It’s our dream to enable LDN’s young gamers and provide them with the tools to realise their ambitions to become professional gamers and represent their city on a world stage.
Adam Whyte, CGO, LDN UTD
It’s a great time for UK esports. We’ve spoken before about the growing amount of investment in the industry; London-based billionaire Tej Kohli has teamed up with Sam Cooke of Esports Insider, one of the UK’s leading esports news and business sites, to launch a €50 million esports fund for the UK and Europe. We’ve seen the rise of UK esports organisations; The newly rebranded League Of Legends European Championship, or LEC (formerly EU LCS) starts this weekend and its roster includes the, also newly rebranded EXCEL (formerly exceL Esports). This is amazing for the UK which has always been a little behind continental Europe and the US in the esports scene. What’s even greater news, however, is that there is not just growing interest at the top level, there are also organisations focusing on true grassroots of esports and, importantly, on the gamers themselves.
EStars had a very successful 2018 with the launch of Ireland’s largest ever esports tournament. Starting off with 10 teams and fifty competitors, the tournament final took place at Dublin’s 3Arena in May. You can see for yourself how much fun it was.
Ireland Estars Grand Final
We are now in the middle of EStars’ next big venture; a Fortnite tournament taking place at football stadiums across the UK and Ireland. They already had their first qualifier at Celtic Park earlier this month and are at the Amex Stadium in Brighton this weekend.
EStars Celtic Park Highlights
Choosing to hold the event at football stadiums is a genius move. Football is of course massive in the UK, but Millenials and Gen Z are shying away from watching traditional sports, so clubs need to make sure they reach a new, young audience. By embracing esports not only can they bring increased revenue to the clubs, they can use esports as a hook to bring that audience back to traditional sports. Clubs like Manchester City have already realised this with their dedicated esports team, and the launch of the ePremier League is really going to help that grow.
But the key point about the EStars tournament is its structure. It’s a pay to play tournament where anyone over the age of 12 has a chance to compete and play for the whopping £25,000 final prize. This is refreshing for such a big tournament. Those of this scale will often be used to tempt in some big local names, and they would be foolish not to attend as well, but opening the competition to the public at the offline stage is a huge benefit to UK gamers. They can attend the event and mingle with other Fortnite gamers, they get a chance to see how pro events feel when you are a participant, and they give the opportunity to UK gamers to actually make some progress on the path to pro.
The last point is important. There is no clear structure and way to become a pro gamer. At Edge we constantly get requests for advice on this, the most common phrase being ‘I have no idea where to even start’. EStars give that chance for a mere £25 with very few restrictions. There are many amazing players out there who get lost in the noise online, and tournaments like this help gamers break through that noise.
It’s not only tournament organisers giving UK gamers a leg-up. Introducing LDN UTD; a brand new London-based, fan-driven esports organisation. LDN UTD are taking a very unique approach to forming an esports team; the fans are in control.
As the name suggests the founders behind LDN UTD want to empower the fans as well as the players representing the team by uniting the two. Gamers can represent LDN UTD through two different paths. Firstly, they can upload content to the LDN UTD website where other members can upvote the content they like and the most upvoted gets chosen to represent LDN UTD at the next event. Secondly, LDN UTD hold their own offline ‘tryouts’ where attendees compete against each other to win a place on the team.
LDN UTD held their first event at Loading Bar’s Server location in Shepherd’s Bush earlier this month. It was a great success and the 4 winners were well deserving of their place on the team and their chance to compete at the EStars grand final at Stamford Bridge in March. The event was also hugely successful online. There was little promotion of the Twitch stream prior to the event, but LDN UTD managed to attract 25,000 viewers over the two hour stream with over 520 watching concurrently on average. That is massive for a first ever stream on the channel and it’s indicative of the desire and interest not only in Fortnite, but in the chance to both view unknown, highly skilled players and also that such events/organisations exist.
The LDN UTD Fortnite team
CEO for LDN UTD, Oliver Weingarten, said, ‘There are more than 2 million gamers in London. We believe there is plenty of undiscovered talent. We want to give them an opportunity to realise their dream as professional gamers. Moreover, LDN UTD is for the fans and we want them to influence the team, the brand and the games we compete in’.
This focus on grassroots by EStars and LDN UTD is a huge help for young gamers. We’re excited to see how the fans interact with the tournament and the team, and we’re even more excited to discover the new talent hiding among the London crowds. If you’d like to learn more about LDN UTD, watch our EdgeCast chat with the founders just after their official launch in December.
EdgeCast – LDN UTD launches