10 WESA Teams to Participate in Inaugural Paladins Season; Marks Second Professional League for the Organization
NEW YORK CITY – August 31, 2017 – Today, WESA is announcing a new Paladins Premier League (PPL) in cooperation with Hi-Rez Studios. The inaugural season of this professional Paladins PC League will begin fall 2017 with participation of ten WESA Member teams including EnVyUS, Fnatic, G2 Esports, mouseports, Natus Vincere, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Renegades, SK Gaming, Splyce and Virtus.Pro. The PPL will be the second professional esports competition played under WESA guidance.
“Paladins has emerged as an innovative first person shooter (FPS) title and Hi-Rez has a track record of supporting endemic esports organizations and players,” said Ken Hershman, Executive Chairman and Commissioner of WESA. “For WESA, this is an important milestone as it marks our second esports title.”
As part of the launch of the league, Hi-Rez Studios has partnered with WESA to split league revenues with participating teams, and to guarantee a minimum salary to players. These measures, combined with the global reach of the 10 WESA teams, give the PPL an exciting foundation from which to grow.
“Hi-Rez is very excited that the world’s most popular and experienced esports teams have chosen to partner with us in launching PPL under the leadership of WESA,” said Todd Harris, Hi-Rez Studios Chief Operating Officer. “We see an incredible community appetite for competitive Paladins and the PPL will showcase the highest tier of Paladins esports within North America and Europe. In addition, we applaud WESA’s initiative to professionalize esports and will be working closely with them toward this goal.”
Paladins has skyrocketed in popularity since entering open beta in September 2016, welcoming more than 15 million players and becoming the most-played new Steam game of that year. With the growth in players came demand for a top-tier esports league, only made possible through partnership between WESA and Hi-Rez Studios.
Media rights and further details regarding the structure of PPL will be announced prior to the start of the season.
While WESA has sanctioned the Paladins Premier League regulations and player treatment, the PPL is not exclusive to WESA and the intention is that non-WESA member teams may join as the league expands.
WESA was founded in May 2016 and counts as its Members thirteen of the world’s most popular esports teams (EnVyUS, FaZe Clan, Fnatic, G2 Esports, mousesports, Natus Vincere, Ninjas in Pyjamas, North, OpTic Gaming, Renegades, SK Gaming, Splyce and Virtus.pro) together with ESL, the world’s largest esports company. This elite group shares a collective vision to continue to professionalize esports by introducing elements of player representation, standardized regulations and revenue sharing for teams. Based on traditional sports association models, WESA also aims to create predictable schedules for fans, players, organizers and broadcasters by engaging all appropriate stakeholders. Pro League for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Paladins are the first two professional esports competition played under WESA regulations.
About Hi-Rez Studios
Atlanta-based Hi-Rez Studios was established in 2005 to create exceptional online interactive entertainment, and is now one of the largest video game studios in the Southeast United States. Its latest games include SMITE: Battleground of the Gods, a mythological third-person multiplayer online battle arena; Paladins: Champions of the Realm, a highly-customizable fantasy team-based shooter; and Hand of the Gods: SMITE Tactics, a turn-based strategy collectible card game. More at www.hirezstudios.com.
FOR Hi-Rez Studios