Grassroots esports league to air on Philippines TV called the Unity League

13 February 2024


Unity League Mobile Legends: Bang Bang
Image credit: PTV

Philippines government-owned broadcaster People’s Television Network (PTV) is launching a grassroots esports league called the Unity League.

The aim is to produce players who can compete as esports athletes for Team Sibol, the Philippines’ national esports team.

ESI London 2024

The first season of the Unity League will be a nationwide Mobile Legends: Bang Bang tournament and will be open to all government units. According to the Philippines’ Local Government Code of 1991, this can be a province, city, municipality or a barangay.

The technical and operational side of the tournament will be run by the Philippines Esports Organisation (PESO). The non-profit organisation based in Mandaluyong City is backed by Smart Communications and is comprised of multiple esports companies that came together under one banner, these include Bren Esports, Tier One Entertainment, and many more.

It is also a recognised National Sports Association (NSA) of the International Esports Federation (IESF) and a member of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).

Mobile Legends: Bang Bang is just the start for Unity League as Marlon Marcelo, the executive director of PESO, spoke about how the league would expand in later seasons: “The first season of the Unity League will feature Mobile Legends as our first game title. In the upcoming seasons, we would want to organise other esports categories such as League of Legends, Dota 2, VALORANT and Tekken.”

At first, the PTV announced a prize pool amounting to ₱1m (~£14,000), with half of that going to the inaugural champions of the Unity League.

However, the Speaker for the Philippines House of Representatives, Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, announced that he was committed to raising the prize pool offered by the PTV. He stated: “We want to inspire all our stakeholders here, we are upping the ante, so we will be awarding to the champion two million pesos. Second place one million pesos and third place half a million pesos.”

One of the aims of the tournament is to find players who can compete for Team Sibol, who attend the Southeast Asia Games which has had esports events since 2019. Since then Team Sibol has won seven gold medals. Romualdez stated: “Do not look to the Unity League as a mere competition.

“It is a chance to showcase your skills, to represent your communities, and to be part of something bigger than yourselves. It is an opportunity to be at the forefront of an exciting and emerging field, to potentially become national esports athletes under Team Sibol, and to contribute to our country’s success on the international stage.”

The first season of the Unity League will host regional qualifiers which will be open to any Filipino who is aged 18 or above. Registration for these qualifiers will take place in February and March, depending on the region.

Dafydd Gwynn