This November will see the second coming of the Esports Industry Awards (EIA). It’s back at the same venue in East London and Now TV has returned as title sponsor, but there are a number of changes for this year’s edition too.
We spoke to Tom Mercey, Director and Co-Founder of the EIA.
Esports Insider: So the second year of the awards – what’s different from 2016?
Tom Mercey: For us, the first year of EIA – or year zero as we refer to it – was all about learning what we do well, what we missed and what we can improve on. In a nutshell, the 2017 awards are all about Bigger, Better, More!
“We’re going to be opening up five of the awards to a 100% public vote”
We’re increasing the number of guests in the room on the night as well as how many partners and sponsors we’re working with which means we’re going to have a much bigger audience across all of those brands.
We’re also committing a lot more budget this year to make sure as many of our nominees as possible will be able to join us on the night. There’s nothing better than being there in person to collect your award, and that means we’ll have the biggest, most exciting people in esports all taking part, from players and broadcasters to hardware suppliers and esports photographers.
ESI: Now TV has signed up as a title sponsor once more – how is this partnership working?
Tom: Now TV have proved to be an incredibly supportive and exciting partner for us. Their team is headed up by a guy called David Turner who has over 15 years experience working in the games industry and he really sees esports as the next big thing for gaming around the world.
Being at the forefront of TV, film and sports streaming, the audience for Now TV is one and the same as the audience for esports so the partnership just makes a lot of sense for all of us.
ESI: As it’s a little complicated can you clarify the timeline of nominations, shortlists and so on for all categories?
Tom: Yes, I can see where it could get a little confusing!
We’ve added a lot more categories to the awards this year so nominations have been split into two phases. The first phase, which includes the likes of Journalist of the Year & Breakthrough Game of the Year, has been open since April and Finalists will be announced on our Twitch broadcast on 28th June.
Phase two of the nominations will open at the same time and we’re really excited to see who makes the grade in categories including Rookie of the Year (PC & Console), Broadcaster of the Year, Play of the Year and Unsung Hero.
“We’re increasing the number of guests in the room on the night as well as how many partners and sponsors we’re working with”
Phase 2 nominations will run until September and then in November our judging panel will run through the shortlist and cast their votes for the overall winners in all 22 categories.
Also, we’re going to be opening up five of the awards to a 100% public vote (see below), whilst our remaining 17 awards will also be open to public vote. This means our audience being the 12th man on the room, as it were. Those categories with a 100% public vote will be –
- Journalist of the Year
- Photographer of the Year
- Coverage Website of the Year
- Breakthrough game of the Year
- Play of the Year
In the first few weeks we’ve already received more nominations than we did for the whole of last years awards which is absolutely incredible and we’re so amazed at the level of support.
ESI: Any surprises in store for attendees on the night?
Tom: As I’ve said, we’re going to be working with as many esports teams and influencers as possible; both on the night and in the build up to the awards.
We were really humbled by the attendance levels last year and certainly hope to build this in 2017
ESI: With a global audience and an array of different esports, how comparable are players/talent across titles? How do we avoid the awards purely being popularity contests?
Tom: Obviously when comparing top players from the CS:GO and DOTA communities it might seem like they’re not comparable but I think if you were to consider something like the BBC Sports Personality of the Year you can see how talent across many different areas can be competitive. Ultimately, it’s about comparing the best with the best, regardless of genre.
We’ve structured our awards to ensure we avoid any sort of popularity contest – the public vote will only count for one vote in the final decision.
ESI: Do you think as esports grows that there’s scope for awards within separate esports? e.g. the CS:GO awards and LoL awards?
Tom: Honestly, this is one of the reasons we created the EIA’s in the first place – every separate esport already crowns their own world champions and hands out prizes across different levels throughout the season. We wanted to recognise all those who contribute to the industry, regardless of competition or specific esport.
The 2017 Esports Industry Awards is taking place at The Brewery in London on November 13th. Find out more here.
Disclaimer: Esports Insider is an Official Media Partner of the Esports Industry Awards