EQUALITY IN GAMING AND ESPORTS
At the Digital X and SPOBIS events, I had an opportunity to speak with Alexander T. Müller, CEO of the esports organization SK Gaming, about why more diversity in esports and gaming is important and how we at Deutsche Telekom can promote it.
When you look at the gaming community as a whole, there appears to be a rough balance between women and men. But at the level of professional esports, the share of women is considerably lower. Studies show that 31% of female players do not reveal they are women for fear of facing discriminating comments from male players. After all, female gamers are three times more likely to receive such comments than their male counterparts. SK Gaming began tackling this problem as long ago as 2003 and, since then, has been doing highly successful work with female teams.
Promoting women has been a big topic for me for years. We at Deutsche Telekom were one of the first DAX-listed companies to put the advancement of women in the business world front and center stage. Now, we want to bring about a sea change in the world of esports as well, because this is an area where we see a strong imbalance in a still very male-dominated community.
START OF A LONG-TERM INITIATIVE FOR FEMALE PLAYERS
That is why we have launched the #equalesports initiative, the aim of which is to break down longstanding traditions in gaming and esports. For some time now, we have been working in many different initiatives – like #goodmagenta – to tackle issues and provide serious ongoing support. These aren’t short-term campaigns, but ones with a longer time horizon, a lot of commitment, and corresponding resources. The #equalesports initiative is the next link in this chain.
We want to create a safe space and a positive environment in which all gamers are empowered to live their dream. In the shape of the SK Gaming’s training center, the SK Magenta facility in Cologne, we have an established and outstanding partnership and the right location to nurture female players, not just in terms of their gaming performance, but also in aspects such as nutrition, fitness, and media literacy. Our goal is to work to ensure respectful behavior between players in the gaming and esports sector.
TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
One of my biggest concerns is to encourage female players and give them opportunities previously unavailable to them, so that further down the line we can strike a balance between men and women and even field mixed teams. But we are only at the start of our journey and it will be one step at a time. By the end of the year, female players will already be competing in the Prime League in League of Legends. In preparation for that, they will be invited to attend training camps at SK Gaming and will be mentored by strong women in esports. Through SK Gaming, I have already had an opportunity to get to know these women and was very impressed by them. Eefje, Laure, Georgia, and Lara will make excellent role models for other female players.
On top of that, the esports player foundation will play a key role in the initiative, not only promoting the top female players, but helping the rank and file as well. In my opinion, SK Gaming, the esports player foundation, and Deutsche Telekom are working in perfect harmony.
I look forward to our future collaboration and can’t wait to see all the things we can achieve with the initiative. Further information on the #equalesports initiative will be provided at our press launch on September 30, 2021.