Members hope to take title and $1m top prize

E-Sports

A professional e-sports team run by a Brenchley boss has qualified for the League of Legends World Championships.

H2k-Gaming members Andrei Pascu, Jean-Victor Burgevin, Ryu Sang-ook, Petter Freyschuss and Raymond Tsang will battle it out in arenas across Europe next month, hoping to win through to the final, and a $1m top prize.

League of Legends, a multi-player online battle game, is the most-played PC game in the world, and the biggest part of the fast-growing e-sports market, which will generate an estimated £400m this year.

Chief executive Richard Wells, 24, took the reins at H2k last year, and has overseen the organisation’s League of Legends team’s rise from the second tier of competition to the biggest stage.

Qualified

H2k qualified as the second-best European team, winning a best-of-five play-off match 3-0 on Saturday 22 August, with their rival for second place losing 3-2 the following day.

Mr Wells said: “Making the world championships this soon feels rather strange as when we started, it wasn’t even a short or mid-term goal for us.

“I won’t appreciate the reality of what we’ve done until I see the grandeur myself on the opening day in Paris. For our players it means everything – the world championships in League of Legends isn’t just the pinnacle of their game, it’s the pinnacle of all esports.”

The World Championships is contested by 16 teams, from Europe, North America, Korea and China, who are competing for the Summoner’s Cup and $2.6m in prize money. The tournament will unfold in front of packed arenas in Paris, London, Brussels and, finally, Berlin, where the finalists will vie for the title on October 31, watched by about 40 million fans worldwide.

Mr Wells said: “If we were to win the whole thing, the impact of such a result could very likely skyrocket e-sports firmly into mainstream coverage in the west. I think all of us would have a lot less free time!

“It’s something I honestly haven’t thought about at all though.

“Whatever happens, we will evaluate everything after the world championships and see where we are and where we think we can get to. From a business perspective, it never stops and we must ensure everything is ticking over on a trajectory that matches what the guys are accomplishing in the game.

“E-sports is an expensive industry and we’re taking every opportunity to give ourselves the exposure we require to make ourselves an attractive proposition to blue chip investment. We have a documentary airing on the BBC in November which should provide an in depth look into the world of esports, particularly from a British perspective, which we hope will educate the public, media and businesses alike.”

Title

H2k’s bid for the world title kicks off in Paris, where the group stages take place from October 1 to 8. All matches can be watched online via Twitch, the premier e-sports channel bought by Amazon for £620m last August.