The Air Force Services Centre has debuted Air Force Gaming, an esports program designed to support their resiliency and retention efforts in the Air Force and the newly created Space Force. The aim is to bring together service members from the two forces through community events and competitive leagues.
At the time of the announcement, the participating bases across the US are:
- Barksdale Air Force Base
- Dyess Air Force Base
- Ellsworth Air Force Base
- E. Warren Air Force Base
- Kirtland Air Force Base
- Malmstrom Air Force Base
- Minot Air Force Base
- Whiteman Air Force Base
They will compete in Rocket League, Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War, and League of Legends. This looks to be an initial test run as the press release indicates that they are aiming to cover every Air Force base in the world and expand the selection of games.
The Director of Operations at the Air Force Services Centre, Colonel Marc Adair, had this to say about the announcement:
“Air Force Gaming’s mission is to create an inclusive gaming organization for Airmen of all ages, ranks, and backgrounds. And with more than 80% of Airmen between the ages of 18-34 identifying as gamers playing between 4 to 10 hours per week, we are confident that by establishing a unified hub for community and competition, Air Force Gaming can help promote resiliency, retention, teamwork, and mental well-being for service members around the world.”
Air Force Gaming began as a community effort on the Air Force Discord. It was run by a small group of service members who had an interest in gaming. It quickly grew in popularity and the membership skyrocketed. As a result, the serviceman who created the program, Capt. Oliver Parsons, was given permission by the Air Force to scale the program globally.
They are using Rally Cry, a company that helps develop infrastructure and programs for esports. That means that the Air Force will have its own unique platform for their competitions and community events. In the press release about the program, Capt. Parsons said:
“We are intentionally starting small with Air Force Gaming but have big goals. By organizing this pilot season, we will ensure that all coordination is in place to scale the program globally and make Air Force Gaming a unifying community available to all Airmen and Space Professionals.”
As well as promote improved mental health and resiliency in the Air Force, the new esports program will also be the “proving ground” for service members wanting to join the official Air Force esports team. They will be selected by an open tournament and the top players will join the official team who will take part in major esports events. These teams have not been particularly competitive, not surprising given their other obligations, so it is unlikely that they would affect any esports betting odds.
Any service member in the Air Force or Space Force is eligible to register. All they have to do is visit airforcegaming.com before November 20th to verify themselves and sort into teams. After the end of registration, each base will host a league, playoffs, and championships before moving to the Major Command Championships at the end of their season.