The team was originally going to represent Malaysia in the Overwatch World Cup 2019 (OWWC19), on the 1st and 2nd of November at Anaheim, California, prior to their withdrawal.
We managed to ask Team Malaysia’s General Manager, Kenn Leandre, a few questions on what led to the team’s withdrawal from the competition.
On Team Malaysia’s Twitter, they cited a lack of funding as their main reason for their withdrawal. Kenn told us that the team needed to secure at least RM120,000 to travel to California for the competition.
In the original announcement, he mentioned they were also unable to raise sufficient funds from relevant parties. Their requests for help to national companies fell on deaf ears too.
After the announcement, Syed Saddiq took to Twitter to calm down disappointed netizens. Back in 2018, it was announced that Malaysia’s esports would be allocated RM10 million from Budget 2019.
On Tuesday, the minister tweeted that RM60,000 had been allocated to the team for OWWC.
According to Kenn, the money will only be made available in November, which is unfortunately too late for the team to travel for the competition.
Kenn then said that KBS (Kementerian Belia dan Sukan Malaysia) agreed to pledge the money to next year’s competition and to cultivate the Overwatch esports community in Malaysia.
Other Avenues Explored
Kenn said that they approached other potential sponsors such as MAS to sponsor the team’s flight to the competition, but they were turned down. They received the same response from local telcos and esports-centric hardware brands as well.
So, they decided to try an unexplored avenue of crowdfunding via merchandising.
Fans were able to purchase team jerseys to support the team. In the end, they managed to sell 70 jerseys and it netted them a decent sum, but it wasn’t enough to send the team overseas.
Kenn said that most of the money went back to operational costs, designers, and volunteers anyway.