Mobile operator Three has announced it's sponsoring a new Irish League of Legends esports tournament: Ireland’s EStars League.
The tournament will commence in March 2018 and is open to anyone over the age of 13.
It's being billed as 'Ireland’s first ever major esports tournament', with the finals taking place in Dublin's 3Arena on Sunday May 13th 2018. The venue has a capacity of 13,000 for a fully standing show and 9,000 for a seated event.
Teams will contain five players representing a football team from the League of Ireland, including the likes of Shamrock Rovers, Cork City, Bohemian FC and more, with a further team representing Three.
During the group stages, the tournament will be hosted in two venues each week, with each team contesting one weekly game.
"We are delighted with this partnership with Three, bringing the first major esports tournament to Ireland."
Mags Byrne, Ireland's EStars
To enter the tournament, teams can visit www.estars.pro and complete the application form. 50 successful entrants will compete in the first Three Ireland’s EStars League Finals, which will see one team share a cash prize of €20,000.
There will be regional bouts on board Big Betty - the mobile esports truck - as teams battle one another to reach the final.
The event will also feature guest performances from YouTube superstars The F2 Freestylers and dance sensations Prodijig.
Commenting on the Three Ireland’s EStars League, Karl Donnelly, head of sponsorship at Three, said: "We are delighted to announce this sponsorship of the EStars League which will deliver a really unique experience.
"With this partnership, we are further enhancing our offering to customers in the gaming community, having recently announced the first smartphone from gaming giant Razer which is available exclusively on the Three network."
Mags Byrne, MD at Ireland's EStars, added: "Three is a forward thinking, innovative brand and we are delighted with this partnership, bringing the first major esports tournament to Ireland.
"The Three Ireland’s EStars League provides a platform where competitors can test their mettle, and the final at the 3Arena will provide Ireland’s newest breed of esport champions the platform and opportunity to shine."
There will be two host clubs per night, with venues to be confirmed in the New Year. The venues will be the Stadiums of the host clubs or a venue near to that club.
Organisers speak to Esports News UK about community concerns
Some pockets of the community had expressed their frustration that only players can enter individually, as opposed to pre-made teams or orgs.
Adam Whyte, head of esports and gaming at the Goat Agency, who's assisting with the event, told Esports News UK: "We want it to be a grassroots opportunity for people of all skill levels. We're going to do an in-depth analysis of who the best players are.
"We have no aversion to people saying they'd like to play with certain players, but ultimately it will be down to the teams to pick who they want."
On the logistical issues, where players may be required to travel around Ireland to play at different venues, Adam said: "We're going to try to make it as convenient as possible for everyone. We're going to have dedicated team managers who are going to look after logistics and travel.
"The furthest people would have to travel is Cork to Derry, and they'll only have to do it one time."