The Esports Roundtable: James Dean and Rob Black, ESL UK

16 March 2018


Digging behind-the-scenes of the newly-announced Major tournament, ESL One Birmingham, this week’s guests on The Esports Roundtable are James Dean, Manager Director and Rob Black, Chief Operating Officer of ESL UK.

James Dean, ESL UK
James Dean, ESL UK

Dean wastes no time in explaining how he got into the esports industry, in which he reveals he was first exposed to gaming when Commodore 64’s were commonplace in households. From there, he went straight to PC gaming and started small LANs for Doom and Quake with his friends. He also elaborates on how he found himself becoming involved with the business side of the industry while studying Computer Science at university.

As revealed during the trio’s chat, Black’s background is firmly set in the Call of Duty ProMod scene. Late 2014 was when he first began to seek out a full time opportunity in esports, though it took a little while for him to find himself as the Product Manager at ESL UK; he even had an interview on a Brighton beach with Dean himself!

Rob Black, ESL UK
Rob Black, ESL UK

The topic swiftly moves on to ESL One Birmingham, and just how this came to be. ESL had already secured its place as the host of the next Major, but it was debating with Valve as to where the event would be hosted. This move, no matter where in the United Kingdom it was to be hosted, will drastically help boost the British esports scene and open some eyes as to just how it’s thriving in this part of the world.

ESL One Birmingham, for those who are unaware, is the first Dota 2 Major event to take place in the United Kingdom. Taking place on May 25-27, the event will be held at the Arena Birmingham – hosting twelve top tier teams who want to win the largest share of the $1 million (£719,000) prize pool and 1,500 qualifying points for The International 8.

This episode of The Esports Roundtable also delves into grassroot esports, how the esports industry is doing better than perceived in the United Kingdom, and how Faceit’s upcoming CS:GO Major in London, alongside ESL One Birmingham, will contribute to growing esports beyond what it is now.

Joe Hills, LFG and The Esports Roundtable

Speaking to Esports InsiderJoe Hills, Founder and Host of The Esports Roundtable, commented on this episode:

“2018 is looking to be massive for UK esports and I couldn’t be happier to see two majors in the calendar!”

Hills is the Founder of Looking for Group, an esports executive recruitment company and has worked to achieve placements for many high profile individuals in the burgeoning esports industry.