eSports have come a long way going from a collective hobby to a professional sport. It is now considered a sport, just like the traditional ones. In that vein, there are esports governing bodies that add some credibility to the professionalism of this unique sport.
There have even been talks about whether esports should feature in the Olympic games. Whether that will happen sooner or later is something to wonder about.
eSports probably would not have been this big if not for some level of structure and, most importantly, representation. Investors might have been too skeptical about risking their funds if there were no formal bodies that represented the interests of stakeholders.
Another purpose of esports associations includes creating and monitoring the rules of engagement. They will also enforce disciplinary actions in the case of infractions. These bodies even decide changes in the regulations of esports towards its betterment.
Competition organizers and game developers, which are usually the same, can also serve as the governing body with the final say over their tournaments.
Apart from game developer tournaments, esports governing bodies organize competitions among their members. This keeps the esports landscape beaming with activities.
As in other sports, esports governing bodies exist in levels and serve different purposes for its members. Some esports associations that are currently active are highlighted below.
International and Regional Esports Associations
These esports governing bodies serve as a canopy association on a continental level. They have jurisdiction over esports associations in different countries within the respective regions. To better understand this, associations on this level are equal to UEFA as a football governing body for Europe.
Federations and associations at the national level in the region are its members. Its main aim is to protect the interest of these member associations. These bodies also ensure they are abiding by the guidelines of the sport for its advancement.
These regional associations can organize tournaments for teams registered under its members. The UEFA Champions League is a perfect example of such competition.
Good examples of these esports governing bodies are:
National-Level Esports Bodies
eSports associations on this level represent the interests of the entire eSports community throughout the country. Some of them operate as affiliations of the government. Others might exist as NGOs or run its affairs as a for-profit business.
One of their main objectives is to improve the standards of esports in their country. Some of them do this by promoting esports at the grassroots level. Some of them issue professional licenses to players and referees while others might focus on grooming amateurs.
Great examples of these are:
- Electronic Sports Federation of India
- General Administration of Sports for China
- National Association for Collegiate Esports
- British Esports Association
- Japan Esports Union (JESU)
Game Industry Associations
These associations might not entirely focus on esports, but esports game publishers and developers are members. They represent the interests of the video game industry in general with their respective national governing body.
They usually organize expos and conventions. Typical examples include:
These are associations for respective esports organizations and third-party tournament organizers. These associations often oversee playing standards and conditions. They also look into competitions at team and league levels and regulate revenue sharing.
It is difficult to find the equivalent of this level in most traditional sports. This is because esports organizations often have different teams for different games. For instance, a football team has only one team that represents it in all competitions. But an eSports organization can have three teams that represent it in Dota 2, League of Legends, and Rocket League.
Great examples of associations at this level are:
- World Esports Association (WESA)
- Professional Esports Association (PEA)
- Corporate Esports Association (CEA)
The easiest way to relate to this is to see it as a sort of labor union. They are created to protect the rights and welfare of the players. Some esports players’ associations can negotiate agreements with game publishers and tournament organizers.
These associations sought to create more opportunities for professional gamers even after they retire from active play. They are usually founded by the players, but some game publishers create players associations for their own esports.
Some popular examples are:
- King Pro League Union
- Counter Strike Professional Players’ Association (CSPPA)
- North American League of Legends Championship Player’s Association (NALCSPA)
As you have seen, esports is quite structured. That plays a significant part in its growth and continuity. From well-established trends, esports is not a bubble, and it will grow stronger.
Knowing that the esports industry is built on a solid foundation should give you the confidence to pursue a career in it. If you are looking to become an esports legend, Gamercraft’s training and analytic support can make your dreams come true.3