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Interview with Ed Boon from 2019 Tempest Awards

The Week in Esports

04/15/21: Overwatch League reloads for new season; CDL opens LAN line; NBA 2K League welcomes Champion

The Call of Duty League is also bracing for a return to live events, confirming plans to host series later this year and stating on Twitter that that league was already working with teams for LANs to return for “select events” this season. The last offline CDL LAN event took place in March 2020 during week four in LA.

Speaking of COD, the Call of Duty: Mobile World Championship laid out its roadmap to return this year, boasting a $2 million prize pool with competition starting June 3 and set to be presented by Sony, conducted regionally in multiple stages. Sony’s newest flagship smartphone, Xperia 1 III, will be the official mobile device of the World Championship. “The momentum worldwide for Call of Duty: Mobile is incredible as our players continue to have a great time playing,” said Matt Lewis, vice president, mobile at Activision. “Picking up from last year’s competition, we’ve increased the prize money up for grabs and number of teams that can qualify, so there are even more reasons for fans to prove they’ve got what it takes to be the best.”

Esports tournament organizer BLAST Premier secured eight new media rights deals for the rest of the 2021 season. TV channels SportsMax, Nordic Entertainment Group and BOLT+, among other new deals, will take the Counter-Strike tournament series to a number of new regions around the world, including: Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Iceland, Canada, Kosovo, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India and the Caribbean. The new rights partnerships will extend the esports media network’s portfolio of media rights to over 35 partners, meaning BLAST Premier will be shown in 18 different languages and across 157 territories.

F1 Esports is hunting for speed queens, introducing the F1 Esports Series Women’s Wildcard, a female-only qualification route into the Pro Exhibition. Racers will compete from May 3-9, setting flying lap times on F1 2020 to determine who’s fastest. The fastest qualifier will go through to the Pro Exhibition in May, a special event where the 10 F1 Esports teams will have the opportunity to select from a pool of some of the fastest sim racers in the world. The org stated that with the introduction of the Women’s Wildcard, it’s hoped that more female racers will be encouraged to take on F1 Esports from a grassroots level, with a view to being the first female driver to be selected by an official F1 Esports team.
Excedrin is teaming up with 100 Thieves Founder & CEO Nadeshot in a move to educate the gaming community about the prevalence of headaches and the unintended consequence of the "no quit" mentality in esports. Excedrin's research found that headaches are getting in the way of gameplay – 83% of gamers who have experienced headaches while gaming reported there are times they've had to stop playing due to their headaches. As a result, Excedrin has developed a “simple mindfulness routine featuring tips and tricks for gamers to integrate into gameplay.”

Gen.G and ROCCAT and pairing up, with the PC brand now serving as the official PC gaming accessories partner for keyboards, mice, and other PC peripherals of Gen.G's Overwatch, League of Legends, and PUBG teams as well as their affiliated streamers. Additionally, ROCCAT will work directly with Gen.G's players and streamers to create a slate of content for fans, as well as working with them to build their insights and competitive knowledge into future products. "We're extremely excited to be extending our esports partnerships to Korea with Gen.G Esports – one of the most well-respected esports organizations in the world," said Juergen Stark, Chairman & CEO, Turtle Beach Corporation. "We're growing our business in Korea and can't wait for the teams, their fans, and gamers in the region to see why ROCCAT is fast becoming one of the most sought-after PC gaming accessory brands."

Tampax announced plans to host the first-ever Tampax Gaming Fest live on Friday at 8p on Twitch via KittyPlays’ channel and across VENN streaming channels. The event will host a virtual panel featuring gamers, Katherine Gunn and Rumay Wang along with Erin Ashley Simon, with Kristen Michaela (aka KittyPlays) as moderator. In addition to the panel discussion, all-female identifying Valorant teams TSM, CLG, and Dignitas will participate in a live tournament on Twitch alongside a fourth team of skilled amateurs brought together by Tampax. “We [Tampax] were happy to learn so many talented female gamers are fueling the growth of esports, but concerned that many in this community still consider period conversations taboo,” says Camille Zahniser, Brand Director of North America Tampax. “We’re excited to support these extraordinary players and help break down period stigmas through an event that will unite them, foster their continued success, and inspire future gamers.”

CLG and Samsung Electronics America cemented a partnership in which Samsung will be the Official Computer Memory Hardware Devices Partner for all CLG teams with the partnership boasting an editorial-style digital content series and premier brand integration throughout CLG’s team and player digital channels. Samsung also serves as the Presenting Partner for CLG’s Amateur Competition Platform “Samsung Open Tournament Series,” where Samsung will be involved in all marketing assets and throughout the livestreams of Samsung Open Tournament Series events on the CLG Twitch Channel. The first Samsung Open Tournament Series will take place on April 24, with Amateur players competing in League of Legends.
Epic Games unveiled a $1 billion funding round, giving the “Fortnite” creator a $28.7 billion valuation. The round includes a $200 million investment from Sony. Additional investors include Luxor Capital, Franklin Templeton, and Fidelity Investments Inc. “Their investment will help accelerate our work around building connected social experiences in ‘Fortnite,’ ‘Rocket League,’ and ‘Fall Guys’ while empowering game developers and creators with Unreal Engine, Epic Online Services, and the Epic Games Store,” said Epic founder and CEO Tim Sweeney in a statement.

The Entertainment Software Association is teaming with multiple media companies in a move to content for this year’s E3, running June 12-15. The first batch of media partners will feature IGN, Future Games, GameSpot, Polygon, IGN China, and Game Bonfire. “We are focused on ensuring that E3 continues to be the most innovative and collaborative event in the video game industry, so enlisting some of the industry’s biggest media partners to help deliver the highly-anticipated news, reveals and more is crucial to a successful showcase,” ESA president and CEO Stanley Pierre-Louis said. “Each media partner will be instrumental in driving E3’s reach to more fans than ever before. With this year’s digital format, we’re looking to provide our audiences with exciting and unique ways to experience the magic of E3.”

Generation Esports announced the successful closing of its $10.8 Million Series A Round, which was led by Bay Area-based early-stage investor Altos Ventures with participation from FJ Labs and other investors. The Series A investment will directly support GenE’s multiple community and student esports initiatives, including the High School Esports League as well as the Middle School Esports League, and all associated tournaments and activations.

MADMONQ, a company that created the a health and performance gaming supplement targeting gamers’ needs, announced a near $600,000 seed round with participation from poker star, Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier; Twitch streamer, Lex Veldhuis; content creator, entrepreneur, and author Radek “sterakdary” Starý; manager Lukáš “lastgameblitz” Křítek, AdRock Ventures; and entrepreneur Vojta Roček. The funding will be used to raise awareness around the need to prioritize health in gaming, new product development, scaling the team, and paving the way for Series A round, planned for late 2021.
NBA 2K League Champion Athleticwear is announcing an extension of its multi-year partnershipwith the NBA 2K League to continue as its official outfitter through the 2023 season. Champion now supplies all 23 teams with seasonal, custom team lines, including game jerseys, practice wear, travel gear, leisure items and a curated signature hoodie. Additionally, Champion provided 2021 draft prospects with gear, and will continue participating in the NBA 2K League influencer program during the league’s fourth season.

H4X, a lifestyle fashion brand worn by a number of professional esports athletes and gaming personalities, announced an exclusive collection with Nick Kolcheff, aka, Nickmercs. The capsule collection consists of a t-shirt, hoodie, and hat packed in a custom frosted poly bag with a personalized note from Nick and shipped in custom MFAM branded boxes. The apparel will be available on Saturday, at1p at MFAM.gg.

In addition, H4X announced a new multiyear partnership with Overactive Media to become the Lead Apparel Partner of the Toronto Ultra and Toronto Defiant. “This is a really exciting time for our organization and our franchises. Building these unique collections with a Canadian lifestyle brand and offering fans high quality apparel is important," said Tyler Keenan, VP of Global Partnerships at OverActive.