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Esports gets its own sports association

16 teams from the UK, France, USA, Spain and Germany competed at Call of Duty World League ESWC 2016 in May
Activision Blizzard Media Networks
16 teams from the UK, France, USA, Spain and Germany competed at Call of Duty World League ESWC 2016 in May

The foundation of the World Esports Association (WESA) was announced in London on Friday, in a move to increase the professionalism of competitive video game competitions, or esports, and to capitalize on its growing popularity.

The WESA was formed by the esports gaming network ESL and several professional teams. The association, which is based on traditional sports associations, will introduce regulations such as player representation, standardized rules and revenue sharing.

"This is a sign of the industry recognizing the value and role that teams play," said Thomas Oliveira, owner and CEO of FaZe Clan (one of the teams involved in WESA's formation) in a press release. "We look forward to working with WESA to make a difference in the scene."

Esports has quickly grown in size in recent years and is becoming highly lucrative. The sector generated revenue of $325 million in 2015 from media rights, merchandising, ticket sales and advertising, according to market researchers Newzoo, while SuperData predicts the total worldwide market to reach $910 million in 2016.

"The formation of WESA is a critical milestone on our way to grow esports globally, and we're incredibly excited to work with some of the world's best professional teams" said Ralf Reichert, managing director at ESL, in a press release.

"Their continuous support to the formation and structuring of the Association only further cemented our belief that esports is well on its way to become the leading source of entertainment of gaming fans around the world."

WESA intends to add more members in the coming months and is currently in talks with organizations in Europe and North America. The ESL Pro League for "Counter-Strike: Global Offensive" will be the first professional esports tournament to be played using the association's new regulations.