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This is how Eirik organized a historic tournament in northern Norway

Thirty-seven miles to the north, a little east and upwards lies Flåklypa, a small mountain village under the firmament. Even a little further north, deep in Helgeland, you will find Ørnes. A coastal town that really established itself as a kind of epicenter for Trackmania in August this year, thanks in large part to 28-year-old Eirik Holdal.

Holdal is behind the event Arctic Gaming Experience, a sort of combination of a historic Trackmania tournament and a nationally romantic tribute to the municipality of Meløy. The down-to-earth 28-year-old can tell that the gratitude is great after the success.

– First of all, I am incredibly grateful that it went as well as it did. It has given us a platform to build on. This is the first big event I’m behind, so I’m very pleased that it went well.

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Spent nothing on marketing

Ørnes may not be the center of the world, and holding an event with the level of ambition Holdal has had in such a place is no easy task. Fortunately, the 28-year-old was able to quickly crack the code behind marketing, and with a negligible budget he was eventually able to reach what he refers to as the whole world.

– We have not spent anything on marketing, and we have reached out to what we can see as the whole world. In total, we have around twelve million impressions on Twitter messages directly related to the week that was up here in Meløy, he tells before continuing.

The Trackmania profile “Wirtual” managed to keep the children’s attention during the Arctic Gaming Experience.

Arctic Gaming Experience

– The main concept has been to include players and streamers who already had a high profile in the community. Take them up north and make them as happy as possible. From then on, they really got free rein to share what they wanted to share without any guidance or demands from us.

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The event’s reach has been nothing short of impressive, although Holdal wishes he could have hit a little wider in the environment.

– If I had money for marketing, I would have probably used it to hit a bit outside the hardest Trackmania bubble and the local environment. It would have been cool if it had been something that the whole of Norway had caught on to.

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Was saved by politicians

Historic tournaments by no means come for free, and the Arctic Gaming Experience was no exception. In total, the event operated with a budget of approximately two million. Holdal can tell that he faced challenges when he tried to recruit commercial players for the project.

– Many companies use big words that they want to get into e-sports to reach young people, but most want proof that it can be implemented before they take the plunge. I have tried to offer an entry into a large project at a cheap price. Most of the people I spoke to were positive, but mostly everyone wanted proof that it was feasible first.

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As he struggled to get commercial actors involved in the project implementation, Holdal had to look for alternative solutions. In the end, local politicians came to the rescue, much to Holdal’s surprise.

The salmon industry was represented on stage.

Arctic Gaming Experience

– Politicians, Bodø24 and local entrepreneurs have been involved in the project and ensured its implementation. That it was the politicians who would be the savior for a project like this, I had never thought in advance. I imagined that it was going to be challenging to get the politicians to realize what eSports is.

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Want to create big things in small places


The visiting Trackmania profiles got to taste local ingredients.

Arctic Gaming Experience

Despite a successful implementation, the organizers had to deal with several challenges during this year’s Arctic Gaming Experience, and it may not come as a surprise that one of the biggest challenges was the weather in Nordland. By next year, Holdal wants to be able to carry out all planned activities, and he does not rule out an expansion on the gaming front.

– I will try to get another edition of the Arctic Gaming Experience in my hometown, as we were a bit unlucky with the weather. Unfortunately, we were not able to carry out all the activities we had planned in advance. We’ll probably stick to Trackmania, as that’s the environment I know. Having said that, the most important thing for me is to create memories and attention in the north, so we keep all doors open if other players want to sign up.

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If you are not tempted by a week along the Helgeland coast, but still want to participate in the Arctic Gaming Experience, you will probably have to wait a little while. Holdal’s plan is to take the circus further in northern Norway, and he is clear about his goals for the event. Creating big things in small places.


The Arctic Gaming Experience was a success among the local population.

Arctic Gaming Experience

– The concept will probably have to travel around a bit eventually, and show that there are opportunities throughout northern Norway. We have to let the players discover more than Meløy. We naturally have a lot here, but we have even more up here in the north. My goal is to create big things in small spaces. Not all families can afford to travel to the big places to catch up on what’s happening, he tells

Bitter that you didn’t get to participate in this year’s Arctic Gaming Experience? Check out the film from the event, then »

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The article is in Norwegian

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