Speaking to the UK’s national broadcaster, BBC Sport, the Team Manager of the England esports squad has described the pilot event at this summer’s Commonwealth Games as “an opportunity for us to educate on esports and it being about much more than just playing a game.”
Despite opposition from traditionalists, the inaugural Commonwealth Esports Championships will take place at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham on August 6th and 7th, alongside the mainstream Games. The Championships will have separate branding, medals and organisation, but there is optimism that esports could become part of the full programme by the 2026 event, most likely to be held in Victoria, Australia.
The Commonwealth Esports Championships will feature esports athletes competing in both Open and Women’s categories, with the chosen titles being DOTA 2, eFootball and Rocket League.
As well as being the England Team Manager, Mark Weller is also Chief Gaming Officer at the Vexed Gaming team, based in Manchester, England.
Following a car accident in his teenage years, Weller’s traditional sporting ambitions were restricted, and gaming has since provided him with both the competitive outlet he needed and a career. He says: “I have travelled the world off the back of it and experienced things I never would have thought were possible for someone of my background. Hopefully this will inspire youth who find sport difficult to reach.”
The Canadian city of Hamilton is frontrunner to host the Commonwealth Games in 2030, and its bid team is understood to be keen on including esports as part of their schedule. But there is also hope within the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) that esports could be included sooner, with the body said to be “exploring esports as part of its strategic roadmap.”