E-sports: Singapore to host US$300,000 M2 World Championship in January

The Mobile Legends: Bang Bang M2 World Championship will take place in Singapore on Jan 18-24 in 2021. PHOTO: COURTESY OF MOONTON

SINGAPORE - The world's top Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB) players will set foot in Singapore from Jan 18-24, with the Republic set to host the MLBB M2 World Championship behind closed doors.

Teams will compete for a prize purse of US$300,000 (S$402,210) at the Shangri-La Hotel, with the necessary Covid-19 measures in place.

The M2 World Championship is co-organised by Mobile Legends game developer Moonton and the Singapore Cybersports and Online Gaming Association (Scoga) with the support of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).

Mobile Legends is a mobile multi-player online battle arena game in which two opposing teams battle to destroy the enemy's base while defending their own base, and the teams vie for control of a path which connects the bases.

When asked about the Covid-19 protocols, Moonton said it has "worked together with various industry experts to put up an operational plan that adheres to the safe management measures required by the local authorities", but did not provide specific details.

It said that more information about the number of people who are expected to fly in for the competition would be available once the teams are announced.

The M2 World Championship will be the second live sports event to welcome overseas-based athletes.

Mixed martial arts promotion One Championship has been working with the STB to stage several events here since Oct 9, which have all featured foreign-based fighters.

There have been strict measures in place for each of the three fights, including Friday's (Dec 4) Big Bang event.

As part of the measures, overseas-based fighters are tested four times - before they fly to Singapore, upon arrival, and before and after the fight - while others will be tested twice.

After being tested upon arrival in Singapore, athletes, cornermen and staff are required to remain in isolation until they receive a negative test result.

While they are in Singapore, travelling is limited to the event "bubble". Training is restricted to private designated areas within the hotel and fighters have to follow strict schedules.

This is not the first time that the STB is backing an e-sports tournament.

It also supported the US$1 million Dota 2 Singapore Major organised by One Esports, which was scheduled to take place in June but eventually did not materialise because of the pandemic.

Jean Ng, STB's executive director for attractions, entertainment and tourism concept development, said: "The growth of e-sports continues to accelerate, especially in such uncertain times. We are heartened to welcome a global title like Mobile Legends, as we safely and gradually resume events in Singapore.

"Moonton's confidence in hosting the M2 World Championship in Singapore is a testament to our reputation as a safe and trusted destination and we will continue to step up the necessary precautionary measures to ensure the safety and well-being of all visitors."

Nicholas Khoo, co-founder of Scoga, added: "Hosting one of the world's biggest events right here in Singapore not only gives hope to so many e-sports fans in a time of unprecedented disruption, it also provides many opportunities to Singaporeans and encouragement to pursue their dreams and aspirations."

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