Inaugural Commonwealth Esports Championships set for Birmingham

The inaugural Commonwealth Esports Championships and Commonwealth Esports Forum will be staged in Birmingham, England this summer. The Championships is a tangible result of the Strategic Partnership between the Global Esports Federation and the Commonwealth Games Federation, announced in May 2020. The new competition in Birmingham will be supported by the British Esports Association, the not-for-profit national body established in 2016 to promote esports in the UK, increase its level of awareness, improve standards and inspire future talent.

The Commonwealth Esports Championships will take place at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Birmingham on August 6-7, 2022. The Commonwealth Esports Forum – a global convention of thought leaders and idea creators – will be held at the same venue in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Esports Championships, on August 5, 2022.

The Commonwealth Esports Championships will feature esports athletes from across the Commonwealth. Renowned multi-genre global titles are in the final stages of confirmation and will be announced shortly. The event is set to feature exciting demonstrations showcasing Active Esports and the powerful technologies that support the convergence of sport and esports.

The Commonwealth Esports Championships was sanctioned by the CGF Executive Board to be held at the same time as the 2022 Commonwealth Games whilst being independent of Birmingham 2022 and its sports programme. The Commonwealth Esports Championships will have separate branding, medals, organisation, and governance, led by the GEF and its community of partners.

The event is supported by the Business and Tourism Programme (BATP)*, which aims to maximise the economic legacy of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, as well as the regional economic development agency, the West Midlands Growth Company, which drives long-term tourism, investment, and major events into the region.

Exploring esports is one of the recommendations outlined in the new Commonwealth Sport 2026/30 Strategic Roadmap. The aspiration is that the innovative inaugural event will engage new audiences, showcase the digital and gaming credentials of the West Midlands and enable the Commonwealth Sport Movement to further explore the impact and potential of esports as part of the roadmap.

Quotes from the Organisers:

CGF President Dame Louise Martin said: “I am delighted that we are announcing the first Commonwealth Esports Championships and Commonwealth Esports Forum to take place in Birmingham this summer.

Esports is continuing to grow dramatically in terms of popularity and participation, particularly amongst young people, and we are continuing to look at ways to explore how it can align with the Commonwealth Sports Movement.

Commonwealth Esports Championships provides an excellent opportunity to pilot esports close to the Commonwealth Games.

This will allow us to review the long-term relationship between the Commonwealth Games and esports as we continue to evolve and explore future editions of our event and what they could look like.

I would like to thank the Global Esports Federation for their partnership with this exciting event, including the British Esports Association and the Business and Tourism Programme, who will help us bring this concept to life.”

Global Esports Federation President Chris Chan said: “We are proud to establish yet another first for the world’s esports community. The inaugural Commonwealth Esports Championships comes hot on the heels of the first-ever Singapore 2021 Global Esports Games staged in December 2021, capturing more than 500 million views from around the world.

The Commonwealth Esports Championships offers our community another exciting event in the global esports calendar. We look forward to welcoming the esports community to Birmingham in August.

British Esports Association CEO and Founder Chester King said: “When we established the BEA in 2016, we did it with the aspiration that esports would become recognised for the incredible value it provides its community.

The gaming community has long understood that esports helps teamwork, communication and strategic thinking together with combating loneliness, but alongside this, it creates opportunities for its athletes to participate in a team environment in a similar way to traditional sport with all the benefits.

We advocate the values of representation, whether that is your team, school, county, or country and as such are delighted to see the Commonwealth Games Federation recognises its potential too.

Furthermore, it is an honour that we get to showcase the values of esports whilst the Commonwealth Games is underway here in the UK.

The BEA is fresh from the successful participation at the Global Esports Games which took place in Singapore in December 2021, where the Great Britain team secured its first medal (silver in the DOTA 2 women’s competition).”

Leader of Birmingham City Council Cllr Ian Ward said: “As the country’s fastest-growing tech cluster, responsible for a quarter of British games products, Birmingham and the West Midlands is a thriving hub of creativity and development, reflecting one of the UK’s youngest and most diverse communities. Having developed iconic gaming titles such as Formula One, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Forza, there isn’t a better-suited location to host the Commonwealth Esports Championships, bringing together young competitors from across the world.

“This unique sporting competition builds on the region’s rising reputation as a hotbed for large-scale, globally aired Championships; the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games representing the latest major event to captivate audiences worldwide, also taking place this year.

“Through the Business and Tourism Programme, we look forward to working with the Commonwealth Games Federation and Global Esports Federation to bring this truly exciting event to Birmingham.”

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said: “I am thrilled that the first ever Commonwealth Esports Championships will be staged this summer right here in the West Midlands.

“To put in perspective the sheer scale of the potential ahead of us, the first-ever Global Esports Games in Singapore in December 2021 attracted more than 500 million views from around the world. And with the West Midlands’s growing status as an esports hub, I am incredibly excited to see how we build on last year’s success.

“The Championships are also a brilliant example of our Business and Tourism Programme in action, ensuring we use the platform of the Commonwealth Games to bring in new investment that will benefit the West Midlands long beyond the 11 days of sporting excellence.”

Esports and the Commonwealth: 

•    65% of the Commonwealth’s 2 billion citizens are under the age of 30.
•    Data suggests that 16-24-year-olds are more likely to watch esports tournaments (32%) than traditional sports tournaments (31%) with 44% watching live streams of video games.
•    89% of adults in the Commonwealth have a mobile connection today and just under half of them are using data services.
•    Among adults in the Commonwealth who access the internet, 82% access it on mobile devices.

About the West Midlands:

•    Crowned the UK’s fastest-growing tech sector by UK government, the West Midlands is set to create an extra 52,000 jobs and boost the national economy by £2.7bn by 2025, offering a critical mass of expertise.
•    The UK’s only multi-city 5G testbed and the site of the first 5G commercial accelerators, the West Midlands also has the best 5G network coverage of anywhere else in the country.
•    Home to 25% of the UK’s games market output, the West Midlands is primed to take the industry to the next level. Predominantly clustered around the Warwickshire town of Leamington Spa (aka Silicon Spa), a total of 130 games companies employs a workforce of 3,000 games professionals – with well-known developers including Codemasters, Ubisoft, Playground, and Sega Hardlight among those based in the region.
•    A 51,000-strong tech employment base is accessible within 45 minutes of central Birmingham, boosted by an evergreen pipeline of 87,000 STEM subject students – which includes the second-largest concentration of computer science students in the UK.

Sporting Events

•    Birmingham has a bold and proud history of hosting major international sporting events, including in recent years, the IAAF World Indoor Athletics Championships, World Gymnastics Championships, the Cricket World Cup, The Ashes, the Rugby World Cup, and the All England Badminton Championships, which have provided some iconic sporting moments.
•    In 2022, Birmingham and the West Midlands region will welcome the sporting world to host one of the world’s premier global sporting events, the XXII Commonwealth Games. The Games will be held in venues across Birmingham and the West Midlands from 28 July until 8 August 2022 with athletes from across 71 nations coming together in the global celebration of sport, competition, and community
•    Birmingham has a long history with sport, having hosted more World and European Championships than any other UK city.
•    The MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) sector is worth £2.3 billion to the West Midlands
•    The region hosted 105,000 MICE events in 2019, welcoming 10.1 million local, national and international delegates.

About the Commonwealth Games Federation

The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) is the organisation that is responsible for the direction and control of the Commonwealth Games, and for delivering on the vision of the Commonwealth Sports Movement: to build peaceful, sustainable and prosperous communities globally by inspiring Commonwealth Athletes to drive the impact and ambition of all Commonwealth Citizens through Sport.

About the Global Esports Federation

The Global Esports Federation promotes the credibility, legitimacy, and prestige of esports. We convene athletes, players, the world’s publishers, developers, industry partners and sporting organizations on one inclusive platform. We encourage and support the connection between esports, sport and technology. Our mission calls for the development of visible initiatives that are in service to the world’s esports community. We are grateful for a collective of strategic partnerships that bring to life this mission. #worldconnected

About the Business and Tourism Programme (BATP)

The Business and Tourism Programme (BATP) aims to leverage the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games to embed positive perceptions of the West Midlands into the international imagination, driving long-term economic benefits across the region, fostering civic pride. Focusing on tourism, trade and investment, the three-year programme will catalyse the West Midlands’ growth strategy, cementing the region, and wider UK, as a globally sought-after location to visit, invest and live in. Its work will focus on nations and territories across the Commonwealth.

Jointly issued by the Commonwealth Games Federation and the Global Esports Federation. For more information please contact:

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