India’s first-ever franchise-based Esports league, the Esports Premier League (ESPL) has finalised the top eight teams as the ultimate face off in the inaugural edition of the nation-wide Esports league is set to begin on August 16. State ministers from seven regions launched their respective franchise team names, logos, and jerseys.
While the Esports industry has been in quest to gain legitimacy and recognition from the government, involvement and acceptance from the government at this level to the tournament is a giant stride for Esports industry in India.
“To have the best gamers from across the country representing final eight franchise teams as well as their team’s official jersey being unveiled by the state ministers is a matter of absolute honor and pride. Even in its inaugural edition, ESPL has received exceptional response from the Esports community, the players and the audience,” said Mr. Vishwalok Nath, Director, ESPL.
Here is the complete list of Ministers and personalities that unveiled teams representing their respective states:
1. Mr. V. Srinivas Goud – Hon’ble Minister of Sports & Youth Services, Govt. Of Telangana
2. Mr. Sunil Chhatrapal Kedar – Hon’ble Minister of Sports and Youth Welfare, Govt. of Maharashtra
3. Mr. Manish Sisodia – Deputy Chief Minister, Govt. of Delhi
4. Mr. Manoj Tiwary – Hon’ble Minister of Department of Youth Services and Sports, Govt. Of West Bengal
5. Mr. K.C. Narayana Gowda – Hon’ble Minister of Department of Youth Empowerment and Sports Department of Planning, Govt. of Karnataka
6. Mr. Ashok Chandna – Hon’ble Minister of Sports & Youth Affairs (Independent charge), Govt. of Rajasthan
7. Mr. Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi – Hon’ble Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs, Govt. of Punjab
8. RJ Balaji – Radio jockey, director, sports broadcaster, and writer based out of Chennai
The final eight franchises teams and the players were chosen through a draft process. And the teams that are qualified through various stages of the competition for the draft process include BADGE99, Total Gaming, 4 UNKNOWN, TSM FTX, No Chance, AFF Esports, Head Hunters, and TWO SIDE GAMERS. Each of these teams were picked to represent a city team and in the final stage during the draft, popular influencers and Esports gamers were roped in to conduct the process.
The eight franchise teams are Punjab Paladins, Chennai Celestials, Delhi Dukes, Hyderabad Hydras, Kolkata Kaijus, Rajasthan Reapers, Mumbai Marshals, and Bangalore Ballistics. Below is the complete list of players of all these teams who will represent the respective state teams:
ESPL 2021, which began on June 16, will see the athletes competing in the popular battle royale game Free Fire as the winners will have INR 25 lacs prize money to win.
This final phase has lot more in store and a spectacle series of matches and exciting live-action will be streamed 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.