ESL UK co-MD James Dean has said UK Premiership eSports tournaments could take place in 5,000 or 10,000-seater stadiums within the next five years.
Speaking to eSports Insider, James Dean said: “If we look at Hearthstone, the UK is storming it there. Overwatch is exciting, and in League of Legends, teams are already being promoted to Challenger Series qualifiers. That’s happening.
“The next step is that some of those teams go full time, and if that happens then they’ve got a really good chance of getting up there.
“ESL One goes into 10,000-seater stadiums. In five years, maybe sooner, we could see UK Premierships in 5,000 or 10,000-seater stadiums. That sounds mad, and if you tell that to some of the players out there they’d probably call you nuts.
“But looking at four seasons, over two years, you can see the difference. We used to have players turning up without shirts, well we still do… but there are professional budding organisations that are turning into legitimate businesses – and some of them already are. We’ve got to do as much as we can to help that.”
James also revealed the ESL UK will be adding more games to its Premiership tournaments next year, beyond the four it has now: Hearthstone, CSGO, League of Legends and Overwatch.
“I hope we’ve started to demonstrate that the grassroots scene has a lot to offer,” he added. “And we can only hope that this is going to be the foundation to getting UK teams to professionalise and go pro.
“We’ll be adding more titles [to the UK Prem] next year. So it’s super to see.”
“In five years, maybe sooner, we could see UK Premierships in 5,000 or 10,000-seater stadiums. That sounds mad, and if you tell that to some of the players out there they’d probably call you nuts.”
As well as local tournaments, James also points out that ESL has been hard at work with global tournaments held in the UK, including the CSGO Pro league at the O2 Indigo, the Heroes of the Storm EU regional, the Guild Wars and Mortal Kombat Pro Leagues, and the Halo EU Finals are around the corner too.
“All the aspects of the higher pro leagues that we’re running in the UK helps, [in terms of] just building the infrastructure out for these events.”
James previously predicted that a world-class UK eSports team would emerge by the end of 2017. Earlier this year, Misfits’ League of Legends team qualified from the UK Premiership to the EU LCS, though they only have one British player.
Image source: Riot Flickr
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
A keen League player and WoW RPer, he has written for a range of publications including Games TM, Nintendo Official Magazine, games industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games. He currently works as full-time content director for the British Esports Association.