Esports Around The World is a series of profiles outlining the esports ecosystem in various countries globally. The series ties into ESI’s international esports business events, which take place around the world.
Malta is a modest but rising force in the global esports industry. Despite few esports organisations hailing from the small Mediterranean archipelago, there are a handful of domestically-focused tournaments held there, such as the Eden Esports’ Malta Vibes Knockout Series. The international ESL Pro League has also been held in Malta since 2020 apart from a stint online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Esports continues to be key in developing Malta’s digital economy, and the country’s gambling body GamingMalta has made an especially notable effort to build out Malta as an appealing location for video game companies and esports tournaments. Malta has a very large gambling and iGaming industry thanks to lax regulations and its status as a European Union country.
A combination of Maltese stakeholders hosted an inaugural game development and esports expo, called Playcon, in 2019. After setbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the second edition of Playcon took place in 2022.
The country’s focus on the education sector is particularly of note, with a variety of schemes in place. Malta has its own esports educational platform, Level Academy, despite its size. It notably runs the SAFE (Student Advancement Frame Programme) educational programme, designed to increase the knowledge of esports for both students and parents.
In 2022, ESL Gaming and government non-profit GamingMalta agreed to keep the ESL Pro League finals on the island until at least the 2024 edition, further expanding the connection between the ESL FACEIT Group and Malta.
GamingMalta has also partnered with the Champion of Champions tour in CS:GO, and hosted the first Studio Finals of the CCT Central Europe Series.
Brazilian esports organisation FURIA opened an office in Malta in early 2023 to keep its CS:GO and simulation racing rosters closer to mainland Europe.
The Maltese government has not officially recognised esports as a sport or in any other capacity.
However, the Government of Malta co-founded GamingMalta, an independent non-profit foundation to promote the country’s iGaming sector, which additionally helps promote Malta as an esports destination.
In 2018, GamingMalta and Eden Leisure Group hosted the first Malta eSports Forum — a conference introducing and discussing the country’s esports scene — in which sitting politician Silvio Schembri, the then-Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation, delivered an introductory speech.
Government-founded GamingMalta has also signed deals with high-profile organisations such as ESL to host Pro League events in a bid to establish Malta as a home for esports business and professionals, and to make the country a go-to destination for esports events.
Notable Tournaments & Leagues
Malta has hosted modest tournaments in a variety of esports titles as it seeks to make a name for itself in the industry. Most notably, it is home to the ESL Pro League thanks to ESL’s partnership with GamingMalta.
Notable Esports Organisations
Note that this is a non-exhaustive list and exclusion does not signify an org is not notable.
National Associations / Federations
Note that inclusion in this list does not suggest any acknowledgement from ESI of its authority, works or official capacity.
Malta is home to Level Academy, the country’s first esports educational platform. It designs and implements training programmes for aspiring esports professionals, from amateur to professional level, according to its website. It also operates introductory courses about esports and live streaming.
Level Academy’s SAFE programme brings senior students and parents a number of different esports activities. It aims to ensure parents back the programme, and so organises educational events including talks on the positive and negative relationship between mental health and video games.
Level Academy, in collaboration with the Mater Boni Consilii St Joseph School Paola, hosted Malta’s first-ever in-school introductory esports training programme, which involved a variety of teaching in a six-part educational programme on esports and game development.
The GBSB Global Business School offers a Sports and Esports management degree in Malta, consisting of 120 ECTS points and lasting for three years.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article removed reference to Level Academy’s SAFE programme, details of which have now been reinstated.
This is a preliminary country profile and will be augmented with additional information over time. If you have any suggestions or feedback for this profile, please get in touch at [email protected]. First published: April 23rd 2022. Last updated: August 11th 2023.