First Discover:Esports conference successfully held in Newcastle
8 December 2022
Esports in the UK are on the rise, and more and more people and organisations are working on integrating them into more mainstream industries and on educating people about the abundance of opportunities that they represent. Just a few days age, for example, we wrote an article about Belfast Metropolitan College offering a brand-new esports foundation degree and London-based esports organisation Fnatic launching its own esports-inspired hip-hop music label. These are great examples of how esports in the UK are becoming a part of everyday life, just like the Discover:Esports conference that was held in Newcastle recently. During the unique two-day event, individuals and businesses were taught about the fundamentals of esports as a multi-billion-pound industry and the many exciting things it has to offer.
First edition of Discover:Esports
This year’s Discover:Esports conference was the first of its kind as about 130 delegates attended two days of speakers, demonstrations and workshops at the Boiler Shop, a multidisciplinary arts and music centre located in the heart of Newcastle, on November 29th and 30th, 2022. The event welcomed a host of big names from the global esports industry, including representatives from previously mentioned esports organisation Fnatic, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive experts ENCE, and worldwide tournament organiser EFL, just to name a few. Newcastle College was also involved, as the institute has started offering a BTEC esports course.
“The idea [of the conference] is for people to come and learn how it [the world of esports] works”, says co-organiser of the event Sally Kevan, “What the games are that are played, how you would engage as a brand and what the teams and organisations want from you, as a brand. Because if someone just chucks money at them it won't work. It's about relationships and how we work together”.
Bringing esports to UK households
The UK esports industry for 2022 has been valued at almost £1.5 billion, but Kevan realised that the esports phenomenon as a whole was still a bit of an unknown for many people. That’s where the idea for the Discover:Esports initially came from. She started developing the idea for the concept as she witnessed the rapid growth of esports in the UK over the past few years and figured that there were opportunities ahead, not just for herself but for other people and businesses as well.
“It's huge [esports] but people don't necessarily know about it”, says Kevan, “You have big online audiences on the likes of Twitch. There was one of the major tournaments in Rio a couple of weeks ago with massive arenas full of people. Then you've got your merchandise side of things, your hospitality side of things and your events side of things. It's got similarities to traditional sport like football and rugby, but there are differences. Mika (Kuusisto, CEO of Finnish esports organisation ENCE) one of our speakers from Finland - where they're very big into ice hockey - had sponsors come to him and say 'look, can we just have our logo on something because that's what we do with ice hockey?' Mika told them it doesn't work like that”.