ESI Digital Winter: Day one recap

Ahead of ESI Digital Winter day two, Esports Insider has gone through some of the key talking points discussed across day one of the event to ensure that everybody keeps up to date with the major conversations currently occurring in the industry.

There’s still time to purchase a ticket for ESI Digital Winter, which provides access to day two’s live agenda and networking. This article looks to provide a recap of yesterday’s takeaways, however, there is still much more to offer through our session VODs, all of which from across both days will be made available to attendees post-event.

ESI Digital Winter Local Economic Impact of Hosting a Major Esports Tournament Panel

What is the local economic impact of hosting a major esports tournament? 

Following opening remarks from Esports Insider’s own Managing Director and Co-Founder Sam Cooke, the virtual conference kicked off with a panel discussion focusing on the economic impact of hosting a major event in esports.

Speaking about the economic benefits of esports events Ronnie Hansen, Director of Sport, Culture and Media, Geelmuyden Kiese commented: “Esports events are truly international events; traditional sports are also, but the critical mass for those is domestic. Esports events are truly international.”

As a result of the global appeal of esports, it was agreed by the panel of experts that major events in esports do have the potential to help drive revenue in cities. However, it is also important to choose the correct place of operations for an esports tournament, with ‘major’ cities not necessarily being the correct option.

“In terms of what makes a city interesting, you don’t only look for the biggest cities.” Explained Ulrich Schulze, Senior VP of Product, ESL. “In New York, there’s a big B2B aspect already there, but there’s Broadway and the like to compete with and an esports event coming to New York isn’t going to make any headlines. But an event like Katowice, has a different appeal to it.”

Ubisoft and Rainbow Six Siege’s esports scene – Building a global competitive structure

The topic of specific titles’ esports competitive structure was discussed throughout day one of ESI Digital Winter with experts from the worlds of PUBG Mobile and Rocket League highlighting how its scene will grow. Discussions over Rainbow Six Siege’s esports ecosystem also took to the stage, with the intention clear that the title looks to push on from a successful 2020.

Che Chou, Senior Director Esports, Ubisoft highlighted Rainbow Six Siege’s current strategy: “I think for us, you have to balance path-to-pro with stability. Players at the grassroots level have to have opportunities, but you also need to maintain stability at the premiere level so that brands continue to invest.”

Moreover, Chou also discussed the title’s reasoning to embrace the LATAM market: “For us, we decided LATAM was the most attractive market.

“It already has the infrastructure in place, the ecosystem is more advanced with live events happening over there from the start.

Esports Betting in 2021 – What’s on the cards?

Esports’ rise during the global health pandemic, especially in viewership and participation, has become a hot topic over the last few months. However, discussions are now looking towards the future and how the esports sector will grow and develop in 2021.

Esports betting, for example, has been largely dominated by the ‘big three’ – Dota 2, League of Legends, CS:GO – however, with the rise of sports-simulation titles this year and the arrival of VALORANT, a panel of experts discussed the possibility of a fourth title entering the betting market as significant player.

“If I had to guess it’s probably one of the emerging market mobile games,” stated Steven Salz, CEO, Rivalry. “I imagine one of those could be really successful. I don’t think VALORANT is gonna get there this coming year as the competitive scene needs some time to develop”

“I do think there is a large rise of mobile that is not usually discussed on English-speaking panels”

Queens Assemble: This is What Empowerment Looks Like

After debuting their brand just a few days before, Queens Gaming Collective brought their energy to the ESI Digital Winter platform, Co-Founder and CEO of the collective, Alisa Jacobs explained the vision behind the collective, offering diversity and female representation in the traditionally male-dominated gaming space.

The collective seeks to create a lifestyle brand atop its core as a media and management agency – promoting its creators and helping them leverage their careers while offering its audiences top-tier for-women-by-women content and merchandise.

Joined by bunnymightgameeu, gamer & recording artist, and Kiera Please, cosplayer & content creator, the three women expressed the sisterhood between the Queens and elaborated on their need to raise each other up in the greater gaming and esports spaces.

Jacobs commented: “The industry is not ready because this is so expansively beyond a content perspective. I also think we’re going to be recruiting and diversifying what not just gaming and the gamer looks like. But the audience. Lest we forget, 46 percent of it is already women, but they’re not being spoken to. They’re not being advertised to. There’s no dollars being spent in the marketplace.” 

ESI Hall of Fame Class of 2020 part of ESI Digital Winter

ESI Brand Showcase and Esports Insider’s Hall of Fame Class of 2020

Other highlights of the event included ESI’s brand showcase on the League of Legends European Championship (LEC) and Warner Music’s recent partnerships. Alban Dechelotte, Head of Partnerships & Business Development, Riot Games EMEA and Eike Gyllensvärd, Executive Vice President Global Esports Partnerships, SPORTFIVE went in-depth on its unique and expansive relationship, whilst also providing context on the importance of the deal.

Finally, running throughout the show was the announcement of the ESI Hall of Fame Class of 2020 with Naz Aletaha, Head of Global Partnerships and Business Development at Riot Games; Mike Sepso, Founder & CEO of Vindex; and Anna ‘Laejten’ Nordlander, Chief Operating Officer, DreamHack at ESL Gaming GmbH revealed as this year’s inductees.

What’s coming up today?

Whilst day one kicked off the event exceptionally, day two is expected to be just as exciting with the event featuring panels on esports broadcasting, revenue generation and diversification, plus The Clutch, in partnership with Deloitte and Nations Ventures – an esports focused start-up pitching competition – will take place live today. You can see the full agenda for #ESIDIGITAL right here.

Day two of ESI Digital Winter is set to commence at 12:30PM GMT. To purchase a ticket for the event then click here.