In the aftermath of ESL One and ESI Birmingham, Esports Insider caught up with Scott Gillingham, UK Gaming & Esports Lead, Intel Corporation UK and James Dean, Managing Director, ESL UK to ask how things have been going and what their focus will be next.
Intel’s partnership with ESL started well over 15 years ago and both have been working together for the betterment of esports on online, amateur, collegiate, and professional tiers of esports opportunities around the world. They can count the likes of the Intel Extreme Masters, ESL One, ESL Pro League, ESEA and even ESL Play as examples of their endeavours.
To give you a brief idea of the history, let us take a quick peek into the Intel Extreme Masters.
IEM Started in 2006 and through its first nine seasons it has been to 25 cities, travelled 400 kms, representing 10 game titles, and fronting almost $5m (£3.7m) total prize money.
Season 11 delivered record-breaking results with its 46 million online views, (making that a 35% YoY increase), 173,000 live attendees over 2 weekends in Katowice alone, 55 million social interactions (83% growth) and 340,000 VR broadcast viewers.
Read a full overview of ESI Birmingham here
On a local level, and specifically in the UK, things have been a lot more modest and understandably so. Esports started off global, and is now pushing to become more localized.
Speaking to ESI, Dean stated: “You need to invigorate the grass-roots level by investing in a passion point. The advantage of localization is the customisation of the events and broadcasts to suit niche demographics.”
In 2017 ESL and Intel partnered up to bring the largest esports activation in the UK to EGX. Together taking over 5,000sq meters of the venue with two esports stages and ten booths, with players competing across Rainbow Six, CS:GO and League of legends.
Simultaneously attendees could take part in the Intel Treasure Hunt, VR Experiences, Asus PC Building workshops, Intel Open Lan and even the Intel Streaming Zone.
Gillingham added: “We strive to make things bigger and better and always do our best to bring value to the community.”
With four years of experience working together and having delivered the EGX masterpiece the duo finally had the traction they needed to deliver the first ever Dota 2 major here in the UK.
He continued: “We’re very happy to have partnered with ESL and help bring a major to the UK. Helping esports develop, growing the industry, the premiership that is what we are invested in, and will continue to do so.”
Looking to the future, James Dean was clear that the objective is “More of everything, games, leagues and experiences to bring forth aspiring new players and teams, even education institutes, brands partners and sponsors, while continuing to heighten the global recognition of UK esports. “
Who knows what the future of esports in the UK will entail; maybe we’ll see ESL UK announce a second Major, or perhaps we’ll see something fresh built right here with the resources and teams we already have in place?
In the meantime we’ve a CS:GO major in London to look forward to come Autumn, courtesy of FACEIT.
Esports Insider says: Without Intel and ESL the esports landscape would undeniably be very different today, and here at Esports Insider we believe that what they are doing is spot on. Showcasing the biggest and greatest esports tier in the world with Intel Extreme Masters, while also invigorating the grassroots by investing in the passion of gamers, supporting the infrastructure financially and technologically, is a blessing we are very grateful for!