The West Midlands has agreed on a 10-year Strategic Framework Agreement (SFA) with the Global Esports Federation (GEF), accelerating the region’s commitment to driving international growth in the rapidly developing industry.
The partnership will see the West Midlands join a network of global hubs, including GEF’s headquarters Singapore and continued developments in Brazil, China, Turkey, Japan, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas, among others.
The agreement, led by the West Midlands Growth Company (WMGC), will cement the region’s position as a hotbed for the esports and gaming industry, with the West Midlands already responsible for one quarter of the UK’s output in the sector.
The partnership builds on the West Midlands’ position as a gaming and esports hub within the UK, with the region playing host to a total of 130 games companies – predominantly clustered around Leamington Spa – including the likes of Codemasters, Ubisoft, Playground, Sega Hardlight and others.
The sector employs a workforce of more than 3000 games professionals in the region. The University of Warwick has also been recently named the UK Esports University of the Year for the fourth successive year, following significant investment in state-of-the-art facilities and talent.
Premier League club Wolverhampton Wanderers has also committed heavily to Esports, hosting its own esports organisation with teams in the UK, Europe and China, as well as announcing last year a partnership with North American Esports giant Evil Geniuses.
Paul J. Foster, CEO of Global Esports Federation, said: “The GEF President, Chris Chan and the entire Board of the Global Esports Federation have earmarked strategic global hubs as anchors for our development of esports, sports, immersive technologies, innovative entertainment, and adjacent sectors. The leadership in the West Midlands continues to demonstrate a strong collective ambition and the diverse capabilities of this dynamic region. Through our partnership with the Commonwealth Games Federation for the upcoming Commonwealth Esports Championships and this historic Strategic Framework Agreement, we are proud to bring our support, expertise, and strong, tangible commitment to this region, unlocking a decade of limitless opportunities and accelerating growth for the people and businesses who are lucky to call it home.”
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “I was thrilled when we confirmed that the first ever Commonwealth Esports Championships would be staged this summer right here in the West Midlands and this exciting partnership with the Global Esports Federation showcases the scale of our region’s ambition – to be a global leader in what is the world’s fastest growing entertainment sector. We’re fortunate to already have huge gaming names like Sega Hardlight and Codemasters on our doorstep all contributing to the West Midlands’ growing status as an esports hub. Now we’re taking the next step by partnering with the Global Esports Federation to drive investment and create high-quality, state-of-the-art jobs in this incredibly dynamic sector. These are momentous times for the West Midlands, and I cannot wait to see this sector continue to thrive.”
Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “With Birmingham and the wider West Midlands synonymous with youth, vibrancy and pioneering new innovations, our region is well-placed as the new strategic centre of UK esports. Through our partnership with the Global Esports Federation, we’re turning this rapidly growing, global economic and cultural opportunity into a regional blueprint for growth. The 10-year commitment will help us to deliver more major events in the city – driving international footfall into the region – and includes the development of a new Esports Innovation and Research Centre, which has the potential to galvanise local tech capability. We look forward to bringing esports to new audiences of fans and talent, right here in Birmingham, starting with the inaugural Commonwealth Esports Championships this August.”
Unikrn Brings Video Games and Esports Betting Back
Gamers are always looking for more, and unikrn is betting on it. The esports betting platform is back and built for a new generation of players.
Initially introduced eight years ago, unikrn is the most expansive video games and esports betting platform on the market – offering a safe, secure and accessible way for players of legal betting age to supercharge their esports fandom. The platform, which also offers betting options across traditional sport and casino games, is now available in Brazil and Canadian provinces and territories other than Ontario. The platform will continue plans to enter new, regulated markets around the globe in 2023 and into the future.
The platform, now with a completely new look-and-feel, offers an easy-to-use interface that makes it smoother and simpler for players looking to bet on their own, bet with friends or even bet on themselves. With an around-the-clock video game stream of exciting action featuring the world’s most popular video game titles, unikrn gives players more ways to bet while watching and playing their favourite games.
“Over the past year, the passionate team at Entain has worked closely with us to create a safe, accessible, secure and compliant product that players can trust – even if they’ve never placed a bet before. The launch of unikrn in both Brazil and Canada is the first step as we introduce a video games and esports betting platform that truly puts a new generation of players and their passions first,” Justin Dellario, CEO of unikrn and Managing Director of Esports at Entain, said.
unikrn is continually innovating and will evolve its product suite as the brand’s footprint expands. The initial product offerings will include UMode, unikrn Virtual, unikrn Esportsbook, unikrn Sportsbook, unikrn Casino and unikrn Rewards.
World Esports Championships Finals Begin with Spectacular Opening Ceremony
IESF welcomes World Esports Family to Bali for the largest edition of its flagship event
The International Esports Federation (IESF) officially opened the 14th World Esports Championships Finals today in Bali, Indonesia. The Opening Ceremony kicked off IESF’s historic WE Championships with an athlete parade, special performances, and speeches from IESF President Vlad Marinescu and Esports Federation of Indonesia (PBESI) President Budi Gunawan at the Merusaka Nusa Dua Hotel.
The ceremony welcomed athletes, referees, fans, event organizers, government officials, and others from the World Esports Family. The ceremony began with the Indonesia Raya, the national anthem of Indonesia, and the official PBESI march. IESF then did an official raising of its flag to mark the start of the event. Inspired by Indonesian and Balinese culture, the ceremony featured traditional dances as well as extraordinary performances by Indonesian artists Alffy Rev, Wizzy, and Ecko.
The WE Championships remain the sole international esports competition where athletes compete to represent their countries. Over 600 players representing 106 countries will compete across six games: CS:GO, Dota 2, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, eFootball ™ 2023, Tekken 7, and PUBG Mobile, making this the largest and most geographically diverse edition of the event since its inception in 2008 with a record prize pool of $500,000.
An athlete representative from each country joined in the athlete parade of the Opening Ceremony to carry their country’s flag to celebrate the event’s largest and most inclusive edition. Additionally, IESF showcased its commitment to responsible gaming and providing referees with the highest level of certification to ensure fair and safe competition. This year’s referees took an oath on stage during the Opening Ceremony, alongside an athlete representative, to safeguard responsible gaming.
IESF President Vlad Marinescu spoke at the ceremony and said: “Welcome to Bali for the 2022 World Esports Championships Finals. We are elated to see a historic 106 countries, more than double from last year’s edition, competing in the 14th edition of this event right here in the Land of Gods. All of you here in this beautiful country and those watching are proof and reflection of the growth and progress of the World Esports Family.”
In his speech, PBESI President Budi Gunawan said: “The Indonesia Esports Summit and the 14th IESF World Esports Championships, wil declare our commitment to set new standards for organizing world class esports event. We sincerely hope that the 14th IESF World Esports Championships Bali 2022 will be a new momentum for all these great talents from around the world to build friendship and peace”
The competition will conclude with the Closing Ceremony and a special announcement on December 11, where one nation will be crowned the World Esports champion.
The Finals will be live-streamed across seven IESF Twitch channels, one dedicated for each game. The full lineup of competing nations and all other information related to WEC can be found on the official website.
The World Esports Championships 2022 Are Officially Open!
And WE are live in 3,2,1…
The World Esports Championships 2022 are officially open!
Join the opening ceremony today, at 7 pm GMT +8 with traditional music and dance performances, a fireworks show, and wave your national flag proudly!
After the opening ceremony feel free to join in the press conferences.
During the event, you can experience a little bit of everything from cosplay competitions, games, watch parties, and daily activities.
If you are not in Bali, you can always tune in on the platform wec.iesf.org and become part of the magic.
Watch your teams, stay on top of every score, and keep cheering for your favorite players!
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