The UK Gets Its Largest Ever Esports Prize Pool As The ECS Grand Final Begins In London

Written By Joss Wood on June 24, 2016 - Last Updated on January 22, 2018

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.

From Europe:

  • Fnatic
  • Astralis
  • Ninjas in Pyjamas
  • G2 Esports

From the U.S.:

  • Cloud9
  • 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 Wembley SSE Arena where the ECS is being held has seats for 12,500 spectators and the tournament is being livestreamed on the FaceIt Twitch channel.

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.

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Joss Wood

Joss Wood holds an English degree from the University of Birmingham and also earned a master’s degree in organizational development from the University of Manchester. Joss has a special focus on the international online gambling market, though he also writes extensively on US regulated markets, sports betting, and esports betting.

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