Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
THE inaugural Commonwealth Esports Championships and Commonwealth Esports Forum will be staged in Birmingham, England, from August 6-7.
The championships are a tangible result of the strategic partnership between the Global Esports Federation and the Commonwealth Games Federation announced in May 2020.
The new competition will be supported by the British Esports Association, the not-for-profit national body established in 2016 to promote esports in the United Kingdom increase its level of awareness, improve standards and inspire future talent.
“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,” said the Global Esports Federation in a statement.
The Commonwealth Esports Championships were sanctioned by the CGF executive board to be held at the same time as the 2022 Commonwealth Games while 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, reads the communique.
Dame Louise Martin, president of the Commonwealth Games Federation 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 among 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.”
GEF president Chris Chan said the Federation was proud to establish yet another first for the world’s esports community adding that the inaugural Commonwealth Esports Championships come hot on the heels of the first-ever Singapore 2021 Global Esports Games staged in December 2021 which captured 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,” said Chan.
The event is supported by the Business and Tourism Programme, 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,” reads the statement.