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Alberta’s first Esports association smashes expectations in its first year

By Admin User on December 15, 2021

The Alberta Esports Association released the impact report from their first year, and the organization’s founders are thrilled with the results. Founded at the beginning of the pandemic in July 2020, AESA is Canada’s first provincial Esports association. The organization secured sponsorships with numerous businesses throughout the first year, including Red Bull Canada, Telus, and ATB. Events organized by AESA had a collective total of 5,419 hours watched, equivalent to nearly seven and a half months. The report shows that the organization successfully unites gamers across the prairies despite COVID-19 limiting in-person events.

Two participants at a Charity Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament

“The reality for gaming and Esports is everyone can come together online,” said Brad Jones, Co-Founder of AESA. “Esports online has allowed a lot of the people of Alberta to be physically distant while remaining socially close.” The events held throughout the year united 20 distinct gaming communities, consisting of more than 20,000 individuals.

While the events are an essential part of AESA, they weren’t the priority. Brad and his Co-Founder Victor Ly created AESA intending to fix the issues they saw as tournament organizers for nearly 16 years. The pair had hosted events out of various locations, including public libraries, community halls, and even their basements when necessary. In the first year of AESA, the organization established a code of conduct for Esports in the province, including pay standards for event facilitators.

Participants show off their custom controllers.

AESA also values the wellness of Alberta’s gamers. Their executive team includes an occupational therapist, encouraging participants to stay safe and maintain physical health. This year AESA had regular guided stretches during its online events. Mental health is a central focus for AESA’s directors. “I think what makes AESA most unique is that we focus very strongly on health and wellness,” said Courtney Nickerson, AESA’s Secretary and Administrator. “A big part of that is making sure that anyone involved with the Esports community has the tools they need to succeed in and outside of Esports.” One of those tools is a partnership with Mindbuffs, Sports psychology experts. Through a combination of physical and mental health tools, AESA hopes to foster a positive environment for its participants. “At the end of the day, we want happy, healthy gamers rather than big winners,” said Jones.

Brad is hopeful that AESA will host official in-person events in 2022. Numerous Esports events are being planned, and as they become official, they’ll appear on the AESA calendar. The organization is also always looking for volunteers and accepts applications online.



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