SINGAPORE - After hosting some of the world's best Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB) players at the M2 World Championship in January, Singapore will stage its first-ever independent MLBB professional league this year, Singtel announced on Thursday (Feb 4).
The first season of the MLBB Professional League (MPL Singapore), which has a prize pool of up to $100,000, is presented by Singtel's PVP Esports and the game's developer Moonton.
The launch of MPL Singapore means that there will be separate competitions for the top MLBB teams from Singapore and Malaysia.
Previously, teams from the two countries competed in a competition called MPL MYSG.
Robert "Oh Deer Bambi" Boon, 23, from e-sports team Kingsmen believes that having a standalone MLBB league in Singapore will give local players more opportunities to compete.
He said: "It actually showcases the growth of our local e-sports scene in the past few years. With Mobile Legends taking the first step of having its own independent league in Singapore, hopefully other games will follow suit."
As the offline event for MPL MYSG was usually held in Malaysia, it made it harder for players from Singapore to travel over because of work or school commitments. The undergraduate a, who has participated in four MPL MYSG seasons, added: "With this dedicated league in Singapore, that problem is gone and a lot of us who used to face such issues are more likely to take part in this competition.
"There are many undiscovered talents in Singapore who have not made their breakthrough yet and MPL Singapore gives them that platform to shine."
Fellow gamer Lim "ly4ly4ly4" Yang, 27, who is from RSG, said he will miss competing against the Malaysian teams.
He said: "The other countries have their own domestic leagues which are not merged with that of another country, so I'm happy that we have our own identity now. I believe that having our own pro league in Singapore will motivate more local players to strive harder to break into the pro scene."
Qualifiers for MPL Singapore are scheduled to take place in March and eight teams - six invited and the top two from the qualifiers - will participate in the regular season play-offs in April and May. The qualifiers will be held online and a hybrid model is being evaluated for subsequent matches.
Winners of MPL Singapore will advance to Moonton's regional and global MLBB tournaments.
Last month's US$300,000 (S$400,605) M2 World Championship, one of the first international sports tournaments in Singapore this year, was held behind closed doors at the Shangri-La Hotel.
It ran into an early hurdle just days before the start when three players from Brazilian team DreamMax tested positive for Covid-19, but the Jan 18-24 event proceeded with no other Covid-19 cases and the Brazil team competed while isolating in their hotel rooms.
Having organised e-sports events such as PVP Esports Community Championships and SuperGamerFest 2020 in recent years, Singtel, which was also the M2 World Championship's official network partner, hopes that MPL Singapore will help to develop the local gaming ecosystem.
Cindy Tan, Singtel's International Group head of business and marketing, said: "Through MPL Singapore, we hope to discover and support new local gaming talents and at the same time, strengthen collaborations with game developers, brand sponsors, various agencies and institutions to build a vibrant gaming scene in Singapore and the region."
Lucas Mao, managing director of Moonton, added: "As the Singapore e-sports scene is developing rapidly, we would be committing to provide more opportunities to local players, teams and brands to participate in our journey to building the e-sports ecosystem in Singapore with whom we look forward to build relationships that will last for coming years."
Registration for the tournament closes on Feb 21. Visit their website for more information.