MANILA, Philippines -- Esports has opened up plenty of opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic, even beyond the professional players and streamers.
It has also emerged as a legitimate career path for professionals running the scenes behind the cameras -- from shoutcasting and streaming to graphic designing, game development, and marketing.
More opportunities are expected to emerge after the establishment of the Collegiate Center for Esports (CCE), which streams on CALM Network. The Rebel Sports and Bio-Agrownica-backed tournament is the first organized campus-based league.
"There's an array of careers in esports, and shoutcasting is just one of those," said veteran caster Caisam "Wolf" Nopueto who is one of many to have found a living through the sport.
As more schools venture into esports as a legitimate program, its viability as a career path also becomes stronger.
"Esports is really becoming a career path. There is really a goal here (not just from a gaming standpoint). You can be a videogame designer, producer or programmer in the future," said De La Salle-College of St. Benilde (CSB) athletic director Dax Castalleno.
"It's a successful program for us so far," he added, as CSB is one of the universities to establish an esports course.
Among those who have found a career path in esports through CCE is 20-year-old student Santie Magcalas, who now serves as a caster in the league along with Wolf and Shin Boo Ponferrada.
"Napakalaki ng esports community at lumalaki pa. Hindi na lang siya tungkol sa mga players. Binubuo siya ng iba't ibang tao. Mas maraming opportunities, mas maraming trabaho," said Magcalas, a tourism management student.
Ponferrada, who has worked in different capacities in esports community since 2014, believes these opportunities will only become better.
"The thing about esports shoutcasting is it is a very dependent profession. Kung walang esports, wala kami. But as long as it continues to be successful, it would be a really lucrative career especially when traditional media also started venturing into it," he said.
"The exciting part here is the idea of bringing the schools in. It bridges the gap between the academe, traditional sports and Esports. Imagine the possibilities of combining that together through CCE," he added.
Meanwhile, action in the CCE MLBB: 1-on-1 Exhibition Matches will reach its breaking point this weekend in the start of the eight-team playoffs featuring CSB, Lyceum of the Philippines University, Emilio Aguinaldo College, Jose Rizal University, San Beda University, San Sebastian College - Recoletos, University of Perpetual Help System DALTA, and Mapua University.
The CCE 1v1 tilt is serving as an appetizer for the 5-on-5 Varsity Cup next month before the league rolls out the carpet for its regular season pitting regular esports players soon.