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Esports granted official status by Sport New Zealand

23 Mar 2020

Esports has hit a milestone in the fight to establish itself as a legitimate presence in the wider sporting community in New Zealand, as the New Zealand Esports Federation (NZESF) announces it has been confirmed as a National Sporting Organisation in the country.

Sports New Zealand recently completed its assessment of the NZESF and officially cemented its status in a formalised by letter last Friday.

NZESF says New Zealand is only the twenty-first country in the world to officially recognise a national body for esports, whether directly or through their National Olympic Committees or national sport agencies.

“We are absolutely thrilled with this decision by Sport New Zealand,” says NZESF President Ben Lenihan.

“Recognition of the NZESF as the official National Sporting Organisation for esports is a key step in moving esports forward.”

The NZESF’s new status means increased clarity on regulation, education and distribution of esports within New Zealand. 

Guidelines and processes for visas and tax statuses, prize money distribution regulation for players, resources towards education and more structured guidelines for esports tournament organisers will aid the growth of esports within the country, according to the NZESF.

The incorporation of the foundation as a national sporting body will also bolster efforts to raise the profile and legitimacy of esports as a major part of the greater sporting culture in New Zealand and around the world. 

Burgeoning game-streaming companies, esport tournament organisers, and players themselves will benefit from the new status, says NZESF. 

The federation also hopes last week’s news will help dispel more conservative attitudes towards esports’ place in the general sporting community.

“With this official support we are able to help regulate framework around esports to ensure fair play for all, fund growth of the industry and provide education on what esports is and how New Zealanders can get involved,” says Lenihan.

“We can also begin to put in place a clear pathway from community groups and fun online play to young New Zealanders becoming esports professionals. 

“We are confident that New Zealand can punch above its weight in esports, as it does in so many other sports.”

Core objectives of the NZESF moving forward include supporting esports nationally, helping to boost solely volunteer organisations to be able to provide employment opportunities, creating career pathways and advancing the industry. 

Funding will allow community groups, councils and schools to be educated around esports and will support development from grassroots clubs to professional organisations and country representatives, says the NZESF.

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