It’s no secret that the Leicester Haymarket Theatre, which is currently undergoing a £3m redevelopment, will host live esports events.
ESL UK has been in talks with the venue to host future events.
However, new information and quotes from the pair have hinted at something bigger than what ESL currently hosts in the UK (the national Premiership, as well as one-off events like Halo, Runescape and other tournaments).
The Leicester Mercury reports that the venue will host ‘spectacular online game tournaments with prizes up to $250,000’.
Earlier this month, ESPN reported that the new revamped League of Legends EU LCS will be split into four regions: London, Paris, Berlin and Barcelona.
The top teams from each region will reportedly qualify into the overall top-level ‘Champions league’ featuring 16 of the best European League of Legends teams overall. This will run alongside the domestic leagues.
However, prior to this, Esports News UK had heard that the UK league may be hosted in Leicester, where ESL UK is based, not necessarily London.
And new quotes hint this could be the case. ESL UK have said its first production there will be early next year, for example. And the LCS usually starts in January each year.
ESL UK MD James Dean said ESL will host at least 10 competitions at the Haymarket in the first year, and plans to move his offices to the city centre.
He commented: “What’s happening at the Haymarket is perfectly timed. It’s going to be industry leading, and we think our first production there will be early next year.
“There are a huge number of theatrical aspects to our productions, so we need a big stage to be able to do it.”
Leicester city mayor Sir Peter Soulsby added: “Since we initially decided to do the refurbishment of the theatre, a number of exciting things have happened.
“One thing that has changed is the growth of esports, which now gives the theatre new potential, different to the original proposals, exciting as they were.
“That gives us the chance to bring something new and sophisticated to the theatre.
“The Haymarket is going to be ESL’s showcase venue, for something that is now a worldwide phenomenon – and the last thing we want is people coming to see it live going into a building that is a bit bleak and a car park that is grotty.”
Leicester City Council is pumping an extra £600,000 into refurbishing the theatre to ‘make it one of the best venues for esports in Britain’. It will have a capacity of 900, a broadcasting suite and fibre optic cabling.
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
As a long-time gamer having first picked up the NES controller in the late ’80s, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He worked as head of content for the British Esports Association up until February 2021, when he stepped back to work full-time on Esports News UK and as an esports consultant helping brands and businesses better understand the industry.