A SOMERSET college will host part of the south west's biggest esports tournament in the early stages of next year.

The first South West Esports Festival was held in February, hosted by Exeter College and Tech South West. 

Sixteen corporate teams took part from organisations including Exeter Chiefs, the Met Office, Jurassic Fibre, Ashfords LLP, and Devon County Council.

In the end, Bath-based software firm Rocketmasters took home the trophy. 

Next year's tournament will be held at five campuses across the region - including Bridgwater & Taunton College (BTC). 

The competition aims to showcase the leading role the south west can play in the technology sector and its cutting-edge facilities. 

BTC will be joined by City College Plymouth, South Gloucestershire and Stroud College, Cornwall College, and Exeter College in hosting a regional heat.

The top three teams from each heat will go through to the final, hosted by Exeter College at their flagship Digital and Data Centre during May half term. 

Somerset County Gazette: Gamers compete in the inaugural South West Esports Festival.Gamers compete in the inaugural South West Esports Festival. (Image: South West Tech)

As the winners of the inaugural festival in February, Rocketmakers will automatically qualify for the final.

Ben Pople, higher education course leader at Bridgwater & Taunton College, said: “The rapid growth of esports is opening up exciting new career opportunities across the globe - whether in marketing, event management, games development, computing or competitive gaming itself.

“At Bridgwater & Taunton College, we are delighted to be supporting young people to develop their skills in these areas, and to be showcasing the potential for the south west to become a beacon of esports in the UK.

“The festival will be a great showcase for the region and for the facilities, the innovation and the talented young people that we are so lucky to have.”

Dan Pritchard, co-founder and director of Tech South West, said: “The south west is home to some fantastic digital facilities and is a powerhouse of createch innovation.

“These factors, combined with a disproportionately high number of technical students and a highly collaborative community, put the region in pole position as the UK’s natural home of esports innovation.

“We are delighted to be working with colleges from across the south west to showcase the region’s strengths and promote the opportunities associated with the rise of esports.”

To register your team or learn about sponsorship opportunities, go to www.techsouthwest.co.uk/esports-2023.