Telkom’s Digital Gaming League recently rebranded as VS Gaming, and has renewed its focus on growing the South African eSports industry.
The organisation recently announced it would host a eSports football tournament in Johannesburg, which is open to the public and boasts a prize pool of R1.5 million.
MyBroadband spoke to VS Gaming CEO Cambridge Mokanyane about the future of eSports and its potential for growth in South Africa.
Massive eSports growth
Mokanyane said the rising popularity of eSports could see it becoming one of the most popular spectator sports in the country.
“We believe that eSports could be the third-biggest sport in South Africa after soccer and rugby, and could be the second-favourite spectator sport for many people,” said Mokanyane.
VS Gaming has seen a steady increase in the local eSports audience and a growing interest in games for recreational and competitive purposes.
The organisation’s eSports football tournament appeals to competitive and casual gamers, in addition to a wider community, thanks to its inclusion of a music event.
Mokanyane said the spectator base for eSports has grown significantly in South Africa, and the average gamer spends 81 minutes a day either playing or viewing video games.
The company expects more clans, players, competitions, and organisations to become involved in the local scene, and prize money will increase.
Mokanyane said the prize pools for local competitions could see double-digit percentage increases until the market stabilises, and two to three dominant entities emerge as the main competitors in the market.
VS Gaming has partnered with SuperSport to broadcast its upcoming tournaments, in addition to streaming the events on YouTube and Twitch.
By delivering eSports to a more casual audience via TV, VS Gaming aims to expand the competitive gaming community in South Africa.
SuperSport has covered various eSports tournaments since it first aired the IEM World Championship in March 2016.
Since then, eSports coverage on local television has expanded to include a dedicated eSports channel.
In 2016, Telkom also announced its DGL Masters R1-million tournament for Dota 2 and CS:GO, which was the biggest in South Africa at the time.
One year later, and multiple tournaments with prize pools of over R1 million have been announced – a sign of things to come.