Sri Lanka Esports: First South Asian Nation to Officially Recognize It as a Sport

by Denis Metev

On September 26, 2019, the Sports Ministry declared esports a national sport. That’s how Sri Lanka became the first South Asian country to officially recognize esports as a sport.

Competitive video gaming is already a worldwide obsession. DOTA 2, League of Legends, FIFA, and Overwatch are just some of the names of the most popular games with a massive fanbase and billions of players. Professional players compete every year in tournaments that offer incredibly attractive prize money.

Sri Lanka is clearly keeping up with the trends. A steadily increasing number of gamers from around the country have been participating in different competitions over the years.

Apart from numerous gaming communities, one can see schools and institutions starting clubs and organizing tournaments as well to propagate esports in Sri Lanka.

Gamer. LK CEO and Founder Raveen Wijayatilake happily commented on the news from 26 September:

“The Sri Lankan esports community welcomes this development with excitement.”

He adds that Gamer.LK “has worked tirelessly over the years to create an ecosystem for esports and professional gaming in Sri Lanka.”

“As the foremost organization for esports in the country, we are excited to see where this takes esports in Sri Lanka. Already, every year, thousands of new members join the community and big brands, including multinationals are seeing the value in Sri Lankan esports and its rapidly-growing millennial audience.”

Sri Lanka Esports: Newest Gaming Haven

Esports is taking over the world these years – it has a global audience of nearly 400 million people, and viewers are spending 6.6 billion hours watching esports online.

According to Newzoo, the global leader in esports analytics, the industry will generate over the US $1.6 billion in total revenue, with $1.3 billion coming from brand investments. It’s only natural for brands to take advantage of esports’ wide base of viewers from all around the world and invest in esports. One example is the energy drinks that are always shown next to the players’ screens.

Now Sri Lanka joins nearly 50 countries that have officially recognized esports. Certainly a smart move, which will bring Sri Lanka greater success in the international esports arena.

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