The first of the ESI Forum Series (#ESIForum) events, in association with Digital Fuel, packed the Bunkr last night as the esports fraternity came out in force to Fnatic’s HQ.
As a part of SBC Global, Esports Insider is running these monthly events at Fnatic’s Shoreditch venue in a bid to welcome the finest professionals from in and around the industry for relaxed evenings of food, drink, networking opportunities, panel discussions on the more interesting and debatable topics in esports and a tournament.
Last night’s event saw big names including Wouter Sleijffers, Fnatic CEO, David Bytheway, VfL Wolfsburg FIFA Pro, Gary Taphouse, Sky Sports and FIFA esports commentator take to the stage to discuss ‘FIFA as a gateway to a new world, and why football clubs are entering esports’. Moderating was Fortaura CEO Ibrahim Taylor.
SpecialEffect, the charity partner of the ESI Forum, spoke to a packed out Bunkr prior to the panel on the exceptionally valuable work they do in gaming. The SpecialEffect team were also there showcasing one of their products which allows for those with certain disabilities to play a modified version of FIFA. Esports Insider will be welcoming them back for the next Forum on August 31st.
The panel itself was both engaging and educational. David Bytheway confidently asserted that “football is losing the younger audience, and that’s why Wolfsburg got into this”. Fnatic CEO Sleijffers stated that they’ve been approached by a number of major football clubs interested in entering the space but unsure on the hows and whys. He added that at Fnatic, they don’t see themselves as an esports organisation as such but one that’s focused on digital sports, and the future of sports more generally.
A competitive FIFA tournament followed the panel, whilst the food arrived and drinks flowed to allow for a productive evening of networking. Team ESI were the tournament victors, and came away with a signed Tottenham Hotspur shirt kindly donated by the club.
Esports Insider Editor, Sam Cooke, said of the event: “We’re delighted with the turnout and feedback from the first event, but we’ll be making sure the next one is even better. Thanks to everyone who attended, Digital Fuel for supporting the event, Fnatic for having us, Spurs for the shirt, SpecialEffect for being there, Matt Andrews and Gary Taphouse for commentating and the panel in full. We’re confident the August 31st edition will sell out sharpish so get your tickets and we’ll see you at the Bunkr!”
The second #ESIForum will take place on August 31st (6.30pm-11:30pm) and will follow the same format, though the panel this time will focus on the opportunity in, and convergence of, betting and esports. The panelists are TBC but there’s no doubt there’ll be of the highest standard. You can secure your tickets here, and if you do so before the end of July you’ll save yourself 20% by using the code ESI20.
As a part of #BOSCON2017, Betting on Esports 2017, will take place just two weeks after this Forum on September 13th to 15th. Esports Insider has organised the six panels which will tackle numerous topics in and around gambling and esports such as Brand Ambassadors, the Data Challenge, Las Vegas and casinos, integrity issues and more.
Speakers include Millennial Esports CEO Alex Igelman, Kinguin CEO Viktor Wanli, Sportradar Head of Esports James Watson, GameCO CEO Blaine Graboyes, ESL UK MD James Dean and plenty more. It’s set to be an excellent event and you can read more about this here.