Esports in Singapore is about to get its largest financial boost yet, as Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan announced on Monday (9 September) that he would commit $10 million to the scene over the next twelve months.
In a Facebook post, Tan said his move was partly due to a letter published on The Straits Times Forum pages on Friday.
In the letter, a Juliana Foo said she had found it “difficult to accept esports as a medal sport” at this year's SEA Games, where Razer is the official esports partner.
Singapore will be sending a contingent of esports athletes to the SEA Games in Manila this year, to compete in several games such as Dota 2, Starcraft and Hearthstone.
Foo had also said that “athletes rigorously, abide by a strict diet and hone their physical prowess" and that "gaming falls short in these aspects”.
Professional esports teams have strict training regimens that are modelled after sports, including the use of coaches.
Some teams, like the record-breaking OG team that won The International 2019's $15 million top prize in August, also employ the services of sports psychologists.
Even in Singapore, the Singapore Cybersports and Online Gaming Association has enlisted the help of nutritionists for esports professionals who have represented the country in various regional tournaments.
Tan, in his post, said he was “incredibly grateful” for the support Razer has had from the Singaporean government and Singaporeans alike, and that he was “still a Singaporean citizen” despite having founded the company in the US.
He also referenced Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing's comments in Parliament on 4 September, where the minister had shared several initiatives the government was taking to help the esports scene in Singapore.
Tan said his $10 million pledge for gaming and esports activities in Singapore will include “supporting esports teams in Singapore as well as investing in gaming/esports companies in Singapore or founded by Singaporean’s”.
“We are one of the largest esports brands in the world, and personally as a Singaporean, I’m looking forward to giving back and doing more for my country.”
Tan, who is in Berlin for the IFA tech exhibition, ended his post referencing the ST forum letter, writing, “PS: This is also partly due to the letter sent to the ST Forum last week about how esports shouldn’t be considered a sport – I thought I would put $10m into developing esports in Singapore just to troll the letter writer.”
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