Following Alibaba’s $150 million investment in esports last year, the massive e-commerce company is making another push for esports that could exempt a number of players from military service.
According to Daily Esports, Alibaba subsidiary Alisports has partnered with the Olympic Council of Asia to bring esports to future Asian Games, a multi-sport event featuring athletes from across Asia. They’re set to appear in the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games and 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games, though it’s yet to be decided what games will be selected, and if they’ll be given official or experimental status. Those decisions will mean more than a chance at yet another medal for Korean players -- it could grant them a rare exemption from South Korea’s mandatory military service.
The country’s Conscription Law requires roughly two years of military service from able-bodied adult males, terms that were served by former SKT player MaRin and CJ Entus Frost’s CloudTemplar before their League careers. For current players who have yet to complete their service, it’s a duty that looms over their heads, knowing they will have to return for service once they retire.
Should League of Legends become an official sport of the Asian Games, however, players will be able to compete for a Gold medal, which will free them from the conscription rule and reduce their obligations to only four weeks of basic military training.
“It’s something Korean men have to prepare themselves, no matter how much I don’t want to go,” Team Liquid’s Reignover recently told Slingshot Esports on his inevitable military service. “I don’t really think about it too much, just that I’ll need to go when I do.”