Welcome to my first dedicated esports round-up. Here, I’ll be giving you a mix of stories from across the industry with a focus on UK esports (particularly West Midlands because we need the exposure!). To get your story featured, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Let’s get started.
DOTA 2’S TI BIRMINGHAM?
Okay, that was a bit click-baity (sorry, Ryan) but hear me out. Last week, Valve announced that Dota 2’s flagship tournament, (and the biggest in esports) – The International (TI) – may not take place in Stockholm as planned.
In their blog post, Valve cites complications with the Swedish government and sports bodies not recognising the competition, or esports, as legitimate sports. Therefore, not classifying the tournament as an elite sporting event, making it difficult for esports talent to secure visas.
Valve is instead looking for alternative locations in Europe to host TI10. This has prompted Dom Sacco of Esports News UK and numerous UK personalities and organisations – including British Esports host Frankie Ward and director of learning at Queen Mary’s College, James Fraser-Murison – to rally around the possibility of a Dota 2 International in the UK in the future.
We’ve proved already that the UK is ready for an international tournament of this scale following the unprecedented success of ESL One Birmingham in 2018 and 2019, having set viewership records. While there’s no doubt there will be challenges with things like travel, the UK is more favourable with esports tournaments, and the industry.
Dom’s tweet, alongside several others, has been getting some modest traction online with the response being overwhelmingly positive – many of whom point to the standout events in Birmingham as some of the best esports tournaments ever hosted.
I would go one step further and say Birmingham should be THE place for a TI – especially with the investment we will be seeing from the Commonwealth 2022 games. Having been at both Birmingham tournaments, I could not agree more. While that may seem biased as an adopted Brummie and an Englishman – trust me, I can testify that the energy was electric, more so than any of the other DOTA Majors I’ve been to across Europe (and I’ve been to a lot).
So, I’m starting a campaign to make #TIBirmingham a thing – come on Gaben, give us that sweet International!
BRITISH ESPORTS’ STUDENT CHAMPS STARTS THIS WEEK
Moving closer to home now, British Esports Association’s British Esports Student Champs grand final starts this weekend Saturday 3rd July.
The Champs is a national tournament for schools and colleges. It’s a series of competitive gaming tournaments for students aged 12+ across League of Legends, Overwatch, and Rocket League.
In the 2020/21 season, they had a whopping 171 teams competing in spring. This is up from 147 in winter, with a retention rate of 82% across a total of 75 unique schools and colleges. This means over 1000 students are playing matches across the nation each week!
This tournament was formerly known as The British Esports Championships but was recently rebranded to give further recognition to the general public that the tournaments British Esports hosts are for schools and colleges across the country, as opposed to a competition that is open to all.
On Saturday 3rd July 2021, the Grand Finals event will include the new branding for the Champs, as well as showcasing the talents of those who have taken part this year. Find out the teams who are competing in the finals here.
The live grand finals will feature gameplay from the Student Champs finalists, in addition to a broad variety of activities for those attending including keynotes about how students can turn esports into a career or access STEAM subjects through their passion. You can read the current schedule here.
You can watch the grand finals event will be broadcast across the British Esports Twitch channel throughout the day for viewers to be able to watch from home..
Students can register their interest for the 2021/22 season of the British Esports Student Champs in preparation for September.
PIXEL BAR ANNOUNCES LEAGUE OF LEGENDS TOURNAMENT
Leeds-based esports and video game bar, Pixel Bar, has announced a community League of Legends tournament on 26th September.
The competition will have a minimum £1,000 prize pool with plans to increase the figure before the finals take place. Registration for the tournament is open until July with weekly online qualifiers taking place from August 2nd until there are four teams remaining. Those four teams will compete at Pixel Bar in front of a live audience in a grand final.
Pixel Bar opened in 2019 in Leeds city centre, it has an abundance of arcade games and consoles for people to play alongside a bar and food. Most importantly, they have 10 gaming PCs which they use to host regular community esports tournaments.
The tournament came as a result of a new partnership the bar has with esports viewing party service Cooldown which was launched by drink and brewing company AB InBev – which seems to be a pretty cool service that allows esports fans to find and set up their own viewing parties in local bars across the UK.
This competition is open to anyone, so grab your mates and get practicing! You can sign up to the competition here.
KFC PITCH UK STREAMERS AGAINST EACHOTHER TO WIN A CUSTOM-BUILT KFC ARCADE MACHINE
I like KFC. They chose to get one up on their fast-food competitors by taking over the gaming sphere. This includes the launch of their KFC Gaming brand and the viral ad for KFConsole ad.
Last week they went one step further and announced the KFC Gaming Arcade Showdown – a retro arcade tournament that features Tetris and Space Invaders. The three-week tournament features 16 streamers competing for a grand prize of a custom-built KFC arcade machine and a cool £10,000.
Dubbed “The Hot Winger 64”, this is a custom-built full-size multi-game cabinet with a host of top retro games and two sets of controls for multiplayer.
Participants include RossBoomsocks, Fifakill, Seapeekay, Tommey, Mattfutrading and Wolfabelle and GaGOD.
First off was the Tetris tournament which concluded on the 25th June and was won by GaGOD – you can see the full league table below.
They’ll return next week with the Space Invaders qualifier. You will be able to follow the action online, via KFC Gaming’s Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok feed, and there will be an additional chance to win a Hot Winger 64 in a community Arcade Showdown event.
That’s it from me friends, I hope you enjoyed it. I’ll see you next week for another fun-filled update!