After an action-packed week at the Shangri-La Hotel, the Mobile Legends: Bang (MLBB) M2 World Champion culminated last night in a thrilling grand final between eventual winners Bren Esports of the Philippines and Myanmar’s Burmese Ghouls, concluding among the first significant sports occasions that Singapore has actually staged this year amid the pandemic.

The Jan 18-24 occasion, which featured two regional and 10 foreign teams, faced an early difficulty simply days before the start when 3 players from Brazilian team DreamMax checked positive for Covid-19.

However the US$ 300,000 (S$ 398,540) tournament went on smoothly behind closed doors with no other coronavirus cases and the Brazil group contended while separating in their hotel rooms.

With the event considered a success, the organisers and experts say that it shows that Singapore is able and prepared to host significant sports events during this Covid-19 period.

Lee Shu Ling, manager of Deloitte South-east Asia’s sports organization group, said: “This occasion has actually definitely proven Singapore’s ability to host and organise such significant occasions, even in the middle of an international pandemic with strict safe distancing limitations and guidelines.”

Singapore Cybersports and Online Gaming Association (Scoga) co-founder Nicholas Khoo said the other day that the success of the world champion has erased doubts of Singapore’s ability to host significant e-sports competitions owing to aspects such as expense and its little market size.

” As evidenced by the successful organisation of M2, Singapore is a trusted and safe location for world-class events,” he included.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong said in a Facebook post the other day: “E-sports has a great deal of capacity for development here, and we are in a good position to become a local center. In time to come, I am positive that we will construct a successful e-sports environment, and support more Singaporean e-sports legends!”

The week-long tournament was co-organised by MLBB designer Moonton and Scoga, with the support of the Singapore Tourist Board.

In the other day’s final, Bren beat Burmese Ghouls 4-3 in the best-of-seven series to claim the winner’s payout of up to US$ 140,000 (S$ 186,000).

Singapore has also formerly hosted the 2017 world champion for mobile game Vainglory, which had a US$ 140,000 prize pool, while the US$ 500,000 One Esports Dota 2 Singapore World Pro Invitational was staged here in 2019.

Recently’s occasion could lead the way for more competitions, with Moonton managing director Lucas Mao stating that Singapore “will definitely be high up in the list of possible host cities for our future world champions”.

Such occasions can just be an advantage for the Republic, as Lee included that this would “strengthen our position as an international sporting hub for the most popular and emerging sports, which in turn can improve tourist and the economy”.

She likewise indicated aspects that make Singapore an ideal destination for e-sports occasions, such as its area within Asia, which is the worldwide hotspot for e-sports and one of the first to accept e-sports in major Games such as the 2019 SEA Games in the Philippines and the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.

Singapore likewise boasts some of the strongest infrastructure for technology on the planet and has an IT-literate population, included Lee.

The Republic has hosted world-class occasions such as Formula One’s Singapore Grand Prix, HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens and football’s International Champions Cup.

While noting that Singapore has a track record of hosting marquee sporting occasions, she kept in mind that e-sports “is a whole various principle and it requires its own infrastructure for tournaments, streaming and centers for the groups”.

Large quantities of bandwidth and a trusted network are required to host an effective e-sports tournament to guarantee an excellent experience for players and spectators.

Khoo believes Singapore has revealed that it is a perfect location to hold such competitions, pointing to South Korean e-sports team T1 choosing to hold its Dota 2 boot camp here early last year.

Education in e-sports is likewise crucial in helping Singapore gain its grip in the market.

Lee stated: “With heightened promotion and more e-sports viewership comes increased investment from sponsors, and more gamers and fans would translate to greater engagement and costs throughout the marketplace, bringing the interest of e-sports game developers and franchises and setting the stage for Singapore as an e-sports competition destination.”