AirAsia is one of the largest and low-cost airline companies here in Southeast Asia with over 120 destinations across the region. Little did we know, AirAsia has also came up with its own eSports teams that are already making waves on various international tournaments. One of those is the AirAsia Saiyan that competes in Mobile Legends, and also one of the sponsors for Dota 2 Esports Team Mineski.
The man behind these eSports initiatives in AirAsia is Mr. Allan Phang. He handles the Allstar engagement, internal branding and the people at AirAsia Allstars eSports Club. He is one of the key people who has been pushing the airlines engagements towards the broader audience of gaming, and taking off eSports to the other region.
We got the chance to interview him during the ServerDNA IV event held in Le Meridien, Putrajaya, Malaysia.
Who is Allan Phang?
Hi, I am Allan, I am in-charge of eSports in AirAsia, tasked by the co-founder of AirAsia Tony Fernandez and Datuk Kamarudin bin Meranun to explore eSports initiatives for AirAsia.
What do you think of the ServerDNA event so far?
I think that ServerDNA is really great, I think the key here is the community, because eSports and Gaming is about community, and ServerDNA has proven time and time again, that they can bring people together, not just about particular games like League of Legends, or Dota, but everyone, as long as you play games, you can come. So, ServerDNA really put a lot of effort and time and resources to make it happen. I see a lot of sponsors here, and big names. So, really impressed by it and looking forward to seeing great things even in 2020.
How did AirAsia eSports started?
How AirAsia esports started is quite a unique story. We did it differently, usually big companies, they will sponsor externally, a team or event, “example”. But for us, we did it differently, we got our employees, named All-Stars, we got them, encourage them to play games together, and create an eSports club. We started with 10 employees, and now, we have 200 on row across the group. We play games like Dota, Mobile Legends, PUBG, FIFA and it is very different because we actually engage in the community a lot.
Myself, I spent a lot of time after 6pm and some of my colleagues as well, and interview the community and find out some ideas “Hey guys! What we should we doing eSports in AirAsia, and say, Allan, guys no need to do it in a normal way, do it a different way, what if we create an eSports club? by employees, they can play with each other, so it’s good for employee engagement and also good for employer branding by after people entering in a university or college, which company they want to join? And like (eg. “Ohh wow! AirAsia supports eSports! Ahh ok I’ll join AirAsia”).
For employer engagement, people from all walks of life in the company, from different jobs like crew, pilots, engineers or IT people, they can play each other online. You don’t have to be physically present, like traditional sports like badminton, or football, or even basketball. You need to be there right? For eSports and gaming, you can do it outside of this virtual space, you can do it at home, taxi, bus, train, in your house, toilet, nobody knows. And you can play people across the group from other countries, so that’s really the advantage of eSports.
What esports game do you currently handle and do you have plans to start a new esports tournament for new games like Auto Chess and other online games?
We do a lot of internal game activations, meaning that we get our all-stars to like the internal tournaments. We did so far Dota and also Mobile Legends as well as Realm of Valor (ROV). We are looking at other games as well, hopefully, Auto chess as well to bring people together.
Currently, how many teams does AirAsia esports handle?
We have a few teams, we have teams in Dota, FIFA 20, League of Legends, Mobile Legends, and PUBG mobile/pc.
What are the perks of being an AirAsia’s esports team?
The perks of our AirAsia esports team is, of course, it is self-funded by our own eSports Club. So, we can fly around the world using AirAsia and we got 90% discount on our flights or even sometimes free flights. So it added as an advantage for us to fly around the region, to participate in eSports tournament. If you qualify and participate and cooperate in tournament.
Do you have any plans to expand your esports team to the Philippines?
We have already people playing in the Philippines, but it’s our employees. For the other side, we also have an eSports pro team, call it as AirAsia impact. They’re currently playing Mobile Legends, and it’s a Malaysian based team, but we do have plans in the future to scale across the region, and expand to countries like the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia
Do you have any advice for Filipino gamers who would like to join esports?
Remember your studies first don’t forget that because you got to remember after you do eSports what’s next after you become a professional gamer after you finish gaming at 25 or 30 years old what do you wanna do after that right. So, it’s good to have yourself a back up to complete your studies and at the same time pursue your passion in your dreams.
Where can people find out more about you (Allan Phang)?
People can find out more about me on either my LinkedIn that’s Allan Phang (https://www.linkedin.com/in/allanphang/) or my Facebook, or Instagram.