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How a Fan Group Brings Collegiate Esports to the Philippines

College Students in the Philippines Embrace Esports Tournament

College students from different cities in the Philippines recently gathered in an internet cafe in Manila to compete in an esports tournament with a unique twist. The event, called Impetus 2017, was organized by the University of the Philippines Gaming Guild (UPGG), a student organization formed in 2016. Instead of playing under their own team name, participants represented their colleges, emulating the success of regular esports tournaments. While intercollegiate esports leagues are common outside of the Philippines, this tournament marks a groundbreaking development in the country.

A Blend of College Sports and Gaming

Intercollegiate sports are immensely popular in the Philippines, with intense rivalries between schools. The University Athletic Association of the Philippines’ (UAAP) tournaments attract huge crowds, with more than 22,000 fans attending the finals of the women’s volleyball tournament last year. Basketball is the country’s favorite sport and draws a wide audience. Given the popularity of both college sports and video games, the combination of the two in the Impetus tournament could have a significant impact.

Linking School Pride and Esports

The inspiration for Impetus came from the school spirit displayed during UAAP events. The University of the Philippines Gaming Guild saw the incredible amount of school pride from member schools during traditional UAAP events like basketball and cheerdance competitions and wanted to recreate that energy in the esports arena. Impetus received recognition from big-name tech and gaming companies, as well as non-gamer students who showed support for their respective schools. The Philippines also played host to several premier-level Dota 2 tournaments in recent years, which contributed to the growing esports scene in the country.

A Grassroots Effort with Sponsorships

As a special interests organization in the University of the Philippines, UPGG relies on grassroots efforts due to the lack of funding from the university administration. Despite this, they were able to secure sponsorships and partnerships from top technology companies for the Impetus tournament. The event consisted of online rounds leading to a LAN final held at High Grounds, a high-end internet cafe. The University of Santo Tomas emerged as the champion and won a $1,000 prize. While the prize money may not be as high as professional tournaments, it is still a significant achievement for amateur players.

Impetus received widespread media coverage and positive feedback from partners, making UPGG hopeful that it will eventually be recognized alongside other UAAP sports. The organization sees a potential future where esports becomes an official component of UAAP and firmly believes that the blend of Filipino school pride, gaming culture, and the thriving local industry will pave the way for a college esports revolution in the country.

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