TV5 NETWORK, Inc. is looking to lead the way for online gaming to flourish as a professional sport in the country with the introduction of a franchise-based tournament starting next month.
TV5 President Vincent “Chot” P. Reyes said in a media briefing in Makati City on Tuesday it is starting on August 4 “Road to the Nationals,” an e-sports tournament gathering about 32 million online gamers all over the country.
“(Our computations show) 14 million are actual [e-sports] participants. But the bigger audience is about 32 million. You know, from the casual gamers… to the actual e-sport athletes who actually compete. So we hope to capture a big chunk of that,” Mr. Reyes told reporters after the briefing.
He added, the project is expected to generate new content for the PLDT Group’s media units, which in turn is hoped to tap new advertisers and a younger demographic of digital audience different from that which its traditional television caters to.
“For us, that’s very important. It is on those ends that we see that we will really benefit the entire group,” he said.
Six firms have already signed up to own team franchises in the tournament, namely TNC Pro Team; HappyFeet eSports; BrenPro, Inc.; Cignal TV, Inc.; PLDT/Smart Communications, Inc. and STI Education Systems Holdings, Inc.
The Road to the National will host three gaming divisions, categorized into PC games for DOTA2, mobile games for Mobile Legends and console games for NBA 2K19 and tentatively, Tekken 7.
“We are using the Road to the Nationals as the pool of talent to build the teams in The Nationals… Aspiring e-sports athletes now have a chance to get into a sustainable playing career,” Mr. Reyes said in a statement.
He said in an interview that monthly salaries for players are priced at P40,000 to P50,000, noting the intention is to make e-sports a professional career.
Meanwhile, the TV5 president also said its performance in the first half of the year was “pretty good.”
“We’re right on target. We’re hitting our numbers. We’re very hopeful that the rest of the year will be okay,” Mr. Reyes said. This keeps the company on track for its goal to break even by the end of 2019.
Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Denise A. Valdez