When looking at the popularity of eSports, it is all too easy to think that this is just an overseas phenomenon. However, if you take a closer look, it becomes clear that the UK also has a thriving scene. The centre of this can, of course, be found in London.
Research shows that around 4 million people in the UK stream gaming content each year. That gives a conservative estimate of 4 million fans around the country. A poll by YouGov suggests that around 7% of the population have an interest.
It is not just about the fans though. The popularity of eSports is also demonstrated by the number of those who take part. In the UK, there are around 3,000 professional players, and that is a number that is continuing to grow. The desire to play in professional fighting game tournaments can be understood once you take a look at the financial rewards on offer and once you realise the interest that exists in eSports betting.
You can see by looking at these names, that the top UK players have all of the major eSports covered:
- Jaden Ashman—Fortnite
- Kyle Jackson—Fortnite
- Donovan Hunt—FIFA 19
- Treis Morris—Call of Duty: Infinite War
- Craig Rathbone—SMITE
- Joshua Bennett—Heroes of the Storm
- Alex McMeekin—Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
- Rhys Price: Call of Duty: Black Ops
The combination of a sizeable fan base, and thousands of pro players, means that the UK is an ideal location for eSports events. Here’s a look at some of those that you don’t want to miss.
Not an event as such, but a venue that is renowned for hosting some of the world’s very best eSports events. It was back in 2020 when Wembley was used as the venue to host the UEFA Euros eSport tournament. This was an event that attracted millions of streams as fans were keen to get in on the action.
This just gives a taste of what Wembley has to offer in terms of eSports. If you know the venue, you will appreciate quite how magnificent it is and you’ll see why it is the perfect location for eSport tournaments. It also highlights what makes London great when it comes to hosting. Here are just a few of the many other tournaments that have been hosted in London:
- Overwatch League: London Spitfire Homestand
- Esports Legends join ICE
- Call of Duty League
- GAMESYM: Gaming, Mental Health, and eSports
- BLAST Premier Spring Series
BAFTA Games Awards
You may associate BAFTA with film, TV, and even music. However, since 2004 there have been BAFTA awards to recognise all that is great in the world of gaming. The awards seek to reward outstanding creativity. 2021 saw a bit of a change with awards being a virtual affair, but when in London this is an event well worth attending. Some of the categories that are given, include:
- Best game
- Best British Game
- Evolving game
- Best mobile game
Anyone with an interest in eSports will come away from this event fully aware of the latest trends and with knowledge around what is up and coming.
Now Play This
The Now Play This festival is an annual event held in London and has been run-in since 2015. It gives visitors a glimpse at experimental games and shows what is on the horizon in the gaming industry.
This event is interactive meaning that visitors can get their hands on the games and try them out for themselves. While you may not see eSports class here, you will get a feel for how future games are shaping up.
Red Bull Gaming Sphere
The Red Bull Gaming Sphere is a must for any fan of eSports. In terms of events what you all find here are plenty of tournaments being held. What is so great about the tournaments here is that you are allowed to stream and create content.
There is more here he just tournaments though. The Red Bull Gaming Sphere hosts numerous workshops and taking sessions. These are open to both pros and amateurs and provide a real chance to increase your skill levels. Initiatives like this help to keep eSports so popular in the UK.