Our goal for Esportsly’s kick-off was to present aunique project to the community.João Marques
Start your engines! The first Iberian League kicked off yesterday, and we had the chance to interview João Marques, CEO of Esportsly and organiser of the Iberian League. He told us about Esports in Portugal, Rocket League and the Start-up behind this: Esportsly.
Héctor M: First of all, thanks for attending, I know you are really busy setting up everything for the league. Could you tell us a little about Esports in Portugal?
João: think it is safe to say the concept of esports in Portugal (as a well-organized video game competition) already existed even before the new millennium. The Portuguese have always been true Counter-Strike enthusiasts, promoting and hosting numerous online and offline events, like LAN House tournaments or even LAN Parties with the purpose of bringing their own computer (the mythical XL Party, who doesn’t remember?).
Although we have passionate fans of video games, the truth is that the esports industry in Portugal has not grown as fast as in other Mediterranean countries (compared with Spain or Italy). In my opinion, I think companies/investors in general had, and still have, some doubts about the real dimension of the Portuguese esports’ market. Companies willing to invest, have the wrong tendency to overvalue the total population numbers. In fact, by this metric, Portugal has no way of competing against the European giants (for example, Spanish population is almost 5 times greater than the Portuguese). However, the ratio of video game enthusiasts versus population size is much higher in Portugal than in most countries in Europe (and in the World!). However, it is difficult to convince that 40% of 10 million is real and better than 2% of 100 million.
The short sighted private investment in esports, the low average purchasing power of the population and the negative social connotation associated with playing computer games for many hours straight, were the main drivers of a slow growth and little professionalization of esports in Portugal (the most of the human capital working in esports was volunteers, people who really loved esports and wanted events to happen no matter what).
The real leap in the development of this industry,in Portugal, has occurred in the last five years, where we accomplished some important achievements, like:
- In 2016, a public television channel (RTP) accepted to regularly document events related to esports (both in Portugal and abroad).
- We had our first major esports tournament produced by a Portuguese company in 2018, with Moche XL Esports which had the biggest prize ever to be distributed in Portugal, in a face-to-face event (50,000 $).
- Lisbon received his first international CS:GO event, the BLAST Pro Series: Lisbon 2018in December 2018.
- Since 2019, we have an annual event where the best esports talents and personalities in Portugal are awarded (Prémios Esports Portugal).
- Portugal started to have more and more players and teams competing in international tournaments, a great merit for our national clubs, organizations and team managers.
Obviously, there is much more to tell and say about the History of esports in Portugal.
H: And how did you created Esportsly?
J: To make any kind of sense, I must go back to December 2019, which was probably one of the saddest moments of my Esports career. Earlier that month, I was informed, by the company where I worked at the time that my services would be dispensable. Unfortunately, I was not the only case: many of my colleagues were also dismissed that day and others would end up being in the same situation days later.
Shortly after, I wondered what I wanted to do in the future (esports related). A lot of things crossed my mind, I even thought about abandoning esports completely and dedicating myself to other areas where I was already professionally involved. But then I thought: why not take a chance and create my own esports project?
In the second half of December 2019, I started designing the company that would later be called Esportsly. I managed to convince some of my former colleagues to join me on this adventure and that is basically how it all started. After a lot of work behind the scenes, on April 14th, 2020 we introduced Esportsly to the community.
H: How did you come up with the idea of organizing this league?
J: Our goal for Esportsly’s kick-off was to present a unique project to the community. In terms of game possibilities, there were several titles on the table. After a lot of internal discussions, we decided to go ahead with Rocket League, a game that met all the requirements: opportunities available for new competitions, both in Spain and Portugal, and the game is interesting enough to hold the audience during broadcasts.
The idea of having the Iberian scope was not only to make it more interesting from a competitive point of view, for players and teams but also to assert ourselves as a Tournament Organizer. One of the differentiating factors of the Iberian League by Esportsly is that we have very competent people in our team who ensure linguistic ambivalence, which is not always the case with initiatives of this nature.
H: How many teams are in for this first edition?
With the Qualifier Stage already finished, we now have 8 teams (4 Portuguese and 4 Spanish) that will compete in the round robin system (all versus all, as if it was a football championship).
The Iberian League by Esportsly arena started on May 16th, with the inaugural day that was broadcasted on our Twitch channel.
H: What is the format?
J: As I mentioned previously, in the Regular Stage the top 8 qualified teams will fight day after day for a place in the finals. When all Regular Stage games are played, the 4 best teams will play in the final tournament, with a prize pool of 2.000€, that counts with Prozis partnership. In the Final Stage, we will also give the MVP Exceed Yourself! -Prozis MVP award to the player who scores the most goals.
Thank you for spending this time with me and best of luck with Esportsly and the Iberian League, I can not wait to see the round 2 today.
If you like cars and videogames, do not forget to read this section about Sim Racing.