Esports Roundup: West Midlands 10-Year Strategy For Gaming & Esports

Hey friends, welcome to the Geeky Brummie Esports Roundup!

In this issue, West Midlands Growth Company announces a 10-year partnership with Global Esports Federation for the West Midlands, more information about the Esports in Education Summit, and students of Oxford vs Cambridge varsity esports push for full blue status.

This roundup covers news from across UK esports, with emphasis on championing the West Midlands as the national hub. If you have an esports story that you would like us to feature, please email mat@geekybrummie.com.

Quick Links

  1. West Midlands signs 10-year deal with Global Esports Federation
  2. Grab Your Free Ticket to the Annual Esports in Education Summit
  3. Students of Oxford vs Cambridge Esports Varsity push for full blue status

West Midlands signs 10-year deal with Global Esports Federation

(Image Credit: West Midlands Growth Company)

The West Midlands Growth Company (WMGC) has entered a 10-year agreement with Global Esports Federation (GEF).

This partnership will link the region up to a global network of esports hubs including Singapore, Brazil, China, Türkiye, Japan, the Middle East, Africa, and the Americas; with the aim to bolster the West Midland’s position as a hotbed for esports and gaming industries.

What’s the plan?

The 10-year Strategic Framework Agreement (SFA) will build upon the grassroots infrastructure already within the West Midlands through further investment with the aim of driving international growth for the UK within the rapidly developing esports industry.

The SFA will focus on several key areas including commissioning an independent report into the esports sector within the region, a bid for hosting GEF’s Global Esports Games and tours and developing a range of initiatives which utilise esports in education, health, and the future of work.

Additionally, there’s plans to establish a GEF Innovation and Research Centre here to drive collaboration between universities and the private sector in the west midlands, spurring innovation in gaming and immersive technologies.

Why the West Midlands?

The UK gaming market reached £7.16bn in 2021 – which the West Midlands represents one-quarter of.  We’re already a huge UK gaming and esports hub, with a total of 130 games companies employing more than 3,000 in the region. In education, we boast several top university esports teams including Warwick, BCU, University of Birmingham and Aston.

Premier League club Wolverhampton Wanderers has also committed heavily to Esports, hosting its own esports organisation with teams in the UK, Europe, and China, as well as announcing last year a partnership with North American Esports giant Evil Geniuses.

Birmingham is a prime location to be a regional capital for esports: it’s well connected via trains to the rest of the UK and internationally via Birmingham International Airport. It has multiple venues suitable for all sizes of esports tournament including two Belong Gaming arenas.

We’re also already home to the internationally renowned Insomnia Gaming festival and have hosted major gaming tournaments including ESL One Dota 2 Championships at Utilita Arena Birmingham and VS Fighting at Millennium Point, with Birmingham’s NEC soon to play host the inaugural esports championship at Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Don’t Forget Your Roots

This is big news for us and something I and many others have been wanting for several years now. However, my one plea with West Midlands Growth Company is this – don’t forget your roots.

We have dozens of fantastic esports organisation within Birmingham, let alone the West Midlands. You need to engage with them. The esports hub doesn’t need creating, it needs nurturing and validating. Provide funding and resources for these organisations and there is nothing that will stop the West Midlands from becoming the UK’s esports capital.

Grab Your Free Ticket to the Annual Esports in Education Summit

(Image Credit: British Esports)

There’s still time to grab a FREE ticket to British Esports’ annual Esports in Education Summit on Thursday 30th June 2022.

About the Event

This hybrid event will take place at the Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies in Nottingham; and will bring together Senior Leaders, Curriculum Managers, Lecturers, as well as Team Coaches, from across the UK, to discuss the impact, developments, and opportunities available in competitive gaming and esports in schools and colleges.

It will feature a range of keynotes, panel discussions, and sessions with industry leaders as well as experts from across the education sector will discuss a wide variety of topics, including:

  • Esports: the competitive activity of the future
  • British Esports and the Student Championships (The story so far)
  • Career pathways in esports
  • Wider Impact Projects – Diversity and Inclusion
  • Esports in Education: Academic development in Further Education and Higher Education
  • How sport and esports can mutually benefit – Commonwealth Games
  • A special tour of Confetti X – the brand-new purpose built esports arena at Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies (physical attendees only)

This will be the fourth annual edition of the Esports in Education Summit, sponsored by Pearson, and brought to you by British Esports and Association of Colleges Sport (AOC).

There will also be opportunity to discuss solutions to challenges and learn from schools and colleges who are in varied stages of esports development.

Physical attendees will also be offered the opportunity to tour Confetti X, the brand new purpose-built esports arena at Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies, scheduled to host the British Esports Student Champs Finals on 2nd and 3rd July 2022

Accomplished Speakers Line-up

British Esports recently unveiled their impressive list of accomplished key speakers, including:

  • Dean Hardman – Director of Sport and Student Experience, Association of Colleges
  • Dr Melita Moore – Board Member and Chair, Health & Wellness Commission, Global Esports Federation
  • Laura Hall – Product Manager BTEC Business and Esports Portfolio, Pearson
  • Gin Rai – Esports Manager & Higher Education Course Leader, Confetti Institute Of Creative Technology
  • Abby Reynolds – Head of Community, NUEL 
  • Billie Purdie – Women in Esports Manager, British Esports Federation
  • Mark L’Estrange – Esports Program and Course Manager, Exeter College
  • Alex Davies – Head of Performance, Resolve
  • Lauren Timson – Lecturer in Esports, Games Design and Media, Cheshire College South & West
  • Dave Martin – Head of Strategy, British Esports Federation
  • Kalam Neale – Director of Education, Strategic Esports Group, Curriculum Lead, Barnsley College
  • Grant Rousseau – Former Director of Esports/Operations, Guild, formerly of Excel and OverActive Media
  • Dom Sacco – Founder and Editor, Esports News UK
  • Tom Dore – Head of Education, British Esports Federation
  • Professor Philip Wilson – Chair and Founder, College of Esports
  • Chester King – Founder and CEO, British Esports Federation

For a full breakdown of the summit’s agenda, and to book your FREE tickets, please visit the Esports in Education Summit event page.

Secure Your Ticket

Tickets are FREE and are available to book via the Event Page. Due to a significant increase in demand, additional tickets have now been made available for physical attendees as well as those who wish to watch via a virtual stream.  

Students of Oxford vs Cambridge Esports Varsity push for full blue status

Students behind the return of Oxford vs Cambridge varsity esports are pushing for esports to gain full blue status.

The rivalry is nothing new, with events like the annual boat race being a staple of the UK sporting calendar, and in esports, it is no different with teams from both universities gearing up for a face-off next weekend in an esports varsity.

About the Varsity Tournaments

Tournaments will take place from 25th – 26th June 2022 at the Red Bull Gaming Sphere in London:

  • CSGO Saturday, 11 at the same time.
  • We’ve got to wait all Friday and three from 30.
  • Saturday, 11 am to watch, then overwatch.
  • League of Legends Sunday, three in the evening.
  • Rocket League on Sunday, 6 o’clock.

There will be a series of talks covering the sport and the games industry amongst the games and activities, which will also feature notable figures from the sports industry. The score has been ties at 4-4-4 making this event an incredibly exciting one.

Achieving Blue Status

The Esports Varsity Series is nothing new, having been run for eight years. Although this will be the first physical event to take place since 2019 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Students organising the event hope that the series will help in the case for esports to receive full blue status in the future.

A Blue is an award of sporting colours earned by students at athletic institutions. In fact, it is recognized sports such as football, rowing, cricket, and more.

The University of Oxford, the Digital Gaming Society will play the U.S. and the University of Cambridge next weekend.

It’s great to see the series back, and especially back in person. You can get your ticket via the Eventbrite booking page here.

That’s it from me, friends. Until then don’t forget to watch out for me on Mondays over at the Geeky Brummie Twitter or follow me on my personal handle @MrMatLovell. Adios!

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