The Grand Finals of the Esports Championship Series (ECS) have begun in London’s SSE Arena, Wembley.
Games began at 12:15 U.K. time on Friday, June 24 and will run until Sunday evening. The eight teams taking part are competing for the largest esports prize pool ever offered at a live event in the U.K.–$3.5 million.
The tournament features some of the world’s top CS:GO teams, four from Europe and four from the U.S.
- Ninjas in Pyjamas
- G2 Esports
From the U.S.:
- Team Liquid
- Luminosity Gaming
- Team Solomid
Luminosity are the favourites to win but face tough competition
The teams made the finals after a grueling eight weeks of preliminary competition. The first matches take place between two groups of four teams with two teams from each group making it to the semi-finals.
Group A includes Team Liquid, Ninjas in Pyjamas and Luminosity Gaming and G2 Esports. The group draw looks to have made this by far the toughest group.
Luminosity won the MLG Major in April, in the process taking down Team Liquid in the semi-finals after coming back from an apparently hopeless position. Luminosity must be favorites to win the ECS as they are the top CS:GO team in the world on their current form.
From Group B, Fnatic have the best chance of facing off against Luminosity in the final. Fnatic has only lost two events since Dennis “dennis” Edman joined in November last year.
The ECS is a showcase for esports in London
The channel has almost 900,000 followers, and should attract a huge global audience for ECS. A quick glance at early coverage showed over 80,000 “watching now.”
The availability of such a high profile event will be no surprise to esports fans, but it may come as an eye-opener for many Londoners who are unaware of the exploding popularity of games like CS:GO.
The role that an event like the ECS Grand Finals plays in consciousness raising in the mainstream market cannot be underestimated. As awareness of esports spreads, esports betting becomes an ever more interesting business area for established sports books.
Pinnacle is taking ECS bets online, and for the first match between Fnatic and Cloud9 Pinnacle’s traders are not flattering the latter with a money line of 4.990 against 1.180 for Fnatic.