Gone were the days when the gaming community was confined to the small corners of the computer shops having their own little businesses run through students and young gamers who were craving thrill and excitement on leisure hours.
Fast forward to the present time, the gaming scene has evolved into a massive industry, creating its own ecosystem that has been providing livelihood, opportunities, and avenues to businesses and talents even amid the rage of the pandemic and the faltering economy.
At the forefront of the golden age is no other than the most established esports league in the country — the MPL Philippines — which has not only become a staple viewing habit and source of entertainment for the new generation of audiences but also provided an effective platform for brands and businesses alike to deliver their messages to their target market.
MPL Philippines at the forefront of esports revolution
MPL-PH has vouched for the legitimacy of the esports industry as a vehicle for marketing and advertising, having been able to attract big brands such as Smart Communications Inc., Samsung, Maya, McDonalds, and TikTok – some of which are known huge supporters of mainstream sports in the country.
It has established a solid core that would allow the league to stand out from its peers and become the benchmark of esports leagues.
In line with its goal to further foster the industry’s growth, MPL-PH, through the adaptation of its franchise business model and other programs in the pipeline for the future such as the MPL Developmental League and partnership with grassroots programs, showed that it is serious in providing the stability all while being innovative enough and easily adaptable to the quick advancement of technology for the welfare of its stakeholders.
“We continue to innovate and find ways to improve the overall experience for all our stakeholders. Our number priority of course is to give fans an unforgettable experience across all touchpoints of MPL,” said Tonyo Silva, MOONTON Games senior marketing manager for esports.
“We also strive to provide new opportunities for growth for our athletes and teams. Lastly, we want to make sure that the brands who support us and help MPL reach new heights continue to get a good and strong return on their investment,” he added.
MPL as the most watched sports stream
MPL’s growth through the years has been exponential – from a few thousands of peak viewers during its humble beginnings to amassing millions of views, watch hours, and engagements across available platforms.
In Season 9 alone, the league had a total of 36,960,157 Facebook engagements and 21,196,107 total views on YouTube while growing its following to 2.9 million on Facebook, 1.4 million on YouTube, and 1 million on TikTok.
The Grand Finals of MPL Philippines Season 9 generated 626,248 peak viewership making it the most watched stream through Facebook as compared to other esports leagues and some of the traditional sports which are still starting to venture out from the traditional media and tap the online platforms.
MPL has identified itself as one of the best platforms to deliver values and messages across a wide range of audiences.
And through the growth, MPL is making sure no one is getting left behind, providing livelihood and opportunities, especially to passionate individuals they consider as part of the family.
“Aside from being able to earn by doing one of my main passions, I've been able to enjoy being at the forefront of a revolution and transformation point in entertainment and competition. Joining the MPL in Season 1 was one of the best decisions I've made in my life,” said MPL PH shoutcaster Karl “Rockhart” To.
“Kadalasan ang bayad sa mga caster pang passion lang talaga. Minsan hindi pa sapat para ipagkasya sa pamasahe at pagkain. Pero dahil naging maganda ang trato at sweldo sa MPL Philippines, nagkaroon ako ng malaking paraan para sagutin lahat ng gastusin sa bahay. (The payment for being a caster, most of the time, is only for passion. Sometimes, it's not even enough for food and fare expenses. Since MPL Philippines compensates and treats us well, I was able to find a way to sustain our expenses at home),” echoed fellow analyst Theo “Uomi” Ignacio.
“Dahil sa MPL, nabigyan ako ng mga oportunidad na gawing realidad yung pangarap ko para kay mama. (Because of MPL, I got an opportunity to realize my dream for my mother.)” he added.
For Manjean “Manjean” Faldas, the most recognizable MPL caster in the league, MPL Philippines gave him a platform not just to develop in his craft but also being able to inspire other people through the games and entertainment they deliver.
“Laking pasasalamat ko palagi sa tiwala at responsilidad binibigay sakin ng MPL Philippines. Masaya ako, as a talent na papano ay nakakapag-inspire kami ng tao, sa mga kwento ng game na aming dinedeliver. Yung iba pa nga ay nangangarap na makapasok sa esports industry dahil dito. (I’m immensely grateful to the trust and responsibility given to me by MPL Philippines. As a talent, I’m happy to inspire people, to share the stories behind the game that we deliver. Some even dream of joining the esports industry because of this),” said Manjean.
(As always, isang pong karangalan. (As always, it’s an honor),” he added.
MPL PH embodies national pride that catches the world’s attention
MPL Philippines has also become the source of national pride through the years. Similar to sports like basketball, volleyball and boxing, the esports scene, through MPL Philippines, has also produced esports athletes who excelled not only in the international stage but shone brightly as world champions.
Two M-series World Championship trophies, three MLBB Southeast Asia Cup titles and two Southeast Asian Games gold medals just showed how dominating the Filipinos are in Mobile Legends.
Not only that, Filipino players, coaches and even as analysts and casters are one of the most sought-after talents in the field, giving the country a huge hand in shaping not just the competitive Mobile Legends landscape but the entire esports industry in the region.
And it’s not only about the pride and joy of flying the flag, MPL Philippines has also provided the much-needed inspiration to the younger generations especially during these trying times. MPL is no way lacking in inspirational stories – from a former jeepney driver and now becoming a professional player, or a former gaming geek now providing his parents their own house, to a member of LGBTQIA+ community using her influence as a professional gamer to advocate their rights.
Through the players’ earnings both from their salaries, tournament winnings and sponsorship, some, still in their teenage and early-20s, have even managed to build their own houses and invest in businesses that would secure their future once their esports careers end.
The esports industry goes beyond the games, it also has human interest stories and MPL PH is becoming a medium to inspire others.
Esports is here to stay, so does MPL Philippines
The ever-growing esports industry is here to stay. It will be part of the future and will continue to grow. Likewise, MPL Philippines is embracing its role as one of the trailblazers in the revolution of this industry. Through its past 10 seasons and beyond, MPL will surely live up to its lofty goals because, after all, it’s not about the league but the strength of the dedicated individuals that make it work, hence “Lakas Na10 ‘to”.