Swedish tech start-up Challengermode has expanded competition for the Balkans through its National Esports Leagues initiative.
Partnering with Fortuna Esports, the Esports Balkan League (EBL) has been brought under the National Esports Leagues banner as part of Riot Games’ European Regional League program, with the top two teams qualifying for the European Masters.
Philip Hübner, Head of Business Development & Strategy at Challengermode discussed the venture in a statement: “We’re incredibly proud of what Fortuna are setting up in the region, and excited for the roll-out of the National Leagues in the Balkan. The guys have done a formidable job at setting up what we believe is the best-case scenario for amateur and casual players alike. A clear path from the amateur level of play to the absolute top for those wishing to get there, and a place to consistently play with players of your own skill level for those simply wishing to engage in competitive play for fun.”
What’s confirmed at time of writing is that Serbia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro will all have national competitions starting April. Fortuna will lead events in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, while Challengermode’s NEL will organise Montenegro and Slovenia alongside the Esports Association of Montenegro and Društvo za elektronske športe respectively.
Mihajlo Džaril, CEO of Fortuna Esports also commented: “The development of amateur competitions has always been one of our top priorities because we believe that it is necessary to have a healthy foundation that will support the highest competitive rank, which is currently EBL.
“At the moment we have a situation where players who played in the first Junior Cups, organized in cooperation with Asus, are now debuting in EBL teams and representing new talents in our region. The National Leagues will provide an even better and more straightforward framework for all players and teams who have the desire to prove themselves and show that they have what it takes to succeed.”
Earlier this month, Challengermode brought in the previously-independent Finnish Esports League under the National Esports Leagues banner.
Esports Insider says: Challengermode is definitely being ambitious with the amount of opportunities it’s looking to offer amateur teams in under-developed regions and countries and it could really pay off. The future waves of talent in esports need to come from somewhere and who knows, perhaps the Balkans could well contribute to that!