[click_to_tweet tweet=”Another huge milestone for the Philippine gaming industry took place last June 14, at the TV 5 Media Center in Mandaluyong. ” quote=”Another huge milestone for the Philippine gaming industry took place last June 14, at the TV 5 Media Center in Mandaluyong. “]It was the announcement of “The Nationals” – the country’s first ever esports franchise league. Signatories include some of the country’s most prominent figures in the fields of business and e-sports. These people include Manny V. Pangilinan, chairman and president of PLDT and Smart Communications; Ray C. Espinosa, CEO of MediaQuest Holdings; Eric Redulfin CEO and President of TheNet.Com and TNC Pro Team, Bernard Chiong, President of Bren Pro Inc.; Eusebio H. Tango, Chairman and owner of STI Education Systems Holdings Inc.; Jane J. Basas, CEO of Cignal TV Inc., Vincent P. Reyes, CEO of TV5 Network Inc.; and Richard Brojan, Managing Partner and Head of Operations of Gariath Concepts.

The main signatories of The Nationals. -Photo from MediaQuest

The Nationals is a league comparable to the PBA and PSL in terms of format. The PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) and PSL (Philippine Super Liga) are both major leagues in sports for both basketball and volleyball respectively. They have multiple franchises under them which compete for the league’s championship. Some franchises included in the league are Ginebra and Talk n’ Text. The Nationals follows the same format, but for esports. Talents from The Nationals will get a chance to represent the Philippines in the SEA Games, Olympics, and as well as the Asian Games for esports.

It is expected to start during the first quarter of 2019, but prior to this, there will be an event known as “The Road to The Nationals” which be held as a grassroots tournament that will run from August to October and will feature titles such as Dota 2, Mobile Legends, and NBA 2K. This will be held in ten cities nationwide that have yet to be announced, and the final 8 teams will battle it out during the Grand Finals at ESGS 2018. The format of the league hasn’t been announced yet as they are still finalizing things with Gariath Concepts, the organizer of the tournament tapped to do league operations.

In an interview with Ralph Aligada, the head of Gaming and e-sports for TV5 Network Inc. we had hoped to clear up a few things regarding The Nationals. As per Aligada, there are already a few teams lined up to participate in the coming event. Big names such as Happy Feet, Bren E-Sports, and TNC will be joining. Other teams will include PLDT, STI, and Cignal will also be competing.

When asked about his sentiments on the upcoming league, Aligada said, “Having a league following this franchise model allows fans to develop and have a long term emotional investment in teams.” He then stated how this will benefit brands once enough exposure sets in. “In theory, this should translate and boomerang into higher awareness that brands can leverage on. Somewhere down the line, investments made via advertising revenue, licensing and other means trickle back down to the teams.”.

Aligada also expressed his confidence in gaining the nationwide audience, “Finally, the strength of ESPN5 as the number one sports channel in the country and Cignal TV as the leading pay TV provider allows us to do what the group has always wanted: to elevate esports into its pinnacle.”.

Without a doubt, the expectations have been set for The Nationals. This will definitely shape the booming gaming industry here in the country, and only time will tell in what way or form.

Manny V. Pangilinan discussing the foray of the PLDT group. -Photos from:MediaQuest

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