Japan’s national pro baseball league, The Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), has branched out of baseball to launch a Splatoon 2 esports league in partnership with Nintendo.
Last week the NPB announced an official esports baseball league; officially titled The eBaseball Pawpuro Pro League. The league uses the popular Konami title ‘Jikkyo Powerful Pro Yakyu’, known internationally as ‘Power Pros’. This announcement added NPB to the growing list of sports league housing events for their own sports league, the National Basketball Association (NBA) partnering with 2K and F1 has recently completed its Pro Draft ahead of the next F1 Esports Series.
This latest announcement will see the NPB holding an esport event outside of their respective game. Trading in cartoon baseball player for ink spraying squid people. The Splatoon 2 league will feature the 12 NPB clubs, with competition set to kick off in Spring 2019.
— 日本野球機構（NPB） (@npb) July 27, 2018
Splatoon 2 as an esports could be best described as ‘grassroots’. This latest news is a huge shift in Splatoon 2 as an esports, until now, leagues such as The Scottish Esports League, ESL Play and EndGameTV have been the home of the scene. A scene, which has a community hungry for more.
Nintendo has always been willing for tournament operators to use Splatoon in their events, as Brian Houston of the Scottish Esports League told us back in May “They were one of the first publishers to fully back not only SEL but Esports Scotland as well. When publishers declined, we’d add in a Switch game since Nintendo offered us prizes for all of them”.
Esports Insider says: Nintendo has an odd history with esports and adopting mainstream change. While Smash has been a big hit within the fighting game community, Nintendo has never really made a game that could be considered ‘esports ready. The Splatoon series has changed that, with the game being picked up by a number of smaller tournament operators, though news of it being apart of the NPB is certainly one of the biggest esports ventures for the game.