Esports Insider – Looking ahead to 2019 and beyond

31 December 2018


It’s been quite a year here at Esports Insider and so this is both something of a reflection on that, and a look ahead* (*promo and sales pitch) for everything we have planned for 2019 in terms of expansion, coverage and new events and services.

This is probably the type of content best saved for Medium, but I want exactly how long of a read this is in minutes to remain a mystery until the end.

Achievements and growth in 2018

They say a week is a long time in politics, but in esports it seems closer to a lifetime. It’s no surprise then that the esports industry at the start of 2018 is something of a different place to the end of the year, in a great many respects at least. At Esports Insider we’ve expanded both the full-time team in our London HQ, and our freelance team around the world, and now have a presence in the UK, the USA, Sweden, Mexico and Malaysia. We are also on the look-out for more writers so if that sounds of interest then head on over to Hitmarker and apply. 

I’d like to give a  big shout-out to the entire team who have ensured we have stayed competitive and provided some of the best industry news coverage, feature content and business events around despite operating with less resources than competitors.  

Events wise we held ESI London, one of the largest industry conferences of the year in terms of attendance, and the largest in terms of speakers, size, exhibitors and networking parties. We also ran the first ESI Hall of Fame at the Natural History Museum no less, and organised both ESI Birmingham, and the ESI Super Forum back in March.

In terms of partner events, and those we attended for coverage, we were rather well travelled. One or more members of the team visited Amsterdam, Atlanta, Bangkok, Berlin, Birmingham, Brighton, Cannes, Chicago, Cologne, Katowice, Kuala Lumpur, Lausanne, Leicester, Las Vegas, Lisbon, Los Angeles, Malta, Manilla, Paris, San Francisco, Taipei, and Tokyo, for one event or another.

Away from events and on the day to day, we, alongside our sister company SBC, moved offices with both having outgrown the former space. We now reside at 1 Riverbank House in Putney, in West London if anyone fancies a visit. 

I’ve a list of thanks longer than I will bore everyone with in text, and so please find a condensed version in logo and gif form below; this industry is filled with some very talented and hard working people and it has been our honour to work closely alongside these in one capacity or another…

ESI Events in 2019

2018 was, unsurprisingly, our busiest year yet in terms of events.

As mentioned we hosted the ESI Super Forum at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge home in March, we ran ESI Birmingham in partnership with ESL UK, Intel and PwC, and last but by many miles and sleepless nights not least, we held ESI London in September.

Speakers at the above included the likes of compLexity CEO Jason Lake, Fnatic Co-Owner Patrik Sattermon, lawyer/Rogue MD Anna Baumann, Tomi Kovanen of Immortals, Leicester City FC’s Christian Fuchs, ESL VP Pro Gaming Michal ‘Carmac’ Blicharz, Ruud Gullit, Team Vitality CEO Nico Maurer, Virtus.Pro GM Roman Dvoryankin, plus high level executives from the likes of Gfinity, FACEIT, Intel, StarLadder, and Formula 1 amongst many others.

ESI London also saw the inaugural ESI Hall of Fame at none other than the Natural History Museum during the closing party. We also worked with the SPIA team on the esports elements of their Asia Sports Industry Awards and Conference, and ran a Movember Pub Quiz at Loading Bar raising over £2,500 (and counting) for the charity. 

Future ESI Events – At a Glance

  • ESI Forum Series — London and Manchester — Quarterly throughout 2019
  • ESI New York — Tribeca Rooftop NYC, New York City — April 23rd 2019
  • ESI Hall of Fame — Nixon Peabody, Los Angeles — June 10th 2019
  • ESI London — September 2019

For 2019, we are once again stepping it up a gear, by going international on the one hand, and ‘back to our roots’ on the other.

First up, we will bring back the much loved, cherished and pizza-filled ESI Forum Series. This time around these will be quarterly events, and with no more Bunkr (RIP) we have found a new home and partner in Rank Group and the Grosvenor Casinos. They will follow the same popular format and dynamic duo of drinks and networking, followed up by a discussion panel, audience Q&A, casual tournament, more drinks, more networking and some good eating. The first of these will take place on February 6th, and we’ve plans to host them elsewhere in the UK too, and break reluctantly out of our London comfort zone.

Follow ESI on Instagram

Fast forward to April and we have our first major conference of the year, and our very first US event. ESI New York will take place on April 23rd 2019.

We’ll no doubt be missing The Donald too much and so by June we’ll be making our way back to the States for E3, during which time we will be hosting the 2019 edition of the ESI Hall of Fame. We’ll induct the next three Hall of Famers to join the esteemed ranks of Jason Lake, compLexity Gaming CEO, Michal ‘Carmac’ Blicharz, VP Pro Gaming at ESL, and Chris Puckett, broadcaster, presenter and legend.

For 2019, we will host a fun-filled evening with great drinks, great food, excellent networking, and all whilst overlooking Los Angeles from the rooftop of our friends at Nixon Peabody.

Later in the year we are back on home turf for our flagship conference, ESI London. This will take place in September 2018, with precise dates and venue still in the final behind-closed-doors decision making process. Rest assured though this will once again be amongst the biggest and best esports business conferences of the year in terms of amount of attendees, speakers, parties, space, networking opps, value for money and industry education.

Take a gander at some testimonials from ESI London in 2018 below…

I really enjoyed my time at ESI London.  In addition to some informative expert panels, it was a great networking opportunity.  I hope to return again next year!”

– Jason Lake, CEO, compLexity Gaming

“ESI London was a great opportunity to connect and knowledge share with members of the esports industry. It was great to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing esports as it continues to grow from strength to strength.”

– Julian Tan, Head of Esports and Digital Growth, F1 Esports 

“We are involved in the esports scene so attending and speaking at an event like ESI London makes perfect sense. It is a clued-in audience, familiar with the industry and the key trends emerging. The ESI London event itself is an exciting event with some excellent speakers.”

– Christian Fuchs, Leicester City FC player and Owner of NoFuchsGiven

What else is new at ESI?

  • ESI Connect
    • ESI Connect sits in-between current esports rights holders and companies seeking to do business the right way, without all the hassle. Acting as a media house, translator and mentorship group, ESI Connect will evaluate what you seek to do, propose the best fit, initiate the right contacts and support you in the delivery of your plans. Finding the right information, people and opportunities inside and outside the esports space has now become much easier.
    • We’ll have more information on this once we formally roll it out in Q1 2019! Send a note to [email protected] if you’d like to be involved, or find out more right away.
  • ESI Reviews
    • From PCs, to keyboards, headsets, apparel, phones and more the esports merchandise market is growing fast and showing no signs of slowing down.
    • As ‘Esports Insiders’ we will be introducing an ESI Reviews section of the site in which we feature our own extensive reviews of such merchandise, and moreover we’ll be looking to work with relevant influencers for this so if that’s you please get in touch. Similarly if you’d like your product or service reviewed drop us a line at [email protected] 
  • ESI Video on Demand, Media Arm and Podcasts
    • We are amping up our video content and overall ESI Media arm in 2019. We started this process in late 2018, with some ESI On the Road videos, and coverage of our attendance of the Esports Awards and more. All of these can be seen over on our YouTube channel. We will also be launching a number of short and focused podcast series.
    • There are extensive chances to be involved in all the above, so message, where else but [email protected] for our media deck and details of these options. 

Signing off

All things considered, it’s been a rather good year. As we ‘step it up a gear’ for 2019, launch ESI Connect and host events in the USA, the UK and possibly elsewhere (watch this space), we look forward to seeing what the wider industry has in-store, and continuing to play our role within it. Cheers!

P.S. Please follow Mark Mantle on Twitter and help him achieve his dream. 

Subscribe to ESI on YouTube