament, but that has been thought of and catered for.
“There were concerns about getting teams who would enter top tier players from leaving everyone else with no chance, but that is why we created the rule that at least three players in each match must be employed by the company/business who entered.”
While the concept is still in its infancy (GLHF: Registrations for the first tournament close on 14 September, so if you’re intrigued go sign up!) there are serious plans to grow and expand if the idea catches on. Eddie spoke to us enthusiastically of his dreams for including other titles apart from CS:GO and potentially hosting an offline LAN final.
The best part about gaming, though, is that it doesn’t need to happen offline so, unlike traditional team building exercises, companies will be able to involve their offices all over the country in gaming leagues without the need for expensive flights, hotels and potentially awkward drunken interactions.
We’re excited about the concept of corporate gaming leagues (GLHF: If you couldn’t tell.). We have been involved in numerous 5-a-side football and corporate touch rugby teams and it really can be special spending time with colleagues in that kind of competitive, but still fun, environment. The idea of expanding that to include esports titles is awesome.
To find out more about the event and to enter a team, visit their website by clicking here.