I’m back following a hiatus (sorry about that!). In this week’s roundup, esports is coming to the commonwealth games in Birmingham, Wolves just miss out on the Rocket League top spot and Team Norse Thunder is a finalist at the StartUp Awards.
This esports roundup shines a light on UK esports, in particular, what’s going on in the midlands. If you have an esports story that you would like us to feature, email email@example.com.
- Esports is Coming to the Commonwealth Games
- Wolves Esports Near Miss at Lenovo Rocket League Tournament
- Team Norse Thunder Finalists for Start-Up Business Award
Esports is Coming to the Commonwealth Games
Back in February, the Global Esports Federation (GEF) and the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) announced that an esports competition will feature at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. While branded as the “Commonwealth Esports Championships” (CEC), no medals will be given out at the event. Instead, the competition will be used as a pilot which could see esports added to the full programme in future games.
Since the news broke, more information has been revealed. I’m condensing quite a bit of information here, but will likely do something more comprehensive in the near future.
Where and when is the competition?
The event takes place at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Birmingham from August 6th-7th and will see players from across the Commonwealth compete for medals in their respective titles. Prior to the championships, GEF and CGF will host a Commonwealth Esports Forum on 5th August.
About the Championships
The event will see players compete in Valve’s Dota 2, Konami’s eFootball, and Psyonix’s Rocket League. Each tournament will have a Women Category and an Open Category. Teams will enter a regional qualifier to determine who progresses to the live finals in Birmingham. It is anticipated that only one team per competition per region will compete alongside the other regional winners in the grand finals.
The regions competing are:
- Isle of Man
- Northern Ireland
Competitors may represent either the competitor’s Commonwealth Country of birth, or the Commonwealth Country of birth to which one of their parents belongs (by citizenship/passport).
What organisations are involved?
Outside of EGF and CGF, Mark Weller will be Team Manager for England, John Jackson, and Esports Wales will be selecting the Welsh players, and James Hood and Esports Scotland will be selecting the Scottish players. Support will be given by British Esports Association (BEA) to the European teams in the live finals per title. The Business and Tourism Programme will also be involved in leveraging any opportunities the championships bring to the UK.
Why Does the Commonwealth Esports Championships Matter?
Again, this is a big one to which I’ll dedicate a full article to further down the line, but here are the cliff notes. This inclusion is a landmark decision for the Esports industry worldwide, let alone for the UK, as it provides an unprecedented platform to educate businesses and the public on what esports is.
If delivered right and received well, this could open further doors for esports to be given more mainstream treatment and be incorporated into the likes of the Olympic Games. For the Commonwealth Games Federation, this is an experiment to modernise the games and tap into a whole new audience of potential Commonwealth Games fans.
More so, Birmingham and the midlands have a unique opportunity here. The success of ESL One Birmingham has already proved the city’s worth as an esports growth hub. The legacy of CEC should be that of investment through capital and infrastructure to support this industry. We have the youngest population in Europe, clusters of gaming, digital, and tech, alongside a high density of universities and colleges ripe with untapped esports talent and esports markets.
Of course, there’s also a lot riding on this championship. Should the pilot fail, then this could deal a significant blow to the growth of esports in the UK. I hope the GEF, CGF and BEA understand the gravity of this tournament and invite local and national teams and organisations to get involved to ensure this is the best representation of esports it can possibly be.
Wolves Esports Near Miss at Lenovo Rocket League Tournament
About the Tournament
Lenovo Regions is an online-only Rocket League tournament by popular gaming brand Lenovo Legion. The tournament started on 12th February and featured 64 teams across England, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland, with the top teams from each qualifier going on to an explosive final last week on 31st March.
Overall, the tournament had a £10,000 prize pool. Each team that won a regional final received £1,000 and a spot in the grand finals while runners-up took home £250. First, second and third place earned £3,000, £1,500, and £500 respectively.
Casting talent included John ‘JohnnyBoi’ MacDonald, Callum ‘Shogun’ Keir with Jasmine ‘Veracity’ Kanuga as host accompanied by analyst Mike ‘Gregan’ Ellis.
What happened at the Grand Final?
Wolves Esports, representing England, faced off against Blasters, representing Wales. Wolves were a last-minute addition after England’s first team, GigaGuys, dropped out. The final standings are Blasters in first (Wales), Wolves in second (England) and Reverdam in third (Ireland) followed by Milkmen in fourth (Scotland).
Overall it was a great performance by all of the teams. Big shout out to Wolves for making the midlands proud!
Team Norse Thunder Finalists for Start-Up Business Award
Founded in 2016 by Dave Scott, Team Norse Thunder is a social enterprise that supports vulnerable people in Birmingham, battling isolation and loneliness through esports projects. The esports team competes in League of Legends, Hearthstone, Pokemon Unite, and a variety of other esports titles.
About the Award
The organisation is up for the Social Enterprise Award, which recognises new businesses that give back, enrich communities, and make a contribution to wider society. They are one of three Midlands-based social enterprises to be in the running for the award.
Alongside the esports team, TNT has a physical venue in Birmingham where they can bring people together to connect through esports and gaming. Alongside this, the organisation runs the Esports Education Academy which helps young people from across the country access and re-sit English and Maths GCSEs as well as provide digital skills qualifications and esports industry work experience.
The winner of the StartUp Award will be announced on July 16th 2022 at a ceremony in Birmingham city centre. Best of luck to TNT and all of the other finalists!