The British Esports Championships is a great way for students aged 12+ to represent their school or college in Rocket League, Overwatch and League of Legends.

But what are the full details? Here in this FAQ guide we aim to answer all your frequently asked questions.

Before you begin

Please visit the following sections as you may find answers to a lot of your questions there:


Q: I didn’t take part in the 2018 Championships. Can I still take part?

A: Yes! Sign-ups for Season 1 of the 2019/2020 academic year are now closed but Season 2 sign-ups will open in early December 2019. Check out the Championships hub to see the latest info.

If you’re interested in entering school or college teams into the British Esports Championships, the 2019/2020 Season 1 matches start in October 2019 and the Season 2 matches begin in January 2020.


Q: What are the benefits of esports? Are there positives for students taking part in this sort of activity?

A: Absolutely. Esports engages a wide demographic of young people and is intrinsically a fun, team-building activity that promotes leadership, character development, communication and social skills.

Esports has more than 400m viewers across the world, and in the UK it’s the second most popular sporting activity for boys to watch on screen – behind only football.

Esports can improve confidence, strategic thinking, problem solving abilities, reading comprehension and phonic skills and focus on the development of digital and cyber skills. Skills can be transferred across into physical sports and schoolwork.

It can also boost attendance levels in schools.

Further reading:

Q: How can I sign up to take part in the Championships?

A: Team sign-ups for Season 1 2019/2020 are closed, but Season 2 sign-ups will open in early December 2019 – check out our Championships hub for the latest info when it becomes available.

You must be a registered student at the school or college aged 12+ to take part.

If you’re a student, you must find a member of staff who will organise/run the esports club at your school or college. Only adult members of staff can register your team(s) and school/college for the Championships. Try your IT/computing teachers or other members of staff who you know are into gaming. Or how about a senior member of staff who organises all the different clubs and extracurricular activities? More info for students can be found here.

Once registered, you will soon be sent an operational handbook that contains detailed logistics about what you need to set up in your school or college.


Q: What costs are involved?

A: The cost to enter the Championships is £25 for the academic year 2019-20, plus £5 per team, per game, per season. Season 1 is October to December and Season 2 is January to April.

Teams that already took part in Season 1 will not need to pay the central £25 entry fee again for Season 2.

Your school may want to purchase the games and create generic accounts for safeguarding reasons. League of Legends is free, Overwatch costs £29.99 and Rocket League costs £14.99. Alternatively, schools may allow pupils to play on their own accounts.

Additionally, your school may need to purchase new hardware to be able to run the games. A new PC capable of running all three games would cost around £600 (see more on acquiring funding in one of the questions below and read our downloadable Championships guide for teachers for more info).

 

Q: Can I get help paying for game keys?

A: At this moment we are unable to provide game keys to participants, you will need to acquire these in time for the Championships start date.

 

Q: When and where will the grand finals take place?

A: The finals will take place at Insomnia Gaming Festival (66) at the Birmingham NEC in April 2020. More details on this to be revealed at a later date.

 

Q: Can participants practice at home?

A: Teachers and parents can encourage students to practice at home in moderation.

We suggest teachers allow students practice time at lunch or after school once or twice a week, if possible, to allow them to develop strategies and bond as a team outside of the main matches.

 

Q: I’ve registered my team but haven’t received a confirmation email. What are the next steps?

A: Don’t worry. You will eventually receive an email with login instructions and a handbook to each leader.

When the time comes and the Season starts, the leader then logs into the tournament system and sets up teams using a team name, student username and student in-game names.

 

Q: Can students take part in more than one game?

A: Unfortunately not, as the games are all taking place at similar times, so students will need to choose one to focus on. Schools or colleges can field multiple teams, they just have to consist of different players.

Q: Can sixth forms take part?

A: Yes.

 

Q: Can we use anonymous accounts rather than our own gamertags/nicknames? What if someone finds out who I am, as a player?

A: No. You can’t obtain personal info of a player through their gamertag/account name, unless they share it freely or publicly on their own social media account, for example.

The names of students associated with IGNs (in-game names) will only known by British Esports staff, and used if there is a problem with rulebreaking and we need to quickly identify which student was playing on a specific account.

 

Q: Which format do the Championships run on?

A: The British Esports Championships are on PC only at this time, that includes Overwatch, Rocket League and League of Legends.

 

Q: How do I reschedule my team’s game?

A: We do recommend you try to stick to the original match time as much as possible, however we understand that over the course of the term, match times will need to change to suit everyone!

To reschedule any match, please do the following:

  • Submit a match reschedule request on the tournament website (this will then send an email of your requested change to the opposing team)
  • From there, the request will either be confirmed or declined by the opposing team – use the request system that finds a time best for both teams
  • If you decide to rearrange your match informally, either via Discord or email, please notify an admin immediately via Discord or by raising a support ticket on the tournament website. We always recommend using the reschedule request system so the admins can have a log of the reschedule conversation in case of any no shows or problems with the match.

 

Q: What if we cannot agree on a reschedule?

A: We all want there to be as many games as possible and no one wants to see games unplayed – however we do realise that sometimes this just isn’t possible! We always recommend trying every possible way to ensure each game is played (especially when every point counts) and to make use of the rescheduling system on the website.

If both teams cannot find a suitable time to reschedule, it will be a default loss for both teams. If no reschedule request is made, the default match time stands, and if one team is in the lobby, then a default win for the team can be claimed (if they have time-stamped proof to show the admins they were waiting in the lobby).

 

Q: How do I change my team’s roster? Can I update this at any point?

A: To change your team’s roster, enter the tournament website and click on “my teams”. From there, you will find the option to add/remove players and update any battletags/usernames. We always suggest that all teams should have some subs officially added on their roster. If you have any issues with updating the roster, please contact an admin.

Teams must check in every week of fixtures to confirm they will be playing that week. This is to reduce the incidence of no-shows. Check-in will be open until Monday at 6pm. After the final game for that week is played, the rosters will unlock and changes can be made. Emergency substitutions can be requested if necessary, but they must be requested at least one hour before the match time, and should notify an admin. 

 

Q: What do I do if I have IT issues?

A: Try and contact the other team and admins as soon as possible to inform them of the situation – this can be done by email/discord. By letting the opposing team and admins know straight away, a reschedule can be organised to ensure the game can still be played.

In our handbook, we outline the IP ports and firewalls that will need to be opened for the games to run effectively. We recommend making sure your IT department have ample time to fix this before the first week of fixtures! If you have any issues, please send a ticket on the website, schedule a call with us, or contact an admin as soon as possible. It might also be useful to have your IT department on speed dial just in case!

 

Q: What if I suspect the opposing team are cheating?

A: As our tournament aims to encourage all students to enjoy the benefits of esports in a fun competitive environment, we do not condone cheating and want everyone to enjoy the game. If you do suspect the enemy team of violating any of the rules outlined in the code of conduct within the handbook, please contact an admin immediately via a ticket on the website. Please submit your findings before confirming your score on the website – this ensures we have time to review your case before the match is confirmed.

When submitting a case for rule violation, please have the following ready: timestamped screenshots, videos, conversation history and any other evidence you have which can support your case.

Our admin team will then review your case and respond as soon as they can with their decision. If a team is found guilty of cheating, or violating any rules, an admin will contact them and enforce penalties.

 

Q: Why should we as a school or college or Alternative Provision (AP) school seek finance for computers/parts?

A: Any upgrade to PCs will support other academic subjects. Esports can be the hook or the motivator, but the fact esports can be played on the PCs is secondary to the additional support that upgraded machines can give subjects like computer science, tech, art, design, photography etc.

 

Q: How can we gain funding as a school or college?

A: One of the colleges in our pilot applied for and received £10,000 from the National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP) which they used to upgrade the processors and graphics cards in one of their PC suites.

The NCOP aims to increase the number of young people from underrepresented groups who go into higher education. It brings together 29 partnerships of universities, colleges and other local partners to deliver outreach programmes to young people aged 13-18. Their work is focused on local areas where higher education participation is lower than expected, given GCSE results of the young people who live there.

We believe this could be an opportunity for schools/colleges to apply for funding to upgrade their PCs.The focus of any application for funding should not be esports, but the additional support to academic subjects that having upgraded PCs will give eg: Computer Science, Games Design, Graphics & Design, Art etc. Esports can then be used as the hook to motivate/engage young people.

There’s also the possibility of seeking a sponsor to cover the sign-up/game license costs, in exchange for promotion in your IT room or Twitch channel for example, or on your team jerseys.


Q: What about if we’re an Alternative Provision (AP) school?

A: A few suppliers worked with the British Esports Association in the past to help supply systems to AP schools, allowing them to take part in the Championships. AP schools teach young people who, for a variety of possible reasons, are not in mainstream education. This could be for socio-emotional or mental health reasons, physical or mental disabilities or through behaviour which has led to permanent exclusion.

More details on a separate AP schools tournament are coming soon.

Contact us for more info: champs@britishesports.org

Q: Do you have any case studies on acquiring funding?

A: Yes. For more detailed information on acquiring funding, check out this case study from Sunderland College:

As an example of generating investment to use for esports equipment and hosting events, Sunderland College held a Vocational Skills Competition Day earlier this year, allowing pupils to compete with one another with the event judged, results celebrated and prizes awarded.

These events have typically been in areas such as construction, hair and beauty, catering and more in the past. They can refresh the spirit of the lecturers as well as the students and provide great show-casing opportunities to leverage governors and other stakeholders.

Sunderland College received up to £2,000 from recruitment and HR agency Protocol to run an event focused on esports competition, covering expenses and travel costs and prizes etc.

Mike Jaques, the college’s curriculum leader for digital design, said the skills competition money went towards purchasing mechanical keyboards, gaming mice, headsets graphics cards, gaming chairs, software and other equipment.

The first tournament was held on the weekend on February 24th and 25th 2018, and raised almost £866 for the SpecialEffect gaming charity as part of the Gameblast 18 donation push. Sunderland plans to make this an annual activity.

“The esports tournament enabled our students to complete the ‘Organising an Esports Tournament’ component of a pilot qualification we are running with Aim Awards,” Mike said.

“The ‘skills competition’ element of the event featured esports tournaments for Overwatch, League of Legends, Rocket League, Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros, Smite and Project Cars 2. The competition also helped us to identify players for the newly formed Sunderland College esports team. This team then represented the college in the pilot British Esports Championships for schools and colleges.”

The skills competition also enabled 150 students to provide evidence required for them to achieve the pilot “Level 3 Esports Business and Industry” qualification. Sunderland College is working with ESL, Ukie, Aim Awards and British Esports to deliver the UK’s first Level 3 Esports qualification.

“We are the only college involved in the pilot qualification and expect 150 Level 3 Games, Animation & VFX students to complete the qualification this academic year,” Mike added. “The qualification focuses on developing the skills students would require to work within esports. It focuses on the industry, job roles, the legal aspects, promotion and marketing, and tournament planning and running.

“If it wasn’t for this additional funding we would have had to scale back the competition and restrict the number of students who could be involved in both the tournament and the qualification.”

 

Q: How can I build a PC?

A: Building your own gaming PC can be a fun and rewarding (and slightly more affordable) way of attaining a PC. Follow our video guide for more detailed info:

 

Q: I have some concerns around ‘gaming addiction’ and the World Health Organisation’s recognition of ‘gaming disorder’ in an upcoming International Classification of Diseases publication.

A: We welcome the announcement because it allows the very small minority with addiction issues to hopefully better access the support they need.

However, it also gives us the chance to be very clear about how esports and the British Esports Championships is different from ‘normal’ video gaming. Esports is team based, human vs human, competitive play, not solitary, in-bedroom-on-own, playing against the computer kind of video gaming.

The British Esports Championships are played in a safe, secure, supervised, team environment from school or college. It allows students to gain all the character development traits from playing in a team whilst being done in moderation and allowing the kids to have great fun and enjoy something they really want to do.

Esports, when played in moderation, has many benefits.

You can read more FAQs on ‘gaming disorder’ in this handy guide by UK games industry trade body Ukie.

 

Q: Fighting or shooting games don’t seem appropriate for schools?

This will be a choice for each school. We offer a range of age-appropriate games in the Championships including 5v5 League of Legends which is a fantasy action strategy game and has a PEGI age rating of 12. There’s also games like 3v3 Rocket League – football with cars – which has a PEGI 3 rating and 6v6 team shooter Overwatch which has a PEGI 12 rating.

As participants are aged 12+, the games are safe to play and require no parental approval.

For more info on esports games and their age ratings, check out British Esports’ age guide here.

 

Q: I have concerns around safeguarding, safety and security including online security.

A: All games are played in a safe, secure, access-only platform. Only registered schools are able to log in and use it.

Staff are present to supervise at all times.

Our job is to provide education about the do’s and don’ts online and how students can keep themselves safe, including what is/isn’t appropriate behaviour. Our aim at British Esports is to help provide this education, advice, guidance and provide safe and secure ways in which we can harness the passion, interest and excitement of our young people for esports and channel it in a positive way that is supported by, and works for, all stakeholders.

 

Q: What do students think of the Championships?

A: You can view a video of some of the students who took part in our pilot and their views on the Championships here:

You can also see some more feedback in our pilot doc here and more views in this video from Coleg Gwent students here.


Q: I’m a caster and am interested in casting the Championships. Can I get involved?

A: Thanks for your interest! However we’re not doing our own broadcast of the Championships so aren’t looking for casters at the moment.

For our first year, we want to focus on player experience and engagement before expanding into broadcast. Instead, we’re encouraging individual schools/colleges to pick up broadcasting and stream their own games with help from the Twitch Student Program.


Q: How many schools or colleges are taking part?

A: In our pilot at the start of 2018, there were four schools, four alternative provision schools and eight further education colleges that took part.

More than 70 teams took part in Season 1 and altogether, including our AP Championships, around 100 teams have been involved.

 

Q: Why aren’t other games a part of the Championships, like CSGO or Rainbow 6 or PUBG?

A: We want to include age-appropriate games for schools, so are unable to include shooters that carry 18 age certificates like Call of Duty, for example.

In terms of other games, we are happy to consider them for the future, but for now are happy with League of Legends, Rocket League and Overwatch, as they represent a nice mix of genres, are well-known and are all suitable for school children to play.


Q: I’m thinking of streaming games or hosting a live event in my school/college. What should I know about music licensing laws and what music could we use?

A: More info can be found in this Twitch Music FAQ. Try to look for royalty free music you can use.

For the use of non-royalty free songs, we asked music licence organisation PPL PRS for a statement to answer this question in greater detail. The statement is as follows:

“PPL PRS licenses the extra-curricular use of live and recorded music in schools and colleges.

“Due to the nature of the venue however, these licences are usually issued to schools by the Centre for Education & Finance Management (CEFM) on behalf of PPL PRS’ parent companies – PPL and PRS for Music. Although, some independent schools and colleges may be licensed directly by PPL PRS.

“In general, the licences held by the school will cover events, such as esports events that use recorded music and therefore no further licence is required. This is providing that those events are run by the school and/or any profit or benefit goes entirely to the schools. If this is not the case, an additional licence may be required. Visit www.pplprs.co.uk or contact PPL PRS for more information.

“If esports events are being held in different types of venues, such as village halls, you should check that the venue has the music licence in place to allow them to hold these events. The licence generally required in these cases is known as TheMusicLicence and this is issues by PPL PRS.”


Q: How large/popular is esports?

A: Revenues are set to reach $1bn in 2019, according to Newzoo, while the global esports audience will grow to 450m this year. Bear in mind these are general figures, and popularity will depend on each game and tournament. The bigger pro tournaments will of course attract many more viewers than grassroots tournaments.

You can read more on what esports is in our PDF here.

 

Q: How can I get my question answered? 

A: If you’re taking part in the Championships, please ask an admin in the Championships Discord channel.

If you’re not taking part, please email us at info@britishesports.org and champs@britishesports.org, and we can answer it and add it to this document.