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Q&A: Jérôme Delhaye, Director of the Entertainment Department, Esports BAR

The 5thedition of Esports BAR will take place in February in Cannes. Could you tell us about Esports BAR and its purpose?

Esports BAR is part of Reed MIDEM’s portfolio. Reed MIDEM has specialised in organising B2B networking events in Real Estate, Retail, Music and Television for over 50 years. We have strong expertise in connecting people and helping them do business. We are relationship brokers.

As esports is growing, with our solid knowledge of the entertainment industry launching esports events felt a necessary and natural step, especially in the B2B area where there was still a gap to be filled.

In barely two years, the event has managed to grow substantially with shows in Cannes and Miami, dedicated to the US market, and a summit day in Seoul. The next edition will be the 5th  and will take place in Cannes at the Palais des Festivals in February.

Why is esports growing so fast as a B2B business? Why is it strategic for media and brands?

Esports is becoming more and more in important in the  B2B area with a growing number of non-traditional brands and media entering the game. We have now reached a turning point where esports is more than sports and plays a great role in entertainment. It is becoming a growing cultural phenomenon with a wider reach and opening up new possibilities.

Due to this need and the close relationship between esports and entertainment, Esports BAR’s over-riding theme will, for this 5th edition, focus on how esports is the next stop for entertainment and on helping non-traditional brands and media platforms understand how to embrace this great opportunity.

Esports BAR also organises The Game Shakers Awards. Why is it central to the event and the industry?

The Game Shakers Awards celebrate successes in esports at all levels: media, brand, sports. As the industry is growing fast it felt natural to encourage those who are participating in its expansion and reward great initiatives. It is also a way to give more visibility to amazing projects in esports.

The Esports Game Shakers Awards are very specific compared to other industry awards. It is a B2B competition with an international feel. During the last edition we had competitors from all around the globe – from Asia, Europe and America – as well as among the jury members. It is those international jury members comprising top esports executives who pick finalists and designate the personality of the Year with the Shaker of the Year Award.

This year, this international scope is even bigger and its external reach will increase even more as Jean Alesi, the former F1 driver and founder of the eSports Academy, which is fostering fresh talent in the video game arena, will be the first ambassador of the Game Shakers.

What could attendees expect for this new edition? What’s new?

Our focus on media and brands is getting stronger. We truly believe that involving industry experts and esports leaders with media platforms and non-traditional brands has proven to be the right mix since the first edition. It is important to increase their involvement in esports, and this is why we are launching a new programme: the Hosted Brands Programme. It aims at providing non-traditional brands with the support they need within the esports sector and facilitating their collaboration with the entire community.

Added to this, we continue to implement a packed schedule of mentoring: round table workshops with mentors, face-to-face sessions and informal meet-ups.

Keynote speakers for the event have been announced and more are to come. How will these keynote speakers tackle Esports BAR’s main theme as you’ve just described it ­– esports: the future of entertainment?

At the moment we have announced two keynotes: Ryan Wyatt, head of VR and Gaming at YouTube and Stefan Zant, Managing Director at ProSiebenSat.1. YouTube is key to esports and for the event as it is the largest gaming content platform in the world. Ryan Wyatt will discuss how he contributed to this growth and how YouTube is taking a major role in esports. Ryan’s presence as keynote at Esports BAR Cannes is really significant as he oversees both the gaming business and the virtual reality business. Stefan Zant will discuss media’s convergence with esports and why esports is a vital strategic objective for media networks.

Ryan and Stefan will take the stage together with a long line-up of strategic leaders that will demonstrate how to develop new business models around the esports phenomenon.

New announcements coming soon.


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