Jamaica eSports Initiative (JEI) President Gregory Moore says the memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) will broaden the scope for e-sports in Jamaica and internationally.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented several challenges for traditional sports in Jamaica as horse racing remains the only active sporting event locally, but with limited spectators.
Moore told The Gleaner that e-sports is on the rise, and the MOU will allow the JEI to gain existing FIFA (video game) players to legitimately play, while exposing the JFF to a new world of football.
“The purpose of the MOU is for us to utilise the FIFA video game under the licensing and sanctioning of the JFF, because we had to be able to have that relationship with the football federation based on FIFA’s requirement,” Moore said. “In order for Jamaica to compete in the FIFA eWorld Cup and the eNations Cup, we have to be working with our local federation. So, what that will do is enable us to set up a league that will cover the entire country and be able to pull talents from each parish. We will have our FIFA teams created around the country, and those team will be competing in a similar structure to the National Premier League (NPL), but it will be e-sports.
“We’re going to be establishing zones and the JEI had already established them, but we just need them to be formalised. The winner of each zone will then move up in the bracket, and it will definitely be up to FIFA’s requirement of how the structure should be, as well as our tournament organisers’ ability to execute it around the country. So far, the chemistry is really good between the two entities and everybody is excited about what is to happen. The JFF trusts our expertise where e-sports is concerned, and we will be managing the programme for them going forward.”
Moore says that there will be a preliminary event this year to signal the relationship between the two entities to other partners who will be coming on board, in efforts to market the league.
JFF General Secretary Dalton Wint said that the federation is fully up to speed with the world of e-sports and the opportunities it will provide for the JFF and Jamaica. He sees e-sports as a useful venture while the federation awaits approval from the Ministry of Health and Wellness to restart football with the NPL on November 14.
“It is a very useful MOU which will serve the JFF and our partners as well,” Wint said. “E-sports is a growing industry and we want to be a part of it, as we don’t want to be left behind; and based on what is going on with the pandemic, we want to be a part of something beneficial. We have noticed, also, that some of our players are recognising the e-sports with high commendation from FIFA.
“As I am aware, the e-sports industry is worth over a billion dollars and we want to share in that. Initially, the MOU will last for a year, so we can assess the process and see where it will be heading before we make any long-term commitment.”
Wint said the partnership with the JEI can also give the necessary exposure to potential sponsors at this time.