Martin Wyatt is Head of Global Partnerships at Gfinity. He’ll be speaking on one of the 19 sessions at ESI London (18-20th September), and will be taking part in ‘UK esports – it’s coming home?’ alongside Scott Gillingham from Intel, Kieran Holmes-Darby of exceL, Ben Greenstone of the DCMS, and Dom Sacco from the British Esports Association. Ollie Ring of Code Red will moderate.
You can find out more about the events and secure tickets here. Here Wyatt talks us through what attendees can expect, and a little more about UK esports’ growth generally and Gfinity’s expansion into Australia, F1 esports and more.
Esports Insider: Why are you attending and getting involved with ESI London?
Martin: Aside from being a speaker on one of the panels ESI London represents a great opportunity for us, as a leading esports solutions provider, to be present and contribute to the conversation and to then positively influence the thinking of others who are learning more about the space.
Esports Insider: You’re speaking on the ‘UK esports, it’s coming home?’ session. Gfinity are now approaching their fourth Elite Series season, can you talk us through how you’ve seen esports develop in the UK specifically in this time, and your hopes for the next 12 months?
Martin: Esports is beginning to blow up in the UK which, to us, is not a surprise. The UK has a rich esports heritage and is now starting to build on that history.
“With the opening of the Gfinity Esports Arena, four seasons of the Elite series, the RLCS Finals, the Fnatic Bunkr, F1 Esports Series, the DoTA 2 Major and the upcoming CS:GO Major – the UK is well and truly on the map”
The last five years have seen substantial investment from ourselves to establish the UK as a credible esports destination and to show the world that the UK is a very important part of the global scene. With the opening of the Gfinity Esports Arena, four seasons of the Elite series, the RLCS Finals, the Fnatic Bunkr, F1 Esports Series, the DoTA 2 Major and the upcoming CS:GO Major – the UK is well and truly on the map.
Not to mention the exposure the country and the capital got from the success of the London Spitfire OWL team – things are booming and will continue to grow here. My hopes for the next 12 months are that the growth continues and that collectively the UK scene works together to encourage that continuation.
Esports Insider: Gfinity has expanded to Australia in recent times. How has the first season gone down under, and any other regions you’re eyeing up?
Martin: The first season of the Elite Series in Australia was a tremendous success and our team there did a fantastic job.
The quality of the competition, the content and the general performance of the series all surpassed expectations and we’re very proud of it. What has been interesting is that since the launch and subsequent expansion of the Elite Series there is a lot of interest from other countries in seeing it become established in their markets.
Esports Insider: Gfinity are also involved with the F1 Esports Series. There’s been a big push with sim racing broadly this past year, how has it been working with Formula One themselves on this?
Martin: To be retained by F1 and to work with both them and Codemasters on the development of the program is something we are very proud of. It is both a great privilege to be associated with a brand like F1 and testament to the fantastic work we have done and will continue to do that sees us able to be part of a revolutionary program such as this.
“One thing that has become very clear is that F1 are very passionate about esports and about building a program that is exciting to participate in“
One thing that has become very clear is that F1 are very passionate about esports and about building a program that is exciting to participate in, credible and robust in structure, and very entertaining to watch.
Esports Insider: A deal was recently struck with Domino’s as the lead sponsor for the Elite Series. How did these negotiations go; was it still a case of extensive education being needed first of all, or have you witnessed brands becoming a bit more savvy when it comes to the esports space?
Martin: Firstly, we are very proud to have a brand like Domino’s involved as our presenting partner it’s testament to the quality of the Elite Series tournament.
“The positive point though is the ‘fear-factor’ is starting to wane and when brands like Domino’s jump in with both feet, it sends a strong, positive message”
As a non-endemic brand they are forward thinking that we have come across and building the deal was more about making sure there was a credible association for both parties. In a general sense, most brands these days are aware of esports but as you would imagine, an element of education is still required.
The positive point though is the ‘fear-factor’ is starting to wane and when brands like Domino’s jump in with both feet, it sends a strong, positive message to those who are still making up their minds.