Nowadays, news of domestic sports competitions venturing into Esports is becoming more and more common. A number of famous teams, leagues, and clubs from all around the world have finally decided to warm up to the idea of acquiring or starting competitive video game teams not only because it is an assured source of some extra revenue but also because it will hopefully broaden their reach.
Japan has not been left behind. The country’ pro baseball league, Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), last week announced that they had made a move into the Esports industry by partnering with Nintendo to create a new Splatoon 2 Esports league. Each of the league’s 12 clubs will be participating in the Esports league which is set to go down in Spring 2019.
To take part in the Splatoon 2 league, players will need to register for the fourth annual Splatoon Koshien event that was scheduled to kick off in July 2018. During the event, a scout from each of the 12 clubs will be around to pick team members based on their own criteria. Players who are selected will be contacted by the team for a special interview scheduled for February 2019 after which all of the 12 teams will be shown off at a special presentation in March before the Splatoon officially kicks off.
At the moment, the league’s official start date has not been announced and, on the same note, no details regarding the ruleset or the prize pool have been released. However, it is worth noting that the language on the official Splatoon Esports Series website seems to suggest that the pool will not have a prize, even though the players are likely to receive compensation for their participation. This is expected especially when considering Nintendo’s operating procedure, that is, the company does not award monetary prizes for tournaments.
Nippon’s Partnership with Konami
The Splatoon 2 Esports league is not NPB’s first Esports venture. In 2017, the baseball league partnered with Konami to host championships for its official baseball title Jikkyō Powerful Pro Yakyū which is known internationally as Power Pros. This tournament was officially recognized by the league and, furthermore, featured promotional content that involved a number of NPB stars.
Last week, NPB announced that it plans to take its relationship with Konami a notch higher with the launch of Pawapuro Pro League, a baseball Esports League that will operate in the same way as the NBA 2K league – each of the NPB clubs will be represented by three players. This one, on the other hand, will have a prize pool of 12 million yen ($12,000).