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AESF Hosts In-Depth Esports Panel In World Football Summit Asia 2019
On 29th April 2019, the Asian Electronic Sports Federation (AESF) hosted the “Esports and Football: Strategies to Unify Paths” panel during the World Football Summit Asia which was held in Sunway Pyramid Convention Center, Selangor, Malaysia.
 
The panel opened with a keynote speech by AESF president, Mr Kenneth Fok who shared a few words about Esports and how the industry can learn from the growing football scene.
 
“The AESF prides ourselves with the role of spearheading the development and growth of Esports in the Asian region, but we are fully aware that this cannot be achieved on our own.” said Mr Fok.

 
Acknowledging that Esports can learn a lot from the thriving ecosystem of world football, Mr Fok continued;
 
“Compared to football, Esports has a long way to go in terms of grassroots development, exposure and acceptance from the masses. While it has huge potential moving forward, its true and final form is still uncertain. The Esports scene we know today may be very different in a few years and it all boils down to how we manage it from root.
 
This, my distinguished guests, is where we sought to learn from the best. The WFS is synonymous with their experience in growing the football development scene. Like traditional sports, Esports is built on its grassroots community which plays a pivotal role in developing new athletes, and sustaining the ecosystem. Where football has proven to be a success in the past, the Esports scene aims to emulate, if not, improve on that.” he added.
 
Staying true to its title, the panel aims to connect the dots and promote better understanding, while at the same time encourage cooperation on multiple levels between Esports entities and their football counterparts. Sponsored by Tencent and moderated by Futbolita Executive Director Ash Hashim, panelists included notable speakers actively involved in the realms of Esports as well as football, including:
 
  • Ramon Suzara, COO of SEA Games 2019
  • Mars Hou, GM of Tencent Games
  • Daniel Vicente, Head of Gaming in LaLiga
  • Allan Phang, Head of e-Sports in AirAsia
  • Kim Jong Seong, International Affair Team and Senior Manager of Korea e-Sports Association (KeSPA)
  • Terence Ting, CEO of Team Flash

Football enthusiasts, sports-managing companies, and business developers were enlightened with the various topics and discussions brought up by the speakers.
 
Topics covered include:
 
  • The current state of Esports and the end goal.
  • The main hurdles Esports bodies are currently facing and how to overcome them.
  • How teams are managed in an Esports club or franchise.
  • How Esports and grassroot communities are sustained to create better players.
  • How Esports and online games can gather and manage data effectively to reach mainstream markets

Showing unwavering support for the inclusion of Esports as medal sports in the 2019 Manila SEA Games, COO of SEA Games 2019, Mr Ramon Suzara is a perfect example of parties from traditional sports background fully backing Esports growth, while Air Asia’s Allan Phang shared stories of successfully integrating Esports into a corporation which is non-endemic to the industry.
 
Tencent Games’ GM, Mars Hou added more insight to the discussion, firmly believing that Esports and traditional sports like soccer are similar to each other when it comes to athlete discipline & training systems. As important esports industry stakeholders, it is their responsibility to keep the scene flourishing.
 
Meanwhile, Terence Ting, CEO of Team Flash shared some valuable tips when it comes to creating and running an Esports team or franchise - an en vogue move amongst European sporting organizations such as PSG, Manchester City and Ajax Amsterdam.
 
No Esports panel would be complete without participation and words of wisdom from those who are best in the field. Well versed with the Esports scene in what is considered the mecca of the industry - South Korea - Mr Kim Jong Seong from KeSPA shed further light on what makes a successful Esports ecosystem; not just for the present day, but many years to come.
 
All in all, this was a wonderful moment in Esports history where AESF and World Football Summit Asia combined forces to unify their goals. In turn, this helps to create more avenues for esports to thrive amongst the masses and become mainstream. It also provided an avenue for parties from traditional sports such as football to band together with one of, if not the most rapidly growing scene right now, which is Esports.