Since being established in June 2016, we have been engaging with the esports community, both on a national and global level, and looking into areas of potential development.
As a not-for-profit national esports body, we have already announced we will work to help develop the UK’s grassroots esports scene and provide an infrastructure to nurture future talent.
Now that our consultation period has come to a close, we have outlined our five key areas of focus in greater detail below.
1. To fund and support grassroots esports
From our research and consultations, it is clear that the UK esports scene is in dire need of funding. There is currently very little support for players, teams, management, event organisers and other professionals such as casters and coaches.
It is therefore essential that the British Esports Association will have the ability to help fund local esports in the future as we want to develop future global champions.
Our funding model will come form a combination of membership fees, events (such as the British Championship – more details to be announced later this year), local government and local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) support, donations and corporate partners/sponsors.
As the British Esports Association is a not-for-profit organisation, all revenues generated will go back into the running of the organisation, and into funding grassroots esports, including supporting the setting up of clubs, creating an infrastructure, supporting UK players, organisations and more. Further details will be announced in December when the full website goes live.
2. To establish best practice
Amateur esports has a lot of potential in the UK. To help set players and other people on a path to success, we will be producing guidelines for grassroots entities, such as clubs, schools and other groups, as well as amateur-level organisations including teams and players.
Our guidelines will be there to promote best practice, excellence and professionalism, to give individuals and organisations a code of conduct to focus on, and show their potential partners, contemporaries and stakeholders that they are making an attempt to be upstanding and professional.
We applaud the good work made by the Swedish esports community and its esports Code of Conduct, and will be looking to create something specific for British Esports.
We also welcome the Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC) and its aims to monitor match fixing and anti-doping.
3. To deliver courses and qualifications
While a code of conduct and guidelines can help put organisations on the right path, actual qualifications could better support the individuals within those organisations or those looking to pursue a career in esports.
To start with, the British Esports Association will be offering day courses for coaches, admins/referees and management. These will hopefully be held at our National Training Centre in Pinewood Studios (launch TBC – more details expected in December) or in venues around the country.
This ties in with our first goal – supporting esports individuals. We want to help develop talent, improve the skills base and promote professionalism.
We aim to work closely with the official Singapore and Japan Esports Associations with regard to global recognised qualifications.
4. To increase awareness of esports
While esports is growing, there is still a lot of work to do in terms of mainstream awareness and acceptance. The British Esports Association will be working to address this.
Currently, there are 3.1 million esports enthusiasts in the UK, and a further 3.4 million who watch esports occasionally (according to NewZoo data).
Outside of this, there is still some confusion in the mainstream as to what ‘esports’ actually is, how beneficial playing can be (in moderation and part of your balanced life), how it can provide a viable career, as well as some negative preconceived ideas around video gaming in general.
We will be working with the media, producing our own content (see point five below) and establishing links with schools and academics to help put esports on the map in the UK and reinforce the positive aspects of competitive gaming.
As well as focusing on educating non-gamers and the mainstream, we will also aim to help promote diversity within esports.
5. To provide expertise and advice
The British Esports Association is aiming to launch its full website by December 6th, acting as a go-to portal for those within UK esports and others who are looking for more information on it.
There will be advice articles for parents, teachers, players, organisations and those looking to develop a career in esports, along with news on events, teams and leagues, as well as a jobs and careers section.
We will also publish other articles and resources, for example excerpts from relevant whitepapers and academic reports.
The website will aim to drive knowledge and expertise, as well as promote the positive aspect of esports.
When the full website is live the British Esports Association will be running an ‘Ask Me Anything’ live Q&A session on Reddit.
Other areas of focus
While the five points indicated above are our core areas of focus, we acknowledge there are other topics, which need to be addressed. For example tackling online harassment.
Meetings have also taken place between the British Esports Association and Activision, Blizzard, Microsoft and with the UK Government’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport.
Chester King, Acting CEO, said:
“We are on a mission to promote the positive qualities of esports and reinforce it as a credible activity. Esports delivers important life and cyber skills, which all children should have the opportunity to develop”.
“Ultimately I would like to see the same number of esports clubs in schools as there are traditional sports clubs.”
As well as working with the esports industry, the British Esports Association will also be working with academics from various universities and institutions.
Lee Dunn, academic director for technologies and head of digital futures at The University of Glasgow, and member of the Institute for esports Leadership, said:
“Internationally, esports is at a critical juncture as the industry seeks to establish itself in the mainstream; recognising a range of job profiles, skills and expertise in games design, grassroots competitive gaming and in the professional arena.
“The British Esports Association is a central component in our ambition to develop and enhance esports and to act as a catalyst for discussion, collaboration and strategy, supporting current and future players within the United Kingdom. I firmly believe that the British Esports Association can become a beacon for amateur, semi-professional and professional gaming, throughout the world.”
About the British Esports Association and how it will be run
In the interest of transparency, the British Esports Association was founded by Chester King of the International Group, to help get it up and running.
Chester also founded the eGames initiative, an international medal-based esports tournament which ran its showcase in British House alongside the Rio Olympics earlier in 2016. We want to make it clear the eGames and the British Esports Association are two entirely different initiatives and have no correlation whatsoever.
Chester has a 23 year background in traditional sports too, with Stoke Park (owned by International Group) running the pre-Wimbledon tennis event The Boodles, as well as working for the Football Association, Lord’s and the Rugby Football Union.
The British Esports Association is a fully independent not-for-profit organisation. A charity is currently being set up to act as the owning body of the British Esports Association. Founder Chester King will step down as Acting CEO in 2017, and will not be involved in the day-to-day running of the association. He will become a trustee for the charity, with Andy Payne, Chair, and Dominic Sacco, Content Director, working as non-executive directors for the association going forwards.
The association will be setting up an Advisory Board, with each board member having a sub-group. The advisory board will rotate, with each member sitting on the board for a minimum of 12 months. An observer from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport will also be invited to be present.
The Advisory Board for 2017 (chaired by Andy) will be announced in November; we will have a representative from each of the following areas:
- Event organiser
- Production (tournament provider)
- Team manager/owner
The British Esports Association has been established to instill good governance for amateur esports players and teams, we will not be regulating any game publisher or developer.
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