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Alibaba injects $149m into eSports, partnering with governing body IeSF to gain it recognition as a sport

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By John McCarthy, Opinion editor

July 28, 2016 | 2 min read

International eSports Federation (IeSF), the global body for eSports, operating across 47 countries, has found itself an ally in Alibaba in a bid to get gaming recognised as a sport - and even an Olympic activity.

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The Chinese ecommerce giant has acknowledged the growing importance of eSports with its Alisports wing previously launching the WESG tournament series that it hopes will attract both amateur and professional players.

As a result of the "exclusive strategic partnership", the IeSF will fully endorse WESG Game Series initiatives while jointly campaigning to have eSports recognised as a legitimate sport across the globe. To boost the competitiveness of the tournaments, Alisports has invested more than 1bn yuan ($149m), with to date, prize money of $5.5m offered.

Alisports chief, Mr. Zhang Dazhong said: “As the most authoritative international organisation in e-sports industry, IeSF has been committed to promoting eSports movement into the mainstream, including pushing it into the Olympic Games.

“We are honored to cooperate with IeSF as the exclusive global partners in a long-term. I believe the two sides will jointly promote the development of the global eSports industry.”

IeSF President, Mr Byung Hun Jun said that "IeSF and Alisports will maximise each other’s strength" and the drive will attract gamers from all over the world.

The LeSF boasts 47 member National Federations, having been founded in South Korea in 2008.

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