Over on Facebook, a mini-revolution has been going on. People dissatisfied with existing eSports associations in South Africa have banded together to make a new one. I had a chat with their President, Anthony Nell, to find out more.
We are trying to give people with practical experience access to the people without it.
He went on to describe the association as a mixture between a watch-dog organization and a union of sorts. However, those who wish to be involved will not pay any member’s fees or enter into binding contracts. SAESA strives to help anyone who is interested in joining the eSports world, or is already active but needs advice and help. This includes helping players brand themselves, learn what is expected at a pro-level, and what to expect from sponsorship arrangements. In the spirit of altruism, Nell stated:
We are always there to help anyone out in any way we possibly can.
Speaking of altruism, SAESA not only doesn’t charge membership fees, they are also without any corporate sponsors. In fact, SAESA isn’t sure they want any sponsorships as this might compromise their independence. SAESA is also adamant that they are not, and will not become, like the MSSA:
One of my main goals personally is to inform people that we are nothing like them, in operation or in any other sense. We have no interest in providing national colours to players, nor do we wish to provide people with any player contracts ourselves – we want to make sure everyone, on all sides, is treated professionally and equipped with the skills and opportunity to do well nationally and internationally, while also making sure those that don’t and have no interest in the good of the various communities are outed as such.
Anthony Nell is certainly committed and enthusiastic, as is the rest of his association. There is no doubt eSports is growing locally; we are even getting our very first eSports lounge in Cape Town. Will SAESA be successful? Only time will tell. I worry about the lack of funding – altruism can only last so long. That said, gamers are a committed bunch, and hopefully we will see some positive growth for eSports come out of this new group. I just hope that they are able to find concrete ways of helping eSports athletes – local eSports needs all the support it can get.
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Last Updated: November 20, 2013