Commonwealth Esports Championship brings esports to Birmingham 2022

Commonwealth events traditionally didn’t rhythm with Esports, whereby the mainstream’s depiction of sports is physical and sweaty. Fast-forwarding to the Commonwealth Esports Championship 2022, it’s evident that esports is gaining traction for its massive popularity.

The new event features three esports titles, namely Dota 2, Rocket League, and eFootball, all represented by qualified teams from Commonwealth countries. These qualified teams are winners of respective regional leagues that spanned two months, so expect the competition to be tough.

Esports in sports events is becoming a thing..

On paper, the Commonwealth Esports Championship 2022 surely isn’t breaking any records, but it is setting milestones. The objective of pushing esports into mainstream media is enough reason to support the wonderful gathering of esports enthusiasts.

As the first iteration of Commonwealth Esports initiatives, it’s an exciting experience to watch how the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) organizes its Esports events. We are talking about the talents, broadcasts, production value, and of course, the venue.

For now, the CEC2022 ticks most of the expectations on our checklist, notably the strategic location at the International Convention Centre, Birmingham, and its inclusive multilingual broadcast team. As far as player variety goes, the CEC2022 is still lacklustre, which is understandable since Dota 2 and Rocket League are tight with upcoming championships during this time of the year.

We are also aware the event is only marginally supported by Commonwealth Sports and the official Commonwealth Games, but having a successful first run will definitely bolster the odds of having esports included in the official games at a later date.

Future of esports in sporting events

The CEC2022 is certainly not the first of its kind to feature esports. In May 2022, the 2022 Asian Games is also a good example of Esports done right by non-esports tournament organizers. It broadcasted 10 esports titles, which include the popular ones, League of Legends, and even mobile MOBA titles. Pushes for esports inclusion are happening before each iteration of the Olympics.

SEA Games started adding Esports titles as a category back in 2019, so they are arguably among the earliest trendsetters. Past examples all included big-name MOBA titles, such as Dota 2, League of Legends, and Mobile Legends.

It’s great that CEC2022 gave some spotlight to Rocket League, which in all fairness, isn’t very popular in Asia. The oddball among these popular titles is eFootball, which should not be confused with FIFA. In fact, FIFA would have been a better alternative thanks to its niche yet loyal player base.

To have a decent chance, the IESF and all of these various federations and organizaitons should agree on a more coherent list of titles that they would want to include in official sports to esports competition.

Go Girl Power!

Besides shining the spotlight on Esports, the Commonwealth Esports Championship 2022 also reserved a place for female athletes to show their inner talent. Esports is traditionally a male-dominant industry, so having a Women’s division is a breath of fresh air.

Notably, Malaysia is keeping its talents diversified at the CEC2022 by bringing two teams and a player. They have a female team, Team Grills Gaming, and male team, Team Atlantis for Dota 2. Whereas Mohamad Nor Haikal Mohamad Noh will be the sole representative for eFootball.

For Grills Gaming, it’s a dream come true as the CEC2022 is well-established as a tier-A tournament. It features rivals outside of Southeast Asia, which will be good experience for the team to hone their skills.

On the other hand, the gaming community is celebrating Rosie Williams’ trans identity as she participates in Team Wales’ Dota 2 Women Division.

Where to watch the Commonwealth Esports Championship 2022?

The CEC2022 kicks off group stage matches on August 3, or August 6-7 if you opt to watch the main event at ICC, Birmingham. Catch the event live virtually on Global Esports Federation’s Twitch channel or updates from GEF Twitter page. In hindsight, the CEC2022 is a step in the right direction to garner the older generation’s interest in esports.