WePlay Academy League set to redefine B-Tier competition
WePlay Esports recently announced a tournament for some youth teams. WePlay Academy League (WAL) will aim to foster young talent to help add depth to the scene. The decision is welcomed by most big name esports organizations, but there is more to the story then just a new tournament. While the first iteration features big name academy teams, future iterations might hold a whole new approach to how the talent pipeline in CSGO looks like.
Until recently, most of the top talent in the scene came from poaching extraordinary players from amateur teams that manage to have a good showing in A-tier or Premier events. This new set of events is encouraging in-house talent development and potentially/eventually an amateur scene that can hot swap players with the main rosters.
A Chance for Young Talent
Young players and Academy teams will be thrilled to hear of the latest announcement from WePlay Esports. Giving these young studs an opportunity to get used to the stresses of competition while having a chance to develop.
The teams featured will all be Academy-esque teams under key players in the scene. The teams involved are Fnatic Rising, FURIA Academy, mouz NXT, Astralis Talent, Young Ninjas, VP.Prodigy, NAVI Junior and BIG. OMEN Academy.
Teams will be battling it out for 100,00$ in prize funds. This will allow them to get used to playing for large amounts of money before they get to the big stage. Oftentimes we see young players inserted into lineups and failing to perform at their first few events. For some, that is the only chance they will ever get. Leagues like this one will allow players to dip their toes in the water instead of being thrown into the pool. While some may argue that being thrown right into the mix without time to adapt is a good thing, it is believed formats like this will be good for the scene long-term.
The point of the league is also to have a chance to see the complete growth of a player, similar to a sports league like the NFL. In the NFL, you have a star player in high-school get recruited by a big college. Those games are seen by hundreds of thousands of people who then go watch those players when they get drafted into the professional leagues. This will drive viewer engagement as they will be able to follow the breakout players from their birth into academy leagues to when they frag out as a star player on Astralis. Some of the best CSGO players came out of amateur rosters, but they had to get themselves into a major event to get noticed. This new set of events will help mitigate that.
The first season of WePlay Academy League will begin on July 19th and will run for 3 weeks. It will feature a group stage played online followed by a LAN featuring the top 4 teams. The LAN portion will be played on August 27th,28th and 29th at the WePlay Esports Arena in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Recently, several leagues have begun to pop up. Luckily, they will be supporting lower tier teams in the scene. Overall every move aimed at lower tier competition is a welcome addition to the esports scene.