The International e-Sports Federation (IeSF) has announced that Taiwan’s port city Kaohsiung will host the 10th ESports World Championship in 2018. The 2018 ESports World Championship is scheduled to take place at the Kaohsiung Arena (K-Arena) from November 9 to 11 and is expected to surpass all previous championships in scale with hundreds of players, officials, and press representatives from over fifty different economies expected to attend.
The IeSF ESports World Championship is the largest international eSports competition organized by the Federation. It is also the largest eSports competition in the world with team participants. The IeSF, which was established in Seoul, Korea in 2008, launched the first IeSF Challenge in 2009; the Challenge gradually transformed into what is now the IeSF ESports World Championship, an international event that all economies enthusiastically participate in. Previous host cities for the IeSF ESports World Championship include Seoul and Busan, Korea; Bucharest, Romania; Baku, Azerbaijan; and Jakarta, Indonesia.
In contrast to other commercial eSports competitions, the IeSF ESports World Championship views eSports as a formal sports category. Therefore, the ceremonial aspects and scale of the IeSF ESports World Championship are comparable to other formal sporting events in which economies form their teams to compete. The previous nine IeSF ESports World Championships included eleven competition categories, making the IeSF ESports World Championship a major competition and exchange platform for its economies and leading to its playing a key role in promoting eSports and in correcting public stereotypes about eSports. Major sporting competitions such as the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games and international sporting organizations refer to the rise of the IeSF ESports World Championship when managing their own sports, a fact which further highlights the amazing success of the IeSF ESports World Championship.
The official athletes’ oath ceremony at the IeSF ESports World Championship
The IeSF ESports World Championship is immensely popular. Applications to host the tournament are subject to certain criteria such as the host’s level of participation in eSports, the comprehensiveness and feasibility of the proposal, their eSports experience and the capabilities of cooperating local organizations, government support, and the extent of domestic eSports promotion and future planning. During the final interview, five committee members of the IeSF ESports World Championship Organizing Committee raise questions concerning event planning, the applying economy’s experience in holding sporting events, the degree of logistical planning involved, budgeting, regulatory requirements, international and diplomatic policies, and relations between the central or local government and the relevant organizations. The committee members then compile the results of the interview and submit the document to the IeSF Council, which makes the final decision regarding which applicant will host the next IeSF ESports World Championship.
After this series of stringent application evaluations, the IeSF announced during the closing ceremony of the 9th IeSF ESports World Championship on November 12, 2017 that Kaohsiung had been selected as host for the next IeSF ESports World Championship. After the announcement, Vice President Hsu Pei-Ching of the Chinese Taipei ESports Association (CTESA) officially took over the flag of the IeSF ESports World Championship. In front of officials, press members, and eSports athletes from around the world, Hsu declared the dedication and keenness of Chinese Taipei and its sports circles to promote eSports. She also pledged that Chinese Taipei would make full use of its experience in organizing major sporting events to provide the assorted delegations with the best possible experience during the championship.
CTESA Vice President Hsu Pei-Ching receives the IeSF ESports World Championship flag from IeSF Secretary General Alex Lim
Group photo of important members of the CTESA and the committee members of the IeSF ESports World Championship Organizing Committee (From left: IeSF Athletes’ Commission Chairperson Jason Batzofin, CTESA Deputy Secretary-General Hung Tzu-Yen, CTESA Vice President Hsu Pei-Ching, IeSF Secretary-General Alex Lim, Swedish eSports Federation Chairman Magnus Jonsson, Mind Sports South Africa General Secretary Colin Webster, and IeSF Athletes’ Commission Member Koen Schobbers)
The Kaohsiung City Government, co-sponsor of the 2018 IeSF ESports World Championship, has pledged to handle all welcoming activities, security, transportation, and city sightseeing tours at the same level as the 2009 World Games, which also took place in Kaohsiung. In addition, students from nearly forty vocational high schools and colleges that are involved in industry-academic collaborations with CTESA will also take part in the organization of the 2018 IeSF ESports World Championship. By participating in internships during the organizational process and gaining practical experience through volunteering, these students can develop a more in-depth understanding of the degree to which eSports is the engine for a large industry chain.
(Gary Chen is an Assistant Research Fellow at the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research)