eSports Innovation: Swisscom Kicks Off Hero League with “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive”


Before an audience of hundreds of spectators at Halle 622 in Zurich as well as thousands of Swisscom TV and Twitch viewers at home, 14 professional gamers from across Switzerland delivered a thrilling climax.

SenpaiRekt from Geneva prevailed in the “Clash Royale”, StrikeReaper from Bern came out on top in “Hearthstone”, and PostFinance Helix before SILENTGAMING tasted victory in the “League of Legends”. “This magnificent league final marks the culmination of the season which started back in autumn and attracted over 3,000 players. In Switzerland, eSports is gaining huge popularity,” says Nadine Jaberg, Head of eSports at Swisscom.

According to a ZHAW survey published last week, 33.9 percent of the Swiss population plays at least once a week. “This demonstrates that eSports has now achieved the same momentum as more traditional forms of sport,” explains Nadine Jaberg. “The only real difference is in the public’s awareness of eSports, in that there is a much keener interest among younger people.”

New season, new game

With the start of the new season, “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” (CS:GO) presents the Swisscom Hero League’s professional gamers with a new challenge. As a tactical shooter game, CS:GO is one of most popular titles among eSports fanatics and it was therefore in high demand. “We were aware of the somewhat controversial nature of this game and deliberated carefully before taking this step, despite being literally bombarded with requests for the title to be offered right from the very start,” explains Nadine Jaberg. The ZHAW survey showed that one in six gamers actually plays this game and as many as one in four watches eSports broadcasts of it. Tactical shooter games are undoubtedly some of the most successful eSports games and it would therefore be wrong not to include such a game if we are also in the business of promoting Swiss eSports.”

Swisscom’s specialists in young people’s media literacy will support and advise the Swisscom Hero League. As well as providing advice to gamers, they will also offer course modules to parents and teachers. The sector is demonstrating positive results. Nadine Jaberg: “In the past year, we have successfully showcased the opportunities inherent to gaming. Gaming is much more than a simple leisure activity enjoyed by 2.5 million Swiss – it is also an important part of the economy. This is particularly evident in the area around Lake Geneva, which is seeing the establishment of increasing numbers of gaming start-ups. This clearly demonstrates that it is much more than a sport.”

Swisscom TV combines streaming and TV

Gaming enjoys huge ratings; each day in Switzerland, thousands of people follow live broadcasts from around the world on platforms such as YouTube and Twitch. Swisscom TV is now bringing these broadcasts to the big screen. From this summer, Swisscom TV’s gaming area will also include live streaming from the big streaming platforms, alongside content from TV channels. Using their remote control, gaming fans will be able to navigate seamlessly from conventional TV to Internet streaming, because online and TV content are one and the same on Swisscom TV.

Swisscom Hero League

Since 2018, the Swisscom Hero League has provided a national platform, affiliated to the prominent international Electronic Sports League (ESL), for Switzerland’s professional and casual gamers. The Hero League offers professional gamers a choice of three games and amateurs a choice of five.

The Swisscom Hero League elimination rounds are broadcast live on the game streaming network “Twitch” and a grand final is held in front of a live audience at the end of the season. Comprehensive media expertise, live eSports broadcasts on Swisscom TV and the partnership with “Herofest” – one of the largest events on the Swiss gaming scene – are all part and parcel of Swisscom’s commitment to the gaming sector. Herofest 2019 will be held at the BERNEXPO between 22 and 24 November.

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