After the successes of ESL One Birmingham and the ECS Season 5 Finals London, and with and the FaceIt Major in the capital later this year, it appears the UK is finally on the map as an esports-hosting nation.
Now, it’s time to go the the next level.
Sujoy Roy was the UK’s first professional gamer. He worked on Special Projects at ESL and is now Director of Esports at Luckbox. Here, he makes a case for TI9 being staged in London.
I believe the next International should be held in London. No, I’ve not gone stark, raving mad. I’m deadly serious. We should bid to host TI9 right here in the UK, and it would be the best esports event the world has ever seen. You may be initially sceptical, but bear with me as I spell out the benefits of this incredible city.
As the Samuel Johnson quote goes “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life”. It’s as relevant today as it was back in the 1700s. In London, there is always something for everyone. Startling in itself, London’s exterior comprises of blazing lights, bright galleries, colossal monuments, vibrant market places and sprawling parks.
The magic of West End and the roar of the Thames. But the winter city of William Shakespeare, Charles Darwin, Winston Churchill, Charlie Chaplin, the Beatles, David Beckham and countless other greats is one that must be experienced, to be understood.
Ours is a city that has survived Roman occupation, Norman invasion, two great fires, the bubonic plague, the Blitz and Boris Johnson. It once served as the capital of the mighty British Empire. Just as iron willed and fearless, present day London is facing Brexit head on and still forging its way to becoming the financial capital of the world.
A city constantly on the move. One that is characterised by change and happy chaos. This is where dreams are given reality, where despair is fed fresh hope and where potential is recognised and rewarded. No surprise, then, that it boasts some of the world’s finest talent. This holds true for sports, art and culture, politics and business. It’s about time this was true of esports too.
If there’s one thing we learnt at ESL One Birmingham, it was that British fans have a relentless passion for their game. Whether it’s world class Dota, or simply keeping a balloon in the air, we make noise for it all. That sense of fun is infectious to the players, the broadcast talent and is palpable even for viewers watching online. We get behind everything that’s happening, even if it’s a DHL cart giving out goodies to the audience.
A British International would provide role models for UK gamers to aspire to
I understand it’s controversial to ask the biggest esports event in the world to come to the UK. We are woefully underrepresented in the esports department. I tried and failed to find a British player with a single DPC point in the run up to TI8.
In fact, the Liquipedia page for Dota 2 players from the the UK seems to list mainly broadcasting talent, I assume in an attempt to hit a minimum character limit.
Then there’s Beesa. Fine, he was in Kaipi and I remember getting really excited to see them play. There was a time you could reliably count on KP to scare the living hell out of all of the big-name teams. That was until the point they started losing every game and eventually disbanded.
Home from home
It’s true, we don’t have any British players blazing a trail in Dota 2 just yet. But that really doesn’t matter. As we saw at ESL One Birmingham, the UK fans will simply adopt a team and make them British. On that weekend, paiN Gaming became honorary Brits and their star player w33 was the crowd favourite.
A British International would provide role models for UK gamers to aspire to. I’d much rather the next generation look up to incredibly talented players like Ramzes from VP. I want leaders like Kuroky to inspire the best of British to aim higher and achieve more. We once had some of the best players in the world. With more huge esports events in the UK I believe we can get there again.
London is global in its scope, welcoming all to visit and add to its incredible diversity. As a new generation of rising stars create esports history, TI9 would feel right at home hosted here, and fans would be welcomed as the pioneers of new entertainment and cultural frontiers. It’s been eight years since the inaugural International was held in Europe. I believe it’s time to bring TI home.