The UK Gaming Tours is the name given to a new esports tournament for UK competitors. Focusing on CS:GO for the first three seasons beginning 2017, the aim is to add stability to the UK CS:GO community, as well as bring in new audiences to esports.
The first season is set to kick off with five 32-team qualification rounds, with the first starting on the 6th January, and the last on the 10th. The top two from each qualify to the inaugural season, alongside six invited teams. That season will kick itself off a week after the final qualifier, taking place on the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of each week from the 17th January to the 16th February. Games are to be broadcast in sets of two.
The Finals are to be held at an unusual venue for an esports event. The Centre:MK is where the event will be held, over the 11th and 12th March. This is where the top four teams who qualified from the league will compete for £10,000. This won’t just be the finals, as there will also be a gaming exhibition on new technologies and games, as well as education towards attendees about career paths in esports and the benefits of a healthy gaming lifestyle.
Ben Bagg is the CEO of Pop-up Esports Limited, the company behind the UK Gaming Tours. He has a wealth of experience in esports, especially in the UK, as one of the two people behind CAZ Esports. CAZ is an organisation that has had significant success in the UK, as they were crowned winners of season one of Multiplay’s UK Masters.
When asked about the intentions of the tournament, Bagg told us: “We intend to take esports from its insular events where only gamers and esports enthusiasts attend, straight to the mainstream, so ideally we want to help grow the UK scene by introducing new entrants, whether they be aspiring pro gamers or team owners, or just new fans.
“On top of this we want to help create more consistency to the UK scene as it is now, by offering more leagues and events for them to attend, we hope that by having less down time teams will stay together longer rather than the grass is greener approach.”
He also let slip more about how the tournament is to be run. With the three seasons already announced, the ‘Tour’ part of the name lends itself to the plan to run the event in different ‘mainstream’ locations. With the first being in Centre:MK, other venues would most likely be shopping centres to attract the usually non-esports audience. For the end of 2017, the plan is to also host a fourth, ‘mini major’ event, where the top teams from the previous three events will compete to be the Tour Champion, with a prize-pool of “around £20,000”.
As to why the first event finals are to be hosted in Milton Keynes, it’s down to location. “When the business plan was first created we entered into an Entrepreneur award program by a Midlands accountancy firm”, Bagg noted. “We managed to get into the finals of this event where I did a speech on our plans in front of 450 people (scary as hell). As we gained a lot of local Midland PR we decided to keep it as central as possible. It is also relative to where most of the directors live for ease of access.”
More information and mailing list is available from their website.
Esports Insider says: An interesting development for the UK esports scene here, as a new player emerges. With the promise of regular seasons and cash prizes for teams, stability could finally come into play for what is a volatile scene at present. This would also, potentially, work alongside the leagues put together by ESL and Multiplay to keep it all tied together.