After its four year battle with Sport New Zealand, the New Zealand Esports Federation (NZESF) has announced on the 20th of March that it met the benchmark to become the National Sporting Organisation (NSO) for esports in New Zealand.
As only the twenty-fifth country to recognize a national body for esports, New Zealand is at the forefront of establishing esports within the global sporting arena, as progress is also being made to incorporate esports in the Paralympics and Olympics.
With the recognition as an NSO, the NZESF is now able to aid teams, tournament organisers, and players throughout the country on issues such as visas, taxation, prize money distribution, and work to build resources for incorporating esports into New Zealand’s school curriculums. Sport New Zealand will also provide resources to the NZESF to support player costs for those competing internationally, helping promote New Zealand’s talent overseas.
We spoke briefly with NZESF President Ben Lenihan who said, “This announcement is the culmination of 4 years hard work by the NZESF team. In that time, we have seen esports grow from a minority fringe activity to one of the most in-demand media and sporting properties in the world.”
He also added, “The NZESF committee see the NZESF’s new status as a National Sporting Organisation as an opportunity to push esports in New Zealand to the next level. New Zealand now has the pieces in place to once again punch above its weight in a major world sporting code, as we have done in so many others.”
“We are absolutely thrilled with this decision by Sport New Zealand. Recognition of the NZESF as the official National Sporting Organisation for esports is a key step in moving esports forward,” says NZESF President Ben Lenihan on last week’s ruling.
He also added that the core goals for the NZESF is to help support volunteer-run organisations who provide New Zealanders with career opportunities in esports. The NZESF’s team now has even greater reach across the country to fund grassroots community competition, as well as school competitions and programmes.
Started in March 2016, the NZESF has previously been bound and limited by their pro-bono nature, but with the funding and support that comes with the recognition as a NSO, people can expect to see more activity and support from the NZESF.