The New Zealand Esports Federation and Australian Esports Association have announced the establishment of the Oceania Esports Council.
The two organisations have moved from competing on the electronic playing field to cooperating on the international stage.
The OEC’s purpose is to represent Oceania at international meetings focusing on esports’ inclusion in the Olympics and co-operation on industry issues.
The Australian Esports Association (AESA) was established in 2013 and The New Zealand Esports Federation (NZESF) in 2016. During this time both groups have sent national representative teams to international competitions and have had regular dialogue. Both share common goals on esports integrity, governance, and the development of all esports, including amateur and professional.
Esports in Australasia have enjoyed strong growth recently. The AESA and NZESF have recognised a greater need to collaborate in the development of regulation, policy, anti-bullying initiatives, international cooperation and player opportunities for the Oceania region.
Ben Lenihan, President, New Zealand Esports Federation says this is a big moment in trans-Tasman esports relations. “We are delighted to have reached an agreement after 12 months of dialogue to formalise our relationship. The need for a common representative is of more importance now as the goal of Olympic recognition gets closer.”
Darren Kwan, President, Australian Esports Association echoes Lenihan’s thoughts. “A core value of mine is to ensure the players are given greater recognition and credibility for their skill and achievements,” Kwan says. “This is achieved by building access to platforms and programmes that share this value. Both the New Zealand Esports Federation and Australian Esports Association have been advocating for esports to be recognised as a sport since they were established, and these efforts are beginning to bear fruit.”
The council will include two voluntary representatives from each party and an independent nominated chair. The council will seek an Australian or New Zealand candidate for the role who has experience in sports governance.