Diaries Out – 2017 Esports Conference Checklist

Get those business cards ordered and your elevator pitch perfected because in 2017 there will be more esports business conferences than ever before.

Last year saw more emerge, and as event organisers cotton onto this exciting, ‘new’ industry you’d best be prepared for a whole lot more. The floodgates are well and truly open.

Here we assess some of the standout conferences we’re aware of so far, in date order.

Biz Esports – February 1-2, L.A., Four Seasons Beverly Hills 

Taking place in Los Angeles, the city which is home to Riot Games, Blizzard, FaceIt and more, it’s a pretty unbeatable city when it comes to hosting an esports business conference. Biz Esports has a killer agenda with solid names. In addition it offers various rates depending on your position; i.e. it’s discounted for students and start-ups and developers receive a slight discount too.

Team owners including Team Liquid Steve Arhancet, Fnatic’s Wouter Sleijffers and Noah Whinston at Immortals will speak whilst the faculty also includes the likes of Vice President at Twitch Andy Swanson, Tobias Sherman the Head of Esports at WME-IMG and more.

ICE Totally Gaming – February 7-9, London, ExCeL Centre 

Put on by Clarion Events, ICE is the world’s largest gambling conference. With the surge of esports as a betting vertical in the past year it was always going to play a major part here.

It’s set for a big year as esports enters casinos in the States via the likes of GameCo, Gamblit, Unikrn and William Hill, whilst more igaming operators pick it up and put more budget towards its promotion and the expansion of focused teams. There’s an esports seminar on the first day of ICE with ESL’s Spike Laurie and Harry Lang of Pinnacle speaking amongst others, and supplier Ultraplay is putting on a workshop.

In addition, four of the eleven start-ups in this year’s Pitch ICE GamCrowd competition are esports operators. If you’re in esports and want to work in or with those in gambling, this show is a must-attend.

Esports BAR – February 15-17, Cannes, Radisson Blu 

Put on by Reed Midem the Esports BAR is the ultimate exclusive and focused esports networking event of 2017. There’s a maximum capacity and tickets aren’t just for sale; would be attendees must apply and wait to be accepted.  The format and idea is for pre-arranged one to one meetings with players in the industry and non-endemic brands. There’ll also be panel sessions on the first day and numerous networking drinks and dinners at the prestigious Radisson Blu. 

On the attending list are the likes of Orange, Coca Cola, IBM, EA, Twitch, Activision, ESL, Fnatic, SK Gaming and more. It’s an excellent opportunity to make significant connections whether you’re in esports or looking for a way in.

eScon Europe,  April 5-6,  London 

Put on by Kiasco Research, this B2B event takes place twice yearly, once in London and once in LA. This year more details have been revealed about the London edition so far and the line-up is impressive. There are 22 speakers over two days and new for 2017 is the ‘Meeting Mojo’ which is scheduled one to one meetings.

On the agenda are sessions such as ‘Branding in esports – what works and what doesn’t’ with Paul ‘ReDeYe’ Chandler, Jodie Fullagar from M&C Saatchi, Pieter van den Heuvel of Newzoo and Christian Kresse from ENPE Media.  

Other speakers include Veronique Lallier from Hi-Rez Studios, Josh Watson, Esports Manager at Psyonix, Hicham Chahine the CEO of Ninjas in Pyjamas and Chester King, CEO at the British Esports Association amongst others. It’s a high calibre event and will be educational whether you’re an esports business veteran or brand new.

Cynopsis World Esports Summit, 12 April, New York City 

Yes, more esports business goes down on the other coast but this year the east coast is making a play for its piece of the pie. New York city will host the Cynopsis World Esports Summit and with speakers including Turner’s Christina Alejandre, OpTic Gaming CEO Hector Rodriguez, NiP’s CEO Hicham Chahine, Yahoo’s Travis Gafford and plenty more lined up it looks a strong event.

It’s a hell of a town and the agenda includes a Superdata research presentation which should prove extremely valuable for anyone in any sector of esports.

Betting on Sports, 13-14 September, London 

This will be the second BoSCon from SBC (our parent company) and this year esports will have an extended track. Last year figures from the likes of ESIC, ESL, UltraPlay, Sportradar, RTSmunity and Unibet spoke on topics in and around esports wagering.

With more bookmakers now having got to grip with esports (though many are still very much in the testing phase) the panels this year will be less about an introduction and more about how can bookmakers better offer, promote and support it.

This conference is focused on those other than football and with Pinnacle stating that on their end esports surpassed ice hockey last year, it’s sure to be one that many operators show a keen interest in.

esCon USA, 26-28 September, L.A. 

Little has been revealed about this year’s Los Angeles edition so far but inevitably it will be a well supported, well attended and well organised event. This will be the third edition in the States and this year they’re expecting over 250 attendees. If you’d like to be involved you can contact the team at events@kisacoresearch.com.

A Final Word

So 2017 is predictably shaping up to be a busy year in esports business. Depending on where you’re based it’s also worth keeping an eye out for are the TEO meet-ups in Berlin and if you’re interested in the Ukrainian scene and Eastern Europe more generally there’s the eSportConf in Kiev on February 22nd.