Game mode on: BBC Three takes viewers behind the multimillion-pound esports scene

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  •         Fight For First: EXCEL ESPORTS, available on BBC iPlayer early 2021
  •         Narrated by Cillian Murphy

At a time when the global audience for esports is set to eclipse the viewership of traditional spectator sporting events and 80 million people a month play League of Legends, a new documentary series from BBC Three has been commissioned to give viewers an unprecedented insight into one of the biggest games in the world. Fight for First:  EXCEL ESPORTS will be available to stream on BBC iPlayer in early 2021.

Narrated by Golden Globe and BAFTA nominee Cillian Murphy, this five-part series follows, a multimillion pound esports organisation, at home in their state of the art training facility at Twickenham stadium and abroad at The League of Legends European Championships (LEC) in Berlin, meeting the six-figure salary gamers who are at the heart of this team of rising young superstars. In 2019, they finished in tenth place, but now with huge financial backing, brand new players and a world class coaching team, can they make a true impact on the international League of Legends scene?

Founded in 2014, brothers Kieran and Joel Holmes-Darby came up with the idea for an esports team over a pint. Now six years later and with an investment of eight figures behind them, EXCEL compete in one the biggest gaming leagues in the world.

The team train out of Twickenham stadium and have access to a wide range of sporting facilities usually only reserved for top athletes. Whether it’s DNA testing, physiotherapy, sports psychology, or nutrition, EXCEL applies the same level of training as any traditional sporting team.

During the season, the EXCEL players all live together in a gaming house, so they’re in each other’s pockets 24/7. BBC Three follows the team as they compete against the world’s best esports athletes, while navigating the growing pains of adulting, living away from home, love, new friendships and fame. On the surface, they may be young, rich and living out their dreams, but each player has their own deep-rooted reasons why gaming plays such an important role in their lives.

Cillian Murphy says: “My sons love gaming. When I showed them the trailer for this, they said I had to do it. Being involved in Fight For First has been a great experience and there is so much more to professional gaming than I ever thought. It has opened up a whole new world to me and this series provides a proper insight into a fascinating, global industry.

Kieran Holmes-Darby, Co-Founder and Chief Gaming Officer at EXCEL ESPORTS, said: “This five-part series showcases our attempts to reach the League of Legends European Championship play-offs for the first time in our history and is a completely unique insight into EXCEL ESPORTS and what goes on behind the scenes of a major esports organisation. At EXCEL, whilst competing at the elite level, we pride ourselves on always striving to be better, and the series demonstrates how we practise, prepare and play. Not only will it offer our fans a deeper look into what we do, but it will also offer people who are completely new to esports a fascinating perspective of our exciting industry.”

Fiona Campbell, Controller BBC Three, says: “The BBC Three in-house documentary team have created a fascinating series and true insight into the world’s fastest growing sport – and one that has a huge following and importance to our audience. We’re excited to be the first UK broadcaster to follow an esports team through a global esports competition, taking viewers behind the scenes as the teenage team members juggle competing on a world stage with their lives at home.”

Fight For First: EXCEL ESPORTS is a 5 x 30 production made by the BBC Three in-house team. It was commissioned by Fiona Campbell, Controller BBC Three, produced and directed by Simon Rawles. The Executive Producers are James Corbin and Jo Smith for BBC Three.

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