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Gulf Business backs ESI Digital Winter esports conference

Gulf Business backs ESI Digital Winter esports conference

Gulf Business returns as media sponsor for the latest in the ESI Digital series

Gulf Business is the GCC media partner for ESI Digital Winter, the third and final event in the 2020 ESI Digital esports series.

The esports conference, held virtually this year due to Covid-19 restrictions, will take place between November 18 and 21. Two other events each with over 500 attendees from across the esports ecosystem were held earlier in the year. Organiser ESI expects 600 attendees and more than 75 speakers in the winter event.

ESI Digital Winter is itself a part of the wider Esports Assemble esports B2B event which also includes the Esports Awards Expo and Esports Awards.

ESI Digital event series seeks to better showcase and help develop the esports industry through digital networking, education and debate, says Sam Cooke, managing director and co-founder, Esports Insider (ESI).

ESI Digital Winter 2020 sees the return of the ESI Hall of Fame, previously hosted in London and Los Angeles, and which seeks to celebrate individuals who’ve made a major difference to the industry. “This is the third year of the annual event and we’ll announce the three new inductees to the hall of fame on November 18th,” Cooke explains.

Read: Esports, VR gaming complex to be set up in Abu Dhabi

The event will also host the fourth edition of The Clutch, in partnership with Deloitte and Nations Ventures. “This is our live pitch investment competition and now an audience favourite in terms of the event content. Our previous winners include G-Science, TEAMS, and Anzu,” says Cooke.

While the ESI Digital Summer edition in August had a regional focus, with dedicated days for APAC, Europe, MENA, LATAM and NA, the ESI Digital Winter’s calendar has been condensed to two days, and the focus will lean more towards North America and Europe, Cooke explains. “But that is not to say we won’t be exploring other territories too; one of the panel sessions is on Rocket League for instance, and takes a look at their refreshed and new competitive landscape and ecosystem globally in 2020,” he adds.

While virtual events have had success this year, the esports industry is keen to return to some form of normalcy following disruptions caused by Covid-19 this year. “The amount of applications for the very limited tickets offered for the League of Legends World Championship finals shows there is very much a desire for fans to again attend tournaments in person,” Cooke observes.

That said, the digital element of esports events that has taken root this year will endure.

Cooke gives the example of Belong, which is opening 500 esports venues across the US. In a media interview, the man behind the venture Mike Sepso said that their offering is almost equally digital. Players will use apps to book the venues, track their scores, interact with their team and others when not there, etc. “They are fully conscious of just how equally important the digital element is to get right, to complement and enhance their physical offerings,” says Cooke.

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