Earlier this month the 26th epic.LAN took place at Kettering Conference Centre – and it was one to remember.
epic26 was the biggest epic.LAN event to date and was almost a complete sell-out, with 760 people on site overall.
epic.LAN founder and MD Jon Winkle told Esports News UK: “For our first event of this scale we’ve already had some amazing feedback.
“We aimed to put on a traditional big LAN party with an amazing atmosphere and everyone who took part felt we achieved that.
“The event saw more participants, more spectators, more media coverage and more sponsorship than any of our events have before. We’re looking forward to building on that for our remaining events in 2019.”
Speaking of coverage, epic26 secured plenty from the BBC.
More positive coverage from this weekend on the @BBCNews app, refreshing to see the focus on the positives through all the TV and radio features we’ve had this weekend. #epic26 pic.twitter.com/sHwt2j40ZL
— Jon Winkle (@jon_winkle) February 9, 2019
BBC Radio Northamptonshire aired four live segments during the Friday morning breakfast show, while BBC Look East TV broadcast two live regional segments on the Friday late morning/evening.
Plus, there was some pre-recorded reporting on the BBC News Channel, BBC website and app (featured in the videos of the day section).
As well as this, the MP for Kettering, Philip Hollobone, and Ben Greenstone from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), also visited epic.LAN.
Amazing to see @epicLAN at work today. Incredible sense of community spirit, and it’s a hotbed of future talent (you just have to look at the names who have come through). Look forward to seeing more of what @jon_winkle and the team do #epic26 pic.twitter.com/I7vzxJ6hD6
— Ben Greenstone (@ben_greenstone) February 7, 2019
It’s great to see government supporting and understanding an event of this kind, with Ben rightfully highlighting its ‘community spirit’.
One example of this was UK Overwatch pro Isaac “Boombox” Charles contributing towards the StarCraft II tournament prize pool at epic26.
As a former epic.LAN StarCraft II tournament winner himself, Boombox put his own money into the pool, which stood at up to £1,750 plus tickets to the next event.
For some people, the togetherness and community spirit is what makes esports and video games so appealing – a lot of it comes down to the social side of things, supporting each other and simply having a laugh with friends and like-minded people.
Then there’s the festival-style atmosphere of course:
— Fierce Esports (@FierceEsports) February 15, 2019
Elsewhere, ahead of the event, ESL UK announced it would host its first conference at the show.
The tournament provider announced CSGO, Hearthstone and Rainbow Six Siege would be returning for further ESL Premiership tournaments in the summer, with a third game to be announced soon, as outlined in this summary post on the ESL website.
They also reached out to the community to see what they want from ESL UK in the future.
There were MnM Gaming’s Kalvin Chung, Team Endpoint’s Peter Thompson and a panel of ESL staff including Will Attwood, Heather Dower, Kat Evans and Rob Black talked about careers in esports.
ESL UK MD James Dean also spoke about the future of esports, along with surprise guest Lee Richmond, head of IT at Leicester City Football Club. The main list of content at the ESL Conference talks can be here.
Lastly, and by no means least, the esports tournament winners.
This event saw the LDN Slayers win at CSGO (with smooya on the roster). This tournament had 43 teams and was epic.LAN’s biggest CSGO tournament to date.
The first epic.LAN Rainbow Six Siege tournament was won by MnM Gaming, while Rocket League was won by Sertraline Dreams.
The StarCraft II competition was won by RiSky, a seven-time epic.LAN SC2 winner. This tournament was also epic.LAN’s biggest SC2 competition with 33 players.
There was also a Beat Saber tournament won by Mohero.
Tickets are now on sale for epic27 which takes place from June 13th to 16th.
Esports News UK should hopefully break our curse of not being able to make epic.LAN events and attend the next one.
So if you would like to be interviewed at the event or have any ideas for content you’d like to see us produce, please just let us know on the Esports News UK Discord or Twitter, and we’ll hopefully see you there.
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 of Legends and World of Warcraft player, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He works as full-time content director for the British Esports Association and runs ENUK in his spare time.