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West Midlands Signs 10-year Strategic Framework Agreement with GEF

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West Midlands Signs 10-year Strategic Framework Agreement with GEF
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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.”

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Indian DOTA 2 Team Scripted History once again, won the bronze medal at Commonwealth Esports Championship 2022

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First, it was during the Asian Games 2018 where Tirth Mehta got the bronze medal in esports (demonstration title) and now the Indian DOTA 2 team produced a power-packed performance to clinch the bronze medal at the first-ever Commonwealth Esports Championship on Sunday.

The Indian Dota 2 team, comprising Moin Ejaz (captain), Ketan Goyal, Abhishek Yadav, Shubhnam Goli, and Vishal Vernekar, defeated New Zealand by 2-0 in a best-of-three format. Despite the early pressure from New Zealand, the Indian contingent kept a cool head and won the first two rounds by taking the enemy’s ancient with their intense gameplay and strategies.

“This win symbolises the amount of hard work the team has put in over the years and we dedicate this win to our country. Winning a medal at the Commonwealth was a dream for us and we’re super proud as a team. We were very much aware before leaving for Birmingham that the tournament was going to be tough. Keeping in mind the intensity and level of the game on such an international platform, each and every team member gave their best shot during the practice sessions. We have invested a lot of time in preparing the strategies and improving our gameplay, which finally culminated in this win. We would like to thank the Esports Federation of India (ESFI) and Lokesh Suji Sir for their continuous support, motivation & encouragement. We hope that this win will encourage more tournaments around DOTA 2 and other esports titles, which will help the ecosystem as a whole to grow in our country,” said an elated Indian DOTA 2 skipper Moin Ejaz after winning the bronze medal.

Earlier in the DOTA 2, India came away with a convincing victory against Wales, got a bye against Trinidad and Tobago, but lost to England. They went on to the semi-finals but couldn’t go past Malaysia’s team and ended with a bronze medal match with New Zealand, which the team won convincingly.

“This is a historic win. The team DOTA has made the entire country proud by winning the bronze medal in the first-ever Commonwealth Esports Championship 2022. Moreover, it’s a dream come true for the Indian Esports Ecosystem as we have won the bronze medal at the Asian Games 2018 as well. The entire esports community is overwhelmed with this win and will fuel many esports athletes to represent India on a global stage in coming years,” said Lokesh Suji, Director of Esports Federation of India and Vice President of the Asian Esports Federation.

“Our next stop will be Asian Games 2022, where Esports is a proper medal event, and our focus is to excel in the tournament with multiple podiums finishes and bringing the laurels for our country. The esports community wants and requires esports to be recognised by the government as a sport in India to gain the benefits and support any sports community and athletes would receive. We want our esports industry to grow, develop and be nurtured just like any other sports in India,” added Mr Suji.

The Indian team in the Rocket League, which Hargun Singh led with Sandeep Sahani and Rushil Reddy, were not able to make it through after losing out to Canada by 3-0 in the best of five series in their first group stage match. The team faced similar defeats against Wales and England, which resulted in their exit from the Commonwealth Esports Championship early in the group stage.

One of the country’s top sports and Esports specialised communication firms, Artsmith – Concepts & Visions and India’s Leading Multiplex chain INOX continue their support for this prestigious tournament as the communication and multiplex partners of ESFI, respectively.

Commonwealth Games & Global Esports Federation organised the inaugural multi-nation esports tournament, scheduled in Birmingham from August 6-7. The 2022 Commonwealth Esports Championships were conducted at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham with the presence of the world’s top Esports teams. Alongside DOTA2 and Rocket League, PES2022 was also part of the tournament.

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WePlay Esports is a finalist of Ragan’s 2022 Video, Visual & Virtual Awards

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WePlay AniMajor got shortlisted as a Livestream Event of the year by Ragan’s 2022 Video, Visual & Virtual Awards.

Ragan’s Awards evaluate video, visual design, and virtual events that managed to engage with audiences remotely. WePlay AniMajor took place amid a COVID-19 epidemic, so sanitary restrictions didn’t allow the presence of spectators at the WePlay Esports Arena, Kyiv. Nevertheless, the event went down in history as the most popular Dota 2 Major during the pandemic era – the tournament got 647 214 peak viewers, and the general number of hours watched was more than 37 million based on Esports Charts.

Maksym Bilonogov, chief visionary officer and general producer at WePlay Esports. Photo: WePlay Holding

“One may think there is no significant difference between organizing an offline event and an online one. However, the atmosphere of a LAN tournament with spectators is a blast. Our task was to create an event that would be remembered by our viewers forever, even if they couldn’t attend in person.

The music, the setting, AR, and other details all made up a new world where our viewers wanted to stay longer. For us, getting recognition for our work is so much needed right now when it’s impossible to make this event happen in Kyiv again due to the Russian invasion”, says Maksym Bilonogov, chief visionary officer and general producer at WePlay Esports.

The entire WePlay Esports team is waiting for the announcement of the winners, who will be revealed on August 24.

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IMSA Launches New Esports Global Championship

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IMSA Launches New Esports Global Championship
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The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) has announced the launch of the IMSA Esports Global Championship, an iRacing series dedicated to professional sim racers and sim racing teams.

Although IMSA’s association with iRacing dates back more than a decade and includes the IMSA iRacing Pro Series and the IMSA Triple Crown Challenge, the IMSA Esports Global Championship announced now is the first IMSA-backed iRacing series dedicated to professional sim racers and sim racing teams.

The IMSA Esports Global Championship kicks off in October and will feature the world’s top professional sim racers and sim racing teams competing for cash purses in each event of the four-race series and for the overall series championship. Races will be broadcast on iRacing and RACESPOT YouTube, Facebook and Twitch social media channels.

In keeping with IMSA’s more traditional racing series, the Esports Global Championship will consist of multi-driver, multi-class racing and will feature iRacing’s meticulously modeled GT3 and TCR cars. The series will enable professional sim racers and teams to develop close working relationships with eight of the manufacturers competing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge: BMW, Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Lamborghini, McLaren, Mercedes-AMG and Porsche.

“The IMSA Esports Global Championship is the next step in our esports presence after the success of the IMSA iRacing Pro Series and the IMSA Triple Crown Challenge. IMSA was among the first motorsports organizations to recognize the potential of working with iRacing to blend the gap between sim racing and real racing by including our manufacturing partners. We’re excited that eight manufacturers competing in IMSA this year will be participating in the IMSA Esports Global Championship, and we expect that number to increase in the coming years,” IMSA President John Doonan said.

“iRacing and IMSA have enjoyed a long and productive relationship. Our partnership with IMSA has enabled more than 160,000 iRacers around the world to race virtual versions of the world’s fastest sports cars on North America’s iconic road courses. The IMSA Esports Global Championship is a natural and exciting next step in our relationship with IMSA as well as with many of the world’s leading makers of high-performance automobiles,” said Tony Gardner, president of iRacing .com.

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