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01/27/22: Team Liquid’s DC digs; ESL & FACEIT merge in monster acquisition; ESPORTSU is ready to rumble


Medias First Morning Read Thursday January 27, 2022 Good morning! It’s Thursday and this is your early morning Esports brief. DC is on the clock. Monumental Sports & Entertainment revealed plans for “District E Powered by Ticketmaster,” described as a “premier, nearly 14,000-square-foot live-event theater offering a 365-day-a-year, series of immersive experiences in esports, music, event programming, and community events – along with pre- and post-event activations for fans attending Capitals and Wizards games or events.” This space will also create a competition and training venue for the MSE esports franchises which it owns, operates, and invests in, including Wizards District Gaming and Caps Gaming as well as serving as a catalyst to foster the amateur gaming community in the Greater Washington Metropolitan region.

Additionally, the venue will establish an East Coast satellite office for Team Liquid. Further and look to bolster the influencer streaming community through its streaming pods.

“MSE has been an incredible partner to Team Liquid over the years and the development of District E is an initiative that I believe truly elevates the fan experience and helps connect us with more fans than ever before,” said Steve Arhancet, Co-CEO and Owner of Team Liquid. “Having lived in the DMV for a number of years, it’s an honor for me to reconnect with the local community and I am looking forward to working alongside and supporting our local organizations, universities and athletes to bring together fans across Northern Virginia, Maryland, and D.C. by providing them with a genuine and unique esports experience.” COMPETITION Of course, the biggest news from the week was a heavyweight deal that sees ESL Gaming and FACEIT merge under the name ESL FACEIT Group after the two companies were acquired by the Saudi-backed Savvy Gaming Group. The deal is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close in Q2 2022. According to the announcement, the deal will “combine ESL’s expertise in building, broadcasting, and commercializing premium esports ecosystems, including arena and festival events, with FACEIT’s capabilities in developing best-in-class tools for competitive games and a leading social network of competitive players.” ESL and FACEIT will retain their leadership teams in the new group, with a new structure that would see Craig Levine and Niccolo Maisto as co-CEOs. Ralf Reichert, co-founder of ESL, will move into a non-operational role as Executive Chairman, supporting the leadership team.

Bandai Namco is hitting pause on the Dragon Ball FighterZ World Championship Finals due to the pandemic. The event was originally slated to run Feb. 19-20 but will not be delayed indefinitely. “It’s very disappointing for all of us to inform you that the World Championship Final has been postponed indefinitely,” DBFZ producer Tomoko Hiroki posted. “However, we are now planning to host a special event for the Dragon Ball Games Battle Hour 2022, that will hopefully deliver a different kind of fun from the regular tournaments.”

The Call of Duty League opened the 2022 season last weekend with the Kickoff Classic tournament out of Esports Stadium Arlington. Esports Charts reports that the event’s stream on YouTube averaged under 50,000 for the weekend, down from the 2021 version of the event, and peaking at under 80,000 concurrent viewers.

Meanwhile, Call of Duty League opened play this season with the late announcement that esports operations company Esports Engine joined as the official broadcasting partner of the league. Esports Engine’s involvement will bring features that include a new and expanded pre-game show, new always-on player cameras, and live feeds of players on the HUD, among other upgrades. Esports Engine will also leverage its Ohio studio throughout the 2022 Call of Duty League Season to host on-site desk talent for Major qualifier matches.

Wisdom Gaming announced its continued partnership with Riot Games for Season One of the 2022 Wild Rift North American Series. Wisdom Gaming will oversee operations and broadcast on behalf of Riot Games leading up to the North American Regional Championship in April 2022. In addition, the company is launching a podcast series and bi-weekly Fight Night event, under its Giant Slayer brand, in the coming weeks. The WNS tournament format features three circuits and a Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ), all culminating in the $150,000 North American Regional Championship in April.

The NBA 2K League announced that the 2022 NBA 2K League Draft will be held virtually on Feb. 26 at 6p, livestreamed on the NBA 2K League’s Twitch and YouTube channels ahead of the league’s fifth anniversary season. In celebration of its fifth season, the NBA 2K League is launching #NBA2KL5, a season-long campaign highlighting the top moments, performances and players throughout the league’s history. The draft broadcast will feature NBA 2K League President Brendan Donohue announcing select picks, technological advances showing hosts and broadcasters in a new LED immersive studio, a variety of viewing options through Twitch’s Command Center, clips from NBA 2K League original content series “Draft Hopefuls”, and broadcast segments of the top 5 Draft moments, Draft day outfits and Draft steals as part of #NBA2KL5.

All Sports Television Network teamed up with Swiss-based Racing Unleashed AG and Full Throttle Adrenaline Park to produce and air its first esports reality show, titled Racing Unleased, and slated to be produced in June 2022. The series is comprised of 13 episodes featuring twelve contestants competing against each other on Formula-1 style racing simulators. Contestants will be divided into 3 teams. Over the 13-week period, contestants will race against each other and will be eliminated until three are remaining.

The PUBG Corporation laid out the roadmap for PUBG Mobile esports this year with tweaks that include a new look for the PUBG MOBILE Pro League, as well as new regions in the PUBG Mobile Club Open, and an overhaul to the PUBG MOBILE National Championship. The PUBG Mobile Pro League will switch from a seasonal relegation format to a one-year cycle. The PMPL spring season will happen from January to May and will lead to the Mid-season championship in June. The fall season will happen from July to November. The year will culminate with the PMGC in December and January 2023.

Ahead of the ALGS Split 1 Playoffs, Electronic Arts unleashed ‘Multiview,’ which will give fans more control over how they watch their favorite Apex squads and players. The feature now enables viewers to personalize their viewing experience through the Twitch Command Center feature with two-to-four customizable split-screen windows; stream any combination of the game perspectives, including the main broadcast, twenty player POVs, and map view, and listen in on any ALGS team’s in-game communication live during matches.

Speaking of Apex, Super League Gaming opened the doors to the Super League Arena: Apex Legends tournament, sponsored by Hyundai. The three-month competition runs on SuperLeagueTV on Twitch and TikTok and features 40 pro teams from the world’s TOP professional esports organizations, including newly-crowned NA champions TSM FTX, Cloud 9, Team Liquid, 100 Thieves, NRG, XSET, and more. Super League Arena: Apex Legends marks the first all-pro competition from Super League.

Think you are S-Tier? Then bring your esports property and compete against the heavyweight pillars of the sports industry! The doors are open! Nominations for the Cynopsis Sports Media Awards are now being taken for their year’s ceremony, taking place on April 19, live (hopefully) in NYC. New categories are seeking champions! Have a gander by clicking here.

The Free Fire Pro Series hits North America for the Spring 2022 season with open qualifiers beginning on Feb. 5 and running through the Grand Finals from April 1-3. Teams will be capped to 192 teams with 24 winning teams advancing to the Group Stage, and the final 12 teams competing in the Grand Finals. The winning team will represent North America in the May 14 play-in phase of the Free Fire World Series 2022 in Singapore. STREAMHATCHET Stream Hatchet is releasing their 2021 yearly report on Monday, January 31st, which includes market insights on the top games, streamers, and platforms from last year. Here is a preview of the Top Ten Games of 2021 from that report along with Stream Hatchet’s insights.
· GTA V was the definitive game to live stream in 2021, generating 2.7B hours watched, and climbing from the 5th most watched title in 2020 to number 1.
· It’s tough to break into the top 10, as 9 of the top 10 games in 2020 have sustained their popularity in 2021. Apex Legends, EA’s take on the BR genre, was the only new game in this year’s top 10, pushing out popular tactical shooter CS:GO.
· Mobile gaming continues to rise. It should come as no surprise that 3 of the top 10 titles are mobile exclusives (Garena, PUBG Mobile and Mobile Legends).
· While Twitch certainly leads in PC / Console-based titles, Facebook and YouTube dominate the lion’s share of mobile game live streaming viewership.
To download Stream Hatchet’s 2021 Yearly Video Game Streaming Trends Report on Monday, January 31, visit www.StreamHatchet.com/reports. For more information on how live streaming data can be utilized to help businesses understand underlying trends across the video games market landscape, visit us online at: www.StreamHatchet.com ENTER NOW: SPORTS MEDIA AWARDS

Don’t miss the February 16 entry deadline! Your brand or project will contend with top brands in the sports media world. We’re excited to see your entries!

ENTER NOW SPONSORSHIP AND ACTIVATION Dignitas announced the launch of their official 2022 ‘Away Kit’ vehicle decals in Rocket League, alongside banking brand QNTMPAY. This activation sees one of the first-ever company-branded vehicles available in Rocket League’s Esports Shop. QNTMPAY will be the exclusive ‘Away Kit’ vehicle partner of Dignitas’ Rocket League team, with the brand present in-game on Dignitas’ Dominus, Fennec, and Octane ‘Away Kit’ car models. Together, the brands will bring to life this expanded partnership through exclusive merchandise collaborations, in-game experiences, and live broadcast content.

Gen.G locked in a partnership with Bithumb, a leading cryptocurrency exchange based in Korea. With the deal, the pair will offers various strategic collaborations, including promoting joint marketing activities and providing creative experiences that bridge the esports and the cryptocurrency industries. The first partnership between these two companies will see Bithumb sponsor Gen.G’s PUBG and Overwatch teams.

NBA Rookie of the Year and Charlotte Hornets Point Guard LaMelo Ball is partnering with One Up to launch his own esports brand: MB1 Gaming. Ball will launch the brand by hosting free-to-enter esports tournaments, merchandise giveaways, and exclusive content on his platform, including a NBA 2K Invitational presented by PUMA, on Feb. 5.

BLAST Premier and skin trading platform CS.MONEY unlocked an extension of their partnership – taking the deal into a fourth year. The partnership will revolve around engaging esports and Counter-Strike fans on the wide spectrum of skins available to trade and purchase online and will see BLAST and CS.MONEY collaborate on a series of premium, player-led content pieces throughout the year.

The National Association of Collegiate Esports revealed a partnership with EDGE Consulting, a group of collegiate educators looking to grow the esports industry. EDGE Consulting will assist NACE member institutions via “a variety of academic development and support services, including academic esports consultation, course mapping, assessment tools, and support services; and licensed or customized esports curriculum.” PLATFORMS Collegiate Sports Management Group is launching ESPORTSU, its esports brand aimed at building community, content, and events across the scholastic esports environment. ESPORTSU will look to boost the property rights of more than 3,000 academic institutions (high schools to two- and four-year colleges) to support content development, revenue opportunities, and exposure through regional and national events and includes the debut of its 24/7 Twitch channel, The Twitch channel will also debut 6 hours of daily premium collegiate esports programming starting on February 1, in partnership with top collegiate esports conferences, including the ECAC, NECC, NJCAAE, and ECC. Additionally, ESPORTSU is hosting two online collegiate esports tournaments for Valorant and Super Smash Brothers Ultimate. The Midwest Invitational will be held on Jan. 29, and the Southeast Invitational on Jan 30.

Esports Entertainment Group received an Order approving a Transactional Waiver from the Director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement which permits the company to begin accepting bets in the state. The Company becomes the first esports betting operator to receive a Transactional Waiver in New Jersey and plans to launch their VIE.gg betting platform following a five-day ‘soft play’ period.

PlayVS announced a partnership with Activision Blizzard. With the deal, the platform will open the doors to Hearthstone to its regional leagues this Spring season. TEAMS Team Liquid is entering World of Warcraft with the acquisition of Limit Guild. The deal marks one of Liquid’s biggest to date, and will see Limit guild leader Max Smith become a minority owner in Team Liquid. “Limit Guild is comprised of absolute legends and are the world’s #1 raiding World of Warcraft guild,” Liquid posted with the announcement. “If anyone can lead us to victory in the MMO space, it’s these folks, and we’re prepared to support them in every way possible.”

Version1 struck a multi-year agreement with esports platform eFuse, which will serve as the team’s official strategic branding and competition partner and receive branding on Version1’s Rocket League in-game cosmetic add-ons.

FaZe Clan announced FaZe1, Powered by MoonPay, a recruitment challenge for creators culminating in a 15-day, 24/7 livestream “FaZe1 Top 20 Show” where one participant will have the opportunity to become a member of FaZe Clan, with a signing bonus of $1 million in cryptocurrency from MoonPay, as well as a $250,000 brand deal from G FUEL and a Nissan GT-R. Road to FaZe1 will be FaZe Clan’s new weekly livestream series hosted by FaZe Clan founders FaZe Apex and FaZe CBass.

INDUSTRY

Total consumer spending on video games in the U.S. totaled $60.4 billion in 2021, for a rise of 8% over 2020, according to new data released by the Entertainment Software Association and The NPD Group. Gains were seen across console and PC subscription spending, digital post-launch content spending across console, PC and VR, as well as hardware and accessories. Overall, content spending in 2021 reached $51.7 billion, an uptick of 7% over 2020. The top game: Call of Duty: Vanguard. READY UP   FANTASTIC FINALISTS

At this year’s Best of the Best, the finalists will be competing in over 50 categories. Finalists include MTV Entertainment Group/Viacom, Universal Studio Group, Dotdash Meredith, New York Jets and more. Join us on Feb 24th when we announce the winners!

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Cadent is looking to hire a Broadcast Planner to join our fast-growing team! In this role you will work closely with Sales to build proposals & media plans, assist with pricing for ad packages and work closely with operations to finalize orders. If you have broadcast experience and enjoy working with numbers, we would love to speak with you! Full info HERE (2/10)

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ACCOUNT MANAGER
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Manage assigned portfolio of video providers in alignment with company goals. Develop & maintain strong corporate, division/regional & system relationships. Achieve content distribution & marketing goals across account portfolio. Min of 2-5 yrs’ B2B sales & client relationship management exp; exp in cable television distribution a plus. Full info HERE (2/8)

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Maintain agency accounts including upfront and scatter order entry, inventory moves, and product allocations and Electronic Data Interchange, flowcharts, change notices, handling program changes, booking billboards for marketing sponsorships. Communicate daily with Traffic Department. BA in Communication or equivalent from a four-year college. Full info HERE (2/8)

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Oversee day-to-day management of campaigns and ensure brand consistency. Develop social media campaigns; drive brand awareness, and engagement. Work with brand managers to create and implement social media strategies monthly. Proven track record of using social platforms to drive conversation and conversion. Full info HERE (2/8)

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Shoot and produce digital video content. Operate as a one-person band getting your own video, audio, and necessary coverage. Act as the primary liaison with our subjects and must always represent the core values of our brand in the field. Credits in digital/doc/reality programming & experience shooting on the Sony FS-7 or adjacent models. Full info HERE (2/6)

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Manage a team of producers/shooters, and editors. Impart technical expertise of shooting and editing equipment to team members. Oversee serialized content from casting through picture lock. Direct large projects and live events. At least 6+ years of video production experience on long-form content. Full info HERE (2/6)

EDITOR >>
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Create and edit original mid-from and long-form video feature stories for Overtime’s YouTube page and social platforms, using creative storytelling and editing to produce the best possible video. Ensure we’re creating the best video content up to Overtime standards. Credits working in long-form doc/reality programming. Full info HERE (2/6)

MARKETING MANGER >>
CLEAR CHANNEL/NYC: Prepare ideas & strategy for sales pitches. Develop strategic marketing plans that identify & direct marketing activities toward opportunities for revenue growth. Serve as an expert in media strategy, research insights & product innovation. 3-5 yrs of Marketing and/or Advertising experience. Business Acumen, Results Focus, and Problem Solving req. Full info HERE (2/5)

ACCOUNT DIRECTOR, AD SALES
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Communicate the value and brand strength to advertisers and agencies. Create compelling presentations and proactively keep clients informed of pertinent account and network information, as well as marketplace conditions. Make in-person visits to advertisers and agencies. Minimum 4+ years national advertising sales or equivalent sales experience. Full info HERE (2/4)

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Maintain client relationships and process client requests. Negotiate client rates and provide weekly budget reports. Provide quarterly agency/account budget tracking reports and summaries. Analyze and report average unit rates on a weekly/monthly basis. Min of 2 yrs of relevant advertising/media and min one yr direct response experience required. Full info HERE (2/2)

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Primary contacts for AKC.tv & AKC productions. Manages the production calendar, including national broadcasts, livestream events, weekly shows, & studio productions. Tracks & monitors the process with AKC clubs for televised events, including contracts & payments. 2+ yrs of exp in broadcast management, communications, marketing, or related field. Full info HERE (1/28)

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Provides leadership for the broadcast/digital sales teams. Makes decisions regarding hiring, evaluating, promoting and terminating of employees. Manages recruitment, Training, evaluation, and development of sales professionals. Develops and cultivates client relationships alongside Account Executives. 3+ yrs exp in selling TV, Video and Digital. Full info HERE (1/28)

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