A look back at the first ESI Super Forum, where sports met esports

We hosted our first ESI Super Forum at Stamford Bridge last week, which it’s now safe to say, went off with a bang. 

The one day conference, which focused on the crossover of esports and sports, saw over 250 attendees, with seven panels (including one keynote session) and speakers of a notably high calibre, including James Dean, MD of ESL UK, Michael ‘ODEE’ O’Dell, the GM of Dignitas, Mark Cox, UK Head of Publishing at Riot Games, Ruud Gullit, Jakob Lund, Founder and SVP Sales at RFRSH, Seb Carmichael-Brown, Commercial Director at Hashtag United, Nicolas Maurer, CEO at Team Vitality and plenty more.

Panels covered a range of topics in-depth including the opener, the (still much needed) introduction to the esports ecosystem. This one saw ESL’s Dean, Riot’s Mark Cox, ODEE and the CEO of Kinguin discuss a number of topics from Bugattis to building a community with Ian Smith, ESIC Commissioner, in the moderator’s chair. 

You can read more about this session and what was said right here. Other talks included dissections of the esports broadcasting and media rights landscape, the opportunities for sports clubs in esports and some idea of how they should and can go about being involved in esports, brands and sponsorships and more.

There was also ample time set aside for networking and fun with a Tekken Showdown in support of SpecialEffect, casted by the FGC stars Ketchup and Mustard.

Jonny Madill, Sports and Esports Lawyer at Sheridans, said of the overall event: “Great event and venue, and an excellent range of content and speakers. The content and panel discussions were equally engaging for organisations endemic to esports, as well as traditional sports rights holders and brands. Well done to Sam and the team for a great event.”

You can watch the official event video below to reminisce about last week, or if you weren’t in attendance (shame on you) to see what you missed out on:-

One of the highlights for many a football fan on the day was a keynote session with Dutch football legend Ruud Gullit. He has recently become involved with esports with his Team Gullit project, a FIFA esports academy which currently has three players on the books. You can read the Mail Online’s coverage of this session here.

Gullit admitted he enjoys being in the EA title, especially with his Legend status: “For me it’s great to see that still people know you, it’s funny. When you also go to kids nowadays, they don’t know you anymore from football. They know you from PlayStation or they know you from FIFA game. They say yes I want you, you cost a lot of money, it’s difficult to get you, how do I get you…. I said ask my girlfriend.” 

In the coming weeks, we’ll be publishing a series of short interviews, including one with Ruud himself and with further key attendees and speakers from the ESI Super Forum. Be sure to give us a follow us on social channels; Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and YouTube to ensure you don’t miss out!