ESI London: Building on the biggest year in UK esports history

ESI London is just 10 days away and this year’s event will undeniably be bigger and better than ever. Taking place on September 16-17th at Twickenham Stadium, the esports business conference will play host to over 100+ speakers and 500+ attendees.

The agenda will be split into four tracks across two days and stages, covering the most coveted topics in the esports industry today. In this article, however, we take a look at one panel in particular: ‘Building on the biggest year in UK esports history.’

ESI London

The panel will include participation from some of the UK’s most experienced industry professionals:

  • Heather Dower, Marketing and Communications Manager for ESL UK
  • Ben Greenstone, Director of Taso Advisory
  • Clement Murphy, Marketing Manager for FACEIT
  • Daniel Wood, COO of Ukie
  • Moderator: Dom Sacco, Content Director of British Esports Association

“2018 was a great year for esports, as Government and the general public increasingly took notice,” said Greenstone. “For our part, we think 2019 will be even bigger. That will come with increased scrutiny, and we’re looking forward to working with businesses as this happens.”

Hailed as a landmark year, 2018 saw some of the biggest esports tournament hosted on UK land for the very first time. Kicking off the year was ESL One in Birmingham, playing host to first ever Dota 2 Major in the country. The tournament saw twelve of the best Dota 2 teams battle it out for a hefty $1,000,000 (£812,810) prize pool and all-important DPC points. Hosted at the 15,800-capacity Arena Birmingham, ESL reported that it sold over 1,000 tickets in the first five minutes of them being made available.

FACEIT London Major
Photo credit: FACEIT

Additionally, competitive platform and tournament organiser FACEIT brought the first-ever CS:GO major to the UK. The tournament, which was hosted at the SSE Arena in Wembley, saw over 1,000,000 concurrent viewers tune in to see Astralis lift the trophy after beating Natus Vincere in the grand final.

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Murphy discussed the landmark year for UK esports: “Hosting the FACEIT CS:GO Major in 2018 was a huge honour for us, and personally a career milestone for me. More and more UK businesses are stepping up to the global esports scene to put on world-class events, and 2018 was our most successful year yet. It’s up to us to learn from all the great things we did in 2018 and keep pushing them forward to make the UK the esports capital of the world.”

‘UK esports – It’s coming home?’ – Panel at ESI London 2018 (Photo Credit: Jak Howard)

Elsewhere, League of Legends esports received a boost in the nation when Riot Games and LVP UK announced the creation of UKLC. The competition marks Riot Games’ biggest commitment to the UK with a multi-million-pound investment; nine teams were selected to participate after a strenuous selection process.

UKLC Trophy
Photo credit: UKLC

Among those nine teams are Excel Esports, which announced its entry into Riot Games’ covered League of Legends European Championship (LEC) as franchising was introduced. Since then, the organisation has gone from strength to strength having announced a number of partnerships, significantly grown its presence in the industry, and launched its own dedicated esports training facility at Twickenham Stadium. You can hear all about this partnership on the first day of ESI London over on our second stage from 12:00. 

ESI London will have plenty more panels and debates for delegates to explore, covering the likes of franchising in esports, esports betting, the convergence of pop culture and esports, and the future of esports viewership, to name just a few.