I knew that esports had hit the mainstream when my parents — both in their 60s — asked me what the Overwatch League was. Esports have gone from a niche interest to a worldwide phenomenon. It’s only a matter of time until they surpass traditional sports in terms of viewership.
Back in the days when Starcraft was the most popular esport in the world, nearly all of the top players were from South Korea. With the rise of new titles across multiple genres, that has changed. The player base has diversified, and now players from all over the world are competing for the international title, including many Canadians.
We’re starting to see major changes domestically to the perception and popularity of esports. With proper support for players and the industry, Canada could one day become an esports powerhouse. And thanks to tournaments like the TELUS Esports Series 2, that day could be closer than we think.
The global esports race
While professional esports players are paid a salary, a large portion of their income comes from their winnings at tournaments. By looking at the winnings of players from around the globe, we can get an idea of how each country ranks in the global esports scene.
According to the latest report from gambling.com, the top-earning country in the world is the United States with over $138 million in winnings. China and South Korea came second and third, earning $135 million and $101 million, respectively.
By comparison, Canadians have earned roughly $27 million, placing them eighth globally. Considering Canada’s recent adoption of esports, this is a respectable ranking. But there’s plenty of room to grow.
To create a sustainable future for esports players and healthy gaming habits for Canadian gamers, support from organizations will be essential. We’re on the precipice of becoming a top player in the international rankings, but Canada is also well positioned to become a leader in the space as a voice for accessibility and inclusivity.
TELUS is helping lead the charge for the future of esports in Canada. They’re giving gamers of all skill levels the opportunity to take part in tournaments. Whether you’re a competitive gamer looking to challenge the best players in the country, or a casual player just looking to have fun playing a game that you love, TELUS is making esports accessible for everyone.
The future of esports in Canada
With the esports industry projected to grow more than 10 percent over the next two years, now’s the time for Canadians to get involved in esports.
Canada is well known for its grassroots approach to sports. You just need to take one look at hockey to see why. The country is an incubator for hockey talent, and youth leagues ladder up into competitive leagues where the top players are scouted to become professionals. It’s why we’re often the top-ranked team at international tournaments.
The same approach can be applied to esports. Just as there are divisions for varying skill levels in hockey, the TELUS Esports Series allows players of varying comfort and skill levels to take part. It’s a perfect way to foster talent while breaking down barriers that have kept players from taking part in esports previously.
Canada is home to a disproportionate number of high-profile esports personalities. Three of the most well-known professional esports players in the world hail from the Great White North: Shroud, xQc, and TenZ. While two of those players are retired, they’ve gone on to become some of the biggest streamers in the world, with followings in the millions across YouTube and Twitch. Their popularity has led to many young players getting involved in the competitive gaming scene.
By opening up esports to more players—both in terms of interest and skill level—new talent will be discovered, and the viewership will continue to grow. And that’s where the industry needs to move. Grassroots gaming.
Esports without barriers
To foster talent, you need more than the occasional superstar. You need to move gaming from the couch to organized competitions. Encouraging healthy competition for all skill levels will lead to widespread adoption, proper infrastructure, and a larger fanbase.
But less than 10 percent of Canadian gamers are able to take part in esports because of the skill barrier. That needs to change.
That’s where tournaments such as the TELUS Esports Series 2 come in. Tournaments are a great chance to meet other players, test your skills, and even get scouted by esports organizations.
Last year’s tournament was a huge success. Spanning six weeks, it was the largest grassroots Rocket League event in Canada and produced some incredible highlights. And this year the tournament has expanded to include another game: Apex Legends. Whether you’re a new driver or a veteran Valkyrie player, the TELUS Esports Series 2 is the perfect way to get involved with competitive gaming in a safe environment.
According to Amit Nag, Vice President of Entertainment and Education Services at TELUS, esports are an important part of TELUS’ vision for the future of gaming in Canada.
“Our world-leading PureFibre network gives customers a seamless online gaming and streaming experience, and we are proud to take that experience further with our very own TELUS Esport Series,” said Nag. “As Canadians of all ages spend time online, it’s important for us to help them form healthy gaming habits, which is why we are also providing literacy programs and tips from TELUS WISE throughout the event to inspire gamers to make healthier gaming choices.”
And the tournament is just the beginning. TELUS is also supporting gamers through its esports affiliate program. Gamers and content creators have the opportunity to be officially sponsored, grow their brand, and earn commission on any sales made through their content.
Many gamers are looking for opportunities to get their start. This is a great opportunity to play in a national tournament, create great content, and support the future of esports in Canada.
There are two ways to play in the TELUS Esports Series 2 tournament. You can join the free esports league, which is perfect for players of all skill levels. Or if you’re looking for something a bit more serious, you can enter the Pay to Play tier in the Apex Legends tournament for a chance at higher winnings. There will be more than $80K in prizes across Rocket League and Apex Legends, as well as the chance to be featured on the tournament stream!
Rocket League registration has already begun and will be open until November 17, 2022.
Registration for Apex Legends will be open from January 5 to February 2, 2023.
Register now at arena.telus.com
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