In 2023, Esports Insider is kicking off a new, fortnightly news series together with Esport1 CEE, our esports business media partner, focusing on the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) region. In this piece, Dániel Hodozsán, COO of Esport1 CEE, goes through some of the most important CEE stories from 2022.
Esports becomes an official sport in Slovenia
The recent recognition of esports in India was a very notable event as we entered 2023, but similar news came from the CEE region in June 2022. The Slovenian Olympic Committee, the central sports organisation in Slovenia, has accepted the Esports Federation of Slovenia (EŠZS) as a member of the Association. The exact benefits of being a member of the Olympic Committee are still unclear for the local esports community, but getting governmental recognition will help in the further development of the scene.
Despite being a country with a population of around 2 million people, Slovenia has already produced some world-class esports players, such as Mihael ‘Mikyx’ Mehle, current support player for G2 Esports in the LEC, and Tai ‘TaySon’ Starčič, an 18 year-old professional Fortnite player who has already won close to $900,000 (~£729,000) on various Fortnite competitions; The country is also the home to Jernej Simončič, who won the first ever Sim Racing World Cup in Monaco in October 2022.
Betting companies boosted the industry in Hungary and Czechia
In recent years, more and more betting companies got involved with the esports industry, and the CEE region is no exception. In Hungary, national lottery company Szerencsejáték Zrt. became the naming partner of TippmixPro CS:GO Masters, a £13,300 Hungarian National CS:GO Championship.
Szerencsejáték Zrt. also announced a strategic partnership with the Hungarian Esports Federation in 2022. The lottery company is the main partner of the Hungarian National Team for European and World Championships organised by the GEF, IeSF and the EEF.
In Czechia, Tipsport, a local betting company, became the naming partner of the Czech National CS:GO Championship last year. Its involvement helped to increase the prize pool, general viewership and the number of offline events in the country. It is clear that betting companies are a valuable addition to the esports sponsorship portfolio in CEE countries, and that their younger target group matches the esports audience.
Deutsche Telekom unfolded its wings in 2022
Deutsche Telekom is one of the biggest telecommunication companies in Europe and the world, with subsidiaries in most European countries. Seeing competitors like Vodafone sponsoring major esport events and teams, it was only a matter of time before Telekom also entered the space.
2022 was the year when the company became more active in Central Europe, with two regional competitions running almost in parallel: the eSport Cup powered by Telekom had three LAN events in late November in Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.
Moving towards the south, Telekom eSports Championship SEE gathered the best teams of Northern Macedonia, Croatia and Montenegro, and also ending with a LAN event in November. Both events provided tens of thousands of euros in prizes and showed that Telekom has become an important partner for esports.