ESL and U.S. Air Force partnership takes flight

Tournament operator ESL has named the U.S. Air Force as the first official Armed Forces Partner of the ESL CS:GO Pro Tour in North America. 

The deal builds upon an existing relationship between the pair when the U.S. Air Force became an official partner of ESL’s Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) New York and ESL Pro League Season 11 in February 2020.

Photo credit: ESL / Carlton Beener

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As a result, the partnership will now span DreamHack Masters, DreamHack Showdown, ESL Pro League Season 13, DreamHack Open Online, ESL Pro League Season 14, and IEM North America, as well as the US branch of ESEA and CSGO HUB.

Barry Dickey, Director of Strategic Marketing for Air Force Recruiting Service commented in a release: “The Air Force is excited to continue our partnership with ESL, which serves as the perfect platform to reach a key demographic for us. We feel this collaboration is a great fit because we are able to showcase the shared interests of teamwork, problem solving skills, and intellectual challenges with both the audience ESL has grown and the Air Force.”

ESL’s partnership with the U.S. Air Force is said to be ‘highlighted by’ the Aim High broadcast integration and Wingman Wednesday, a new tournament series on the organiser’s CS:GO matchmaking platform ESEA. The air service military branch will additionally be the ‘Report Card partner’ on CSGO HUB.

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Armed forces representation is becoming increasingly more common in the esports industry; the U.S Air Force alone has also partnered with Cloud9’s CS:GO roster and event organiser ELEAGUE in the past. Meanwhile, the U.S. Army and National Guard sport a laundry list of current and former esports partners including the High School Esports League, NRG Esports, Complexity Gaming, Ultimate Gaming Championship, and the Call of Duty League.

Esports Insider says: The esports industry is a golden opportunity for armed forces as they look to recruit young men and women to serve their country. The ethicality of this practice came to a boiling head earlier this year, even making its way in front of the U.S. House, but has since seemed to simmer down.

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