British Esports Championships for schools and colleges

The British Esports Association, the not-for-profit organization set up to promote and support grassroots esports, has announced first details of its inaugural British Esports Championships.

This is specifically for school and college students and will get underway with a pilot in February 2018, running across three games: League of Legends, Overwatch and Project CARS 2.

The four-part pilot will involve a wide demographic of students aged between 12 to 19 across four different types of educational establishment: schools, further education colleges, library hubs and alternative provision (pupil referral units).

Weekly matches will take place, with fixtures pre-arranged, and time will be allowed for schools and colleges to hold their own internal trials, in order to put together their most competitive teams.

These pilots (initially for select invited educational establishments) will allow British Esports to understand the best, most effective ways of engaging young people with esports through schools, colleges and libraries.

British Esports will be working with the teachers, school leaders, representatives from the Department for Education and academics specializing in esports to monitor the pilot and demonstrate impact and best practice.

The pilot will consist of four schools, four alternative provision schools, eight further education colleges, and four other schools in Westminster who will play at Maida Vale Library, following our initial pilot there in summer 2017.

The pilot will run across three different esports games: Riot Games’ 12+ Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) title League of Legends (using the Twisted Treeline map), Blizzard Entertainment’s 12+ team-based first-person shooter (FPS) Overwatch and 3+ racing game Project CARS 2 from Slightly Mad Studios.

London-based system builder DinoPC – who previously teamed up with British Esports for an after-school esports club last year – will be providing computers for some of the schools during the pilot.

The national championships will then begin in full in September 2018. It will follow the full academic year from September 2018 until July 2019. It’s hoped the grand finals will take place in August 2019 at the UK’s largest gaming festival – Insomnia – at the Birmingham NEC.

This competition has been set up around British Esports’ three main aims: to Promote, Inspire and Improve.

The Association wants to educate parents, teachers, children, the media and government that esports is a positive activity with intrinsic benefits when played in moderation. It develops teamwork, communication and leadership skills, improves confidence, decision making and reaction times, and can boost reading comprehension skills, cyber skills and improve dexterity and concentration.

By running these championships in schools, more students will be able to try out esports for themselves and teachers and parents will be able to learn about its benefits and job prospects, including commentary, coaching, management and marketing positions.

The Association also plans to develop and send out resource packs for teachers, parents and gamers in the future.

As well as taking part in matches, educational establishments will also be encouraged to develop wider, non-playing roles, such as team manager and shoutcaster, modelling the structures of professional esports teams.

British Esports Association Chair, Andy Payne OBE said: “We are very excited about creating the British Esports Championships. We would like to thank Riot, Blizzard and Slightly Mad Studios, for without their support none of this would be possible.”

“We are extremely excited to see the world of esports helping to foster the community and teamwork skills in schools across the UK,” said Mo Fadl, Head of UK Esports at Riot Games.

“The next generation of young gamers are already proving to be more skilled and competitive than ever and with the right guidance, we may very well see some pros in the making. We can’t wait to see how players grow and develop both individually and as a team, and look forward to seeing the top teams battle it out in person!”

Andy Tudor, Chief Creative Officer at Slightly Mad Studios, commented: “Ever since the release of the original Project CARS title, we’ve seen the franchise played by a wide variety of players including some that hope to one day enter the world of real-world competitive motorsports. As well as playing the game for fun, they also use it as a training tool to learn the skills and attitude needed out on the track, or supplement their existing talent in karting to further enhance their racecraft.

“The British Esports Championships therefore is an exciting opportunity to further discover those individuals out there that potentially are the next Lewis Hamilton, whilst also providing a platform to encourage teamwork and give the next generation the skills needed to compete collaboratively in the esports world.”

Vladimir Kuznetsov, DinoPC owner and MD, added: “We at DinoPC are very excited to work with British Esports from the early stages. The gaming scene in the UK is very vibrant and diverse, but is lacking in co-ordination and support to nurture and manage young talent. With British Esports’ vision, drive and commitment, the future looks very exciting for UK gaming, and we can’t wait to see the impact and opportunities they bring with their fantastic team.”

The competition follows an initial esports children’s club pilot held by the British Esports Association at Maida Vale Library in the summer of 2017.

The British Esports Championships is being led by Tom Dore, a secondary school teacher who is developing this project for the British Esports Association.

About British Esports Association

The British Esports Association is a not-for-profit organisation established in 2016 to support and promote esports in the UK.