Franchising in esports, the convergence of pop culture and esports, and the potential of mobile esports; these are just some of the topics that were discussed on the first day of ESI London. Take into account the networking opportunities and it’s undeniable that the event has not been one to miss so far.
After Sam Cooke, Managing Director & Co-founder of Esports Insider kicked things off with one of his signature speeches, we quickly got into the action. The likes of Anna Baumann, Managing Director of Rogue, Robbie Doeuk, CEO of BLAST Pro Series, and Michele Attisani, Co-founder & CEO of FACEIT manned a panel that discussed whether franchising in esports is the perfect system or a threat to the industry at large.
“We didn’t want Fnatic and G2 Esports to rebrand to something else but we wanted to partner with them.” – Alban Dechelotte, Head of Sponsorship & Biz Dev at Riot Games
Later in the day came East meets West, a panel comprising of veterans from teams such as LGD Gaming and G2 Esports. “G2 Esports is a European-grounded club with international aspirations,” said Lindsey Eckhouse, Commercial Director of G2 Esports. “We are looking at China as a region that offers incredible scale. With the success of our League of Legends team, it’s a great time for us to strike there.”
As mentioned during the panel, China has a plethora of gaming cafés throughout the country but there’s a distinct difference in the West. These cafés are much like pubs in Europe in that they act as a hub for friends to meet and hangout.
Other topics that were discussed on the main stage Kinguin and its Esports Performance Center, the fantastic partnerships between ESL & DHL and LEC & Beko, the future of esports spectating, esports media & rights, and building the biggest year in UK esports history.
The side stage played host to panels about sports simulator games, sim racing, the relationship between EXCEL and Twickenham, and mobile esports.
“Offset is one of the biggest names who’s invested and he’s really embracing it. He really understands the culture.” – Erik Anderson, Head of Esports at FaZe Clan
Craig Santicchia, Partnerships Manager at Fnatic, Patrick Mahoney, CEO of We Are Nations, Ross Millican, Director of Event Sales & Sponsorships EU at Twitch, and Anderson all discussed the continued convergence of pop culture esports with Yinsu Collins, Sports Journalist at Sky moderating.
Reinvigorated by Tyler “Ninja” Blevins playing Fortnite with Drake live on Twitch, there’s been an ever-growing trend of esports making it into popular culture. Since that titanic event, we’ve seen the likes of Drake, Diddy, and Offset invest in teams, a network television show incorporate League of Legends esports, and streetwear fashion blend massively into the industry.
After the panels had wrapped up, everybody headed upstairs at Twickenham Stadium to take advantage of the free drinks and networking opportunities.
Tomorrow we have more pressing topics to be discussed, ESIC’s very own track, and our innovative new feature, The Clutch.