New Delhi: India’s first-ever franchise-based Esports league, Esports Premier League, with Tiger Shroff as the brand ambassador, saw a grand success with more than 100 million video views from the esports fanatics. The tournament saw a huge response and was streamed live on Disney+ Hotstar, Free Fire official streaming platform Booyah and Malayalam OTT platform Koode alongside official YouTube and Facebook channels of India Today and Aaj Tak and its websites. The inaugural esports event which kicked off on June 16 successfully concluded with loud cheers for Mumbai Marshals who emerged as champions of the Esports Premier League (ESPL) 2021.
ESPL 2021, which had Infinix smartphone as the presenting sponsor, was played under the aegis of gamer-centric campaign #ESPLGameSeFame with Tiger Shroff as the inimitable brand ambassador that encouraged players to showcase their top game and get recognized in the industry. It witnessed high-octane competition of Free Fire matches, which concluded with a nail-biting finale. The mega prize distribution ceremony took place at a city hotel in the presence of Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi Mr. Manish Sisodia and Ms. Kalli Purie, Vice Chairperson, India Today Group, as the champions and the runner-ups, Bangalore Ballistics, were handed over the trophies and the cash awards.
After two and a half months of virtual competition, two of the most impressive and skilled teams from the league stage, Bangalore Ballistics and Mumbai Marshals, locked horns in a thrilling grand finale. A neck-to-neck competition saw the Mumbai team getting past the opposition for the prestigious title. The ESPL season 1 champions, Mumbai Marshals have some top players in its roster including Sagar Patel, Indranil Saha, Jayesh Yadav, Naitik Khosto, and Asjad Khateeb, who also grabbed the Most Valuable Player award. For his impressive show throughout the tournament, Jayesh Yadav aka Jay from Mumbai Marshals, with 74 kills, was named as the player of the tournament along with an award of Rs. 30,000.
Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, while addressing the ESPL winners and players, said, “Esports now is growing very fast. I am convinced that this “E” sport deserves all the support and recognition. I promise that the Delhi government will encourage Esports in every possible manner. We will be happy to encourage all the initiatives that will help the industry and the sector to grow.”
“It was like a festival of Esports, playing out in the last couple of months. There was an overwhelming response coming from all over the country. The gamers showcased their A-game and the competition was nothing short of top class. I hope these athletes will further utilize this experience and win medals for the country in the coming time. We are also thankful to all our sponsors and stakeholders for their support and belief. This is just the beginning of a new era,” said Vishwalok Nath, Director, ESPL.
The video campaigns run by the actor further created a deeper connection to the millennials and GenZ inspiring them to be part of the esports community which is on its path to grow in India. With more than 100 million video views and one million-plus registration for the ESPL 2021, eight teams, representing eight cities/states, were finally chosen for the finals at the end of the third round after a highly competitive final stage of the league. The group matches were followed by knockout rounds where 96 teams participated. The eight teams that made it through the knockout finals were assigned one Franchise team each. The list of franchise teams included Mumbai Marshals, Rajasthan Reapers, Bangalore Ballistics, Hyderabad Hydras, Chennai Celestials, Delhi Dukes, Punjab Paladins and Kolkata Kaijus. The tournament saw a massive prize pool of INR 25 lakh with a cash prize award to all the top-8 teams. The Mumbai team took home the major share of Rs 12 lakh from the prize money.