Traveling abroad to compete in an international tournament is never easy for esports players in nations with less-developed esports infrastructure. It has been a plaguing problem for esports players, especially in India. Traveling expenses, visa issues, jet lag, and a lot more problems have proved to be the stumbling block for esports. And the upcoming Overwatch World Cup 2019 taking place this November is no exception.

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Attending the Overwatch World Cup 2019 is not an easy task for many teams in the world

13 out of 46 Overwatch teams have pulled out of the tournament due to various issues. While some have difficulty securing visas, the most apparent problem seems to be a lack of funding. The case with Team Bulgaria is so bleak that they had to drop out. It was shocking that Blizzard wouldn’t provide any financial support for teams outside of the top 10. As a result, Team Bulgaria was left struggling with money issues for traveling and securing visas.

Money problem

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Hoisting your national flag in an international event is no easy task without sponsorship

The sum expense for traveling and competing in the Overwatch World Cup 2019 in the US could range between $12,000 to $15,000. Considering the monthly salary in Bulgaria is around $700, paying their trip to the Blizzcon 2019 would break their bank account.

Though the team had the potential, they were unable to secure sponsorship as “nobody has an interest in a no-name World Cup team with players who hadn't played that much competitively” - Siarhei "Bogur" Alekau, a Bulgarian Overwatch player stated.

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Though Team Bulgaria showed potential, they were unable to call for sponsorship

Team Bulgaria was not the sole team with such problems. 12 other teams had to opt out of the tournament as they were unable to fund themselves for the event. They had to took to Twitter and publicly said sorry to fans who had waited eagerly to see their compatriots competing on the big stage.

Some teams got lucky: Team Thailand was able to secure their flight expenses after winning the SEA Invitational last September. Team India got a bootcamp trip at Harrisburg University before flying to Blizzcon thanks to the partnership between their sponsor Global Esports and the college. Team Hong Kong got just enough money from crowdfunding to earn their trip to Blizzcon this year.

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Thanks to the generosity of Global Esports, Team India can prepare their best for the Overwatch World Cup 2019

However, this has left us with one question, should funding become the obstacle that prevents the growth of esports? While dedicated sponsors like Global Esports may help Team India this time, will there be more Global Esports in many other countries?