The Nationals is back for its second season! After a historic first year, the first-ever franchise-based esports league in the country is set to take the stage once again. With the support of the esports governing body PESO, Season 2 of The Nationals is set to air from September to December 2020 with some big new changes and adjustments. In a live stream on The Nationals FB page, Commission Ren Vitug talked about the plans for the return of The Nationals as well as all the big changes going into this season in light of the current state of the world.
First off, this year’s The Nationals season will feature only one single conference instead of two conferences like last year. The Nationals Season 2 will air from August to December 2020 and will be a regular length, double round-robin tournament featuring Tekken 7, DOTA 2, and Mobile Legends Bang Bang. Commissioner Vitug stated that the decision was reached in order to ensure that the respective athletes and teams perform to the best of their ability in a fair and familiar format. The Nationals Season 2 will feature the fan-favorite returning teams Bren Epro, Happy Feet Emperors, STI eOlympians, Smart Omega, Cignal Ultra Warriors, and Laus Auto Group Playbook Esports Eagles
Another major change to the format is that the Tekken 7 Tournament will be held first ahead of DOTA 2 and MLBB. The proposed calendar has Tekken 7 running and concluding in the month of August; DOTA 2 will take up the entirety of September and October before ending The Nationals Season 2 with Mobile Legends Bang Bang in November and December. Commissioner Vitug revealed that the decision to start the season with Tekken 7 has reached solely with the safety of players, teams, and production staff in mind.
“The League has decided to go with Tekken 7 first as the game has less players as compared to the team titles. This could potentially give us an easier way of implementing and evaluating our protocols. It also buys us time in adjusting to what we need when it comes to the team games.”
The change in format isn’t the only big adjustment with people’s safety in mind. While The Nationals have always had excellent sanitation, health, and safety policies, Commissioner Vitug detailed that they have implemented stronger measures to keep everyone in the league safe:
“Even before aligning ourselves with Joint Action Ordinance—which is the strongest document supporting sports activities in the country—we have created policies that were beyond the health standards. We have put in place some very strong distancing, sanitation, safety, and case management protocols and we have prepared the engineering and administrative controls that are required. We also have safety committees, daily health control, and mandatory testing among many others.”
In addition, there will also be changes in the production side of things. For starters, no live viewing crowd present during the games in order to minimize health risks. There will also be earlier start and end times to the events in order to work around the different curfews in the various LGUs and there will be no big finale event in order to avoid mass gatherings.
When asked about the motivation behind the restarting The Nationals given the current pandemic, Commissioner Vitug stressed the positive effect live sports competitions had on improving the morale of people and how esports is in an excellent position to do so.
“Sports and competition bring joy and hope. Thankfully, esports is arguably, the most equipped to do so while still promoting distancing and among other [safety precautions]. It is also a wonderful platform for our athletes to be able to influence and we see this happen in other sports leagues that are going on right now.”
Finally, Franco Lim, Head of Marketing for The Nationals, delivered another exciting announcement coming this season. The Nationals now have official merchandise! Fans of the Nationals and their favorite teams can now avail of exciting new Nationals Merchandise such as team-specific jackets, t-shirts, jerseys, and facemasks! They will be available Q4 of 2020.
Lim also announced the opening of The Nationals YouTube page where fans can find clips, highlights, and replays of the most memorable plays from last season as well as all the coming seasons.
With all the different changes it is definitely very exciting to see the groundbreaking The Nationals back on track to deliver the most exciting esports action in the country. The Nationals will be airing on free tv via One Sports and Paid TV via OneSports Plus and GG Network as well as the official The Nationals Facebook page starting this August to December.
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