Where can you play esports in York?

Photograph: Philipp Keller / Pexels
9 Dec 2019 @ 8.28 am
| Entertainment

Esports may have been going longer than you think – the first ever competition took place in 1972 at Stamford University.

More recently, with the huge growth in video gaming and global communication, esports have grown into an industry expected to be worth around $1.5 billion by 2020.

If you’re an esports newbie, you need to know there are a few types of esport – the two biggest being First Person Shooters (FPS) and Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA).


Other types includ sports games, strategy games, fighting games and card game (and we aren’t talking solitaire here).

Some mainstream media would argue that it this is not real sport as there is no real physical activity involved. But some are beginning to sway now that Olympic officials are recognising it as a real sport.

Where to go

Game on the corner of Swinegate and Church Street
So where can you watch esports – or take part? Well you can either go along in person to major arenas that host the competitions.

Or you can go online to find some streaming services such as Twitch which have gained the rights to stream certain events and competitions.

If you want to participate in gaming, then you can head down to Belong inside the Game store on 5 Church Street in York.

The gaming team here is called the York Vikings. The arena offers a range of consoles to play on including gaming PCs, Xbox Ones and PlayStation 4s.

The stated aim of Belong is to create a place “where every gamer can come and feel part of something bigger”.


The Belong arena offers both competitive and down-time gaming for all to enjoy. They offer a tri-annual tournament and grassroots tournaments for those of you who want to completive.

These tournaments, if you win, can lead to you becoming stage finalists at events all over the country including the NEC in Birmingham.

Belong don’t just offer competitive gaming though. You can also hire out their facilities for birthday parties, student organisations and if you’re thinking of setting up your own esports team they will even let you hire it to practice with your squad.

Belong is set to move into bigger premises next year.

Esports on campus

There is also a thriving esports scene at the University of York. The best way to find out more is to check out the FragSoc Facebook page.

Last year the world’s largest esports company ESL have partnered up with the University of York’s Department of Theatre, Film and Television to launch the world’s first industry-backed module based on esports.

Students are taught how to tell interesting and engaging stories by using their current skills acquired in sports broadcasting.

Popular esports

Some of the more popular eSports games include:

League of Legends: where you and your team must battle it out to destroy the enemy’s nexus.

Call of Duty: a first-person shooter that has many different game modes.

Defence of Ancients 2: where two teams of five players with unique heroes battle it out to try and destroy the opposing team’s ancient structure which is located inside the enemy’s base.