The event is scheduled to commence on 6-7 August at the International Convention Centre. The executive board of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) has sanctioned it to take place at the same time as Birmingham 2022, but the event will be independent of the Games and its programme.
CGF president, Dame Louise Martin stated, “I am delighted that we are announcing the first Commonwealth esports championships and Commonwealth esports forum to take place in Birmingham this summer. Esports is continuing to grow dramatically in terms of popularity and participation, particularly amongst young people, and we are continuing to look at ways to explore how it can align with the Commonwealth Sports Movement.”
He continued, “Commonwealth esports championships provides an excellent opportunity to pilot esports close to the Commonwealth Games. This will allow us to review the long-term relationship between the Commonwealth Games and esports as we continue to evolve and explore future editions of our event and what they could look like.”
This move has attracted a little bit of opposition, including from the likes of Sharon Davies, winner of two gold medals at the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, who tweeted that eSports are “Not a sport…a game!”
The British Esports Association, a not-for-profit national body established in 2016 to promote esports in the UK, is also supporting the event in Birmingham. Its CEO and founder, Chester King, commented, “The gaming community has long understood that esports helps teamwork, communication and strategic thinking together with combating loneliness, but alongside this, it creates opportunities for its athletes to participate in a team environment in a similar way to traditional sport with all the benefits.”
The Commonwealth Games themselves are scheduled to run from 26th July to 8th August 2022, with an expected 5,000 athletes from over 70 countries competing.