Thursday January 28, 2021
Good morning! This is your weekly Esports Brief.
The Rocket League Championship Series fueled up a deal with Ford
to serve as the presenting sponsor for all of the RLCS X Winter Majors. The RLCS X Winter Split launches on Feb. 5, with Majors then running every weekend of February on Twitch. Events will include the Oceanic Winter major, the South American Winter Major, the European Winter Major and the North American Winter Major, which wraps up the slate on Feb. 27 and 28.
“We wanted a sponsor that reflected that same amount of drive in their own work and products,” Psyonix said in the announcement. “That’s why we’re proud to announce Ford as the presenting sponsor for all RLCS X Winter Majors! Ford is a sponsor that’s built tough and committed to helping us make sure the Regional Majors have something for everyone.”
NASCAR revealed that the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series will return in 2021.
NASCAR and iRacing jointly announced that a new-look Pro Invitational will see NASCAR Cup Series stars compete virtually in a 10-race schedule that will complement NASCAR’s real-life racing schedule. FOX Sports will broadcast the first five races of the series live in primetime on FS1. NBC Sports will air the final five races of the series, with its schedule and details to be announced at a later date. “The success of our eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series was underscored by an industry-wide effort to entertain fans during the early months of the global pandemic,” said Tim Clark, NASCAR senior vice president and chief digital officer. “This year the Pro Invitational will return with a schedule of midweek races that will bridge the gap between our real-world races each weekend.”
Electronic Arts and the NFL revealed the celebrities, NFL Legends and current Pro Bowlers competing in the Pro Bowl: The Madden NFL 21 Edition Presented by Verizon. The event will stream on the NFL YouTube, Twitter and Facebook as well as EA Madden NFL Twitch on Sunday, at 5p. The event will feature Snoop Dogg, Deshaun Watson, Derrick Henry and Keyshawn Johnson competing for the AFC, while Bubba Wallace, Marshawn Lynch, Kyler Murray and Jamal Adams will play for the NFC. Michael Strahan and Charissa Thompson will host the Sunday event with streamers Ninja, FaZe Swagg, AustinShow and AMP also hosting live watch parties on their channels.
ESL Gaming struck a two-year partnership with Blizzard Entertainment to operate the esports ecosystem for Hearthstone. game title, impacting some of the largest Hearthstone tournaments like the Grandmasters and the Hearthstone Masters Tours and will entail a total prize pool of $3 million per calendar year. “We are delighted to strengthen our relationship with Blizzard through this two-year Hearthstone partnership” said Michael Van Driel, Senior Vice President Game Management at ESL Gaming. “Operating the game ecosystem is a great move for ESL and Hearthstone, fans around the world can look forward to an exciting two years ahead.
ESL Gaming also laid out its 2021 plans for esports tournaments and DreamHack festivals, including DreamHack’s first live, in-person festival since the pandemic in DreamHack Atlanta in November. The year sees the majority of ESL and DreamHack esports competitions scheduled to be played in a studio setting without a live audience with ESL One Cologne currently slated to serve as the first in-person competition with an audience in July 2021, pending local regulation and guidelines. “Like many other industries, we have had to react and change our plans so that we can ensure the safety of our community while still delivering the same world-class action,” said Ulrich Schulze, SVP Product Management at ESL Gaming. “2021 will look different as we continue to follow the latest health guidance relating to the pandemic, but we are also excited at what prospects are on offer with this calendar. We are committed to returning players to a LAN environment and are currently aiming to have fans back in their seats for ESL One Cologne. Of course, this is dependent on the very latest guidance and we will release further information relating to the status of all tournaments in due course.”
Van Wagner and eight of its NCAA conference partners are launching the Collegiate Esports Invitational were any enrolled student in a member school of the America East Conference, Big South Conference, Big West Conference, Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, Southland Conference, Sun Belt Conference, West Coast Conference and Western Athletic Conference will be able to compete in Rocket League. Van Wagner is partnering with Mainline for the online-only event which will feature each conference playing host to a single-elimination qualifying tournament from Feb. 2-5. The two finalists from each conference will advance to the Collegiate Esports Invitational Championship tournament February 6-7 making up the 16-team championship bracket. Van Wagner’s official Twitch channel will carry the finals of each conference tournament as well as the entire Collegiate Esports Invitational Championship bracket.
Speaking of the collegiate scene, Red Bull Campus Clutch is on deck to become the biggest global university esports event ever, offering students an opportunity to in VALORANT. Teams from more than 50 countries will have the opportunity to develop and prove their skills against players from all over the world.
Supercell lined up plans for Brawl Stars Championship 2021, running via four phases with the world finals set to serve up the top 16 teams from all 7 regions. The 1st phase of Brawl Stars Championship 2021 will begin on Feb. 20.
Thirty three-person teams are finalized for the Twitch Rivals Streamer Bowl II, with a trios Fortnite competition running on Feb. 4 as teams of NFL pros, top Fortnite players, and content creators compete for a share of a $1 million prize pool to go to their favorite charity. Twitch Rivals marketing partners for the Streamer Bowl II include Capital One, Verizon, Samsung, Doritos, Old Spice, Turbo Tax, and State Farm.
Motorsport Games updated its joint venture agreement with its strategic partner, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest in a move that will see the Le Mans Esports Series create, develop and publish video games, in addition to esports, based on the 24 Hours of Le Mans and FIA World Endurance Championship. “The 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual in 2020 was the perfect illustration of what the partnership between Motorsport Games and the ACO can create,” said Dmitry Kozko, CEO of Motorsport Games. “We are delighted to extend our agreement to include the creation of endurance video games based upon the 24 Hours of Le Mans and FIA World Endurance Championship, while also extending the length of our partnership and increasing the scope of our esports offering.”
FGC staple Combo Breaker announced that the annual event will again be cancelled due to the pandemic. The event was cancelled last year as well and was set to resume in May in Illinois. However, organizers announced that this year would instead see a new multi-day digital festival that would run over Memorial Day Weekend.
Panda Global is teaming up with Chess.com for The Smashers Gambit, a double elimination chess invitational on February 6-7. The tournament will bring professional Super Smash Bros streamers and chess players together in celebration of chess as an esport. There will also be an exhibition match between the top two Smash Bros. Melee players in the world in HungryBox and Zain will have two weeks to learn the game before they face-off on Feb. 6 at 9p. The event will be streamed on Panda’s newly signed chess player, Anna Cramling’s twitch channel where she will host the matches alongside Smash figurehead, Kris “Toph” Aldenderfer.
Team Liquid is extending its 10-year run with Alienware,
inking an extension that will see Alienware continue to supply hardware for Team Liquid and mark the longest partnership between a gaming company and esports team. The renewal will see new programs established to push the industry in three areas: fan engagement, player performance and community opportunities. “Ten years ago, I was introduced to a team at Alienware – the same team that I work with today – after an event during my Curse days,” said Team Liquid’s co-CEO Steve Arhancet. “I didn’t know it at the time, but that conversation would go on to help shape Team Liquid, and with it, my entire life. Alienware and Team Liquid have been partners for a decade because we dream hard and work even harder. In our next chapter, we’re going bigger than we ever have by introducing programs that contribute to fans and players, starting with our Liquid+ launch, and open up the esports industry to underrepresented voices.”
Immortals Gaming Club announced that Progressive Insurance signed on as the Official Insurance Sponsor of its Immortals League of Legends Championship Series team and will partner on a series of unique collaborations that celebrate esports and its passionate fans through activations that will bring together Immortals talent and the Progressive brand including special virtual gaming events and custom content. “Immortals’ LCS team is excited and proud to partner with Progressive Insurance,” says Jon Tuck CCO of Immortals Gaming Club. “Progressive is a leader in its field and aligns well with Immortals’ competitive spirit. We look forward to partnering with Progressive to bring our fans fun, unique content gaming content as well as the competitive coverage our fans crave.”
The LA Galaxy and JLab Audio inked a new and expanded, multi-year agreement. As part of the renewal, brokered by AEG Global Partnerships, the Carlsbad, CA-based company will remain the exclusive headphone and microphone partner of the LA Galaxy and will also become a new official partner of the Galaxy’s eMLS team. To kick things off, JLab Audio will donate over $100,000 worth of ear buds to the LA Galaxy Foundation.
MOUNTAIN, which develops gaming peripheral devices, is jumping into the esports market by becoming the official keyboard, mouse, and mousepad partner across all teams at Misfits Gaming Group. “Misfits Gaming Group is one of the most exciting esports organizations and their vision very much aligns with what we are doing at MOUNTAIN”, stated Tobias Brinkmann, CEO & Founder of Mountain. “We have been working on our gaming peripherals for the last two years with the focus on releasing user-centric products that allow gamers to perform at their very best. Our Everest keyboard and Makalu 67 mouse have been developed from the ground up to enable gamers to perform at their peak, and we’re really excited to see them in action.”
STREAM HATCHET TRENDS
This week, Stream Hatchet analyzed the 2021 Call of Duty League Kickoff Classic
that took place last weekend with all 12 teams competing in one best of 5 series. The league is entering its second year which is also its second year exclusively streaming on YouTube Gaming, the fastest growing live streaming platform last year. The peak viewership of the 2021 Kickoff Classic also from last year’s Launch Weekend; an already impressive growth rate considering the 2021 Kickoff Classic was a preseason event whereas the 2020 Launch Weekend was the first regular season event of the League’s inaugural season.
* The Chicago-based franchise (Chicago Huntsmen now turned OpTic Chicago) were part of both top matches from each event. Some of the most popular players, like Seth “Scump” Abner among others, were rostered on both Chicago teams and have some of the largest followings in the league.
* The LA Thieves is the franchise from extremely popular esports organization 100 Thieves, founded by Call Of Duty legend Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag. This will be the first year the LA Thieves participate in the Call Of Duty League as the organization announced the franchise spot and branding only a few months ago. The hype around the team likely contributed to the high overall peak viewership.
* Although the 2021 Kickoff Classic was only a preseason event, it set the tone for upcoming viewership for the Call Of Duty League once the regular season is underway. Expect big matches between popular teams like OpTic Chicago, LA Thieves, and defending champs Dallas Empire to spark even higher peak viewership during the season.
For more insights about the latest events, games, and live streams, please visit www.streamhatchet.com/insights.
Your Sports Media Awards Entry Due Next Week
[ THE DEADLINE IS NEXT WEDNESDAY! ]
Earn bragging rights. Build team morale. Put your work front and center.
No fillers or fluff. This award puts the spotlight on the elite producers, executives, sponsors, and content in the industry. Winners will have their name touted across all of our communications across Cynopsis’ social streams, websites, emails, and newsletters — reaching over 60,000 industry professionals
VALORANT Challengers North America locked in its first partner with the signing of Aim Lab as the official FPS training partner of VALORANT Challengers NA. The FPS/TPS training solution currently has over eight million players around the world. As part of this collaboration, Aim Lab will create specialized training programs for VALORANT esports to help aspiring competitors hone their skills.
Ninjas in Pyjamas unveiled a rebrand of the team’s markers,
featuring a “completely new visual design where the old logotype, the Shuriken (a weapon used by Ninjas) is modernized and the previous team colors (black/gold/white) are replaced.” “For us who work at and play for NIP, being a Ninja is something special, it’s more than just a brand and we kept that in mind while creating this new narrative to deliver an unforgettable experience for our fans and partners all over the world.”
Evil Geniuses is entering into a new esport, locking in its squad for VALORANT. The new team is helmed by former Counter-Strike 1.6 and Global Offensive pro and caster Christine “Potter” Chi. “Evil Geniuses approached me with the opportunity to create something special and help define the emerging VALORANT scene,” said Potter, captain of the EG Valorant team. “We’ve put together an amazing squad of veterans and young guns, and I think we’re going to surprise a lot of people.”
Berlin International Gaming (BIG) is joining the roster of Counter-Strike squads landing a spot as a BLAST Premier Member Team following a competitive bidding process. Robbie Douek, CEO of BLAST, said: “BIG are highly respected in the industry and have been one of the most successful esports organizations over the past 12 months – making them the perfect addition to BLAST Premier as a Member Team. Last year’s highly successful circuit came to a record-breaking conclusion on Sunday and we are excited for BIG to be a part of our plans for 2021 as we continue to deliver world-class Counter-Strike to all corners of the world.
Save the Date!
Our Best of the Best Awards are coming up…
Join us on Thursday, February 25 for our virtual celebration of the industry’s Best of the Best.
Finalists will be announced later next week!
ON THIS DAY
2010: Mass Effect 2 is released
Name the Mario character pictured above. (Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
Guitar Hero III featured the playable song “Jukebox Hero,” performed by which group? Answer: Foreigner. Kudos: Matt Sautter-WideOrbit/Harrisburg; Larry Kahn/Orlando; Al Greenwood-Spys/NY; Lou Graham/NY; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Jason Morrow-Toyota/Houston; Julie Schell/Chicago; Daniel Hanson/Vail; Andy Babb-Super League Gaming/Santa Monica; Joey Olson-Lowe’s/Chatsworth; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG•AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank
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SENIOR TALENT BOOKER >>
THE PALEY CENTER FOR MEDIA/NYC: Procure talent – research, invite and secure the highest-level speakers/panelists and moderators; book and produce unique and influential programs. 10+ years of programming experience securing high profile talent for industry, entertainment, sports and media programs and other special events on time and within budget. Full info HERE (2/10)
NATIONAL BUYER >>
ANCHOR TRADING/NY: National Linear Buyer, negotiate and strategize to obtain maximum ROI. Collaborator with strong analytical skills, media relationships and buy management. At least 3 years relevant prior work experience in National Media. Full info HERE (2/9)
SALES PLANNER >>
FIRST MEDIA/NYC: Sales Planner, manages and executes the completion and fulfillment of RFPs, works cross-divisionally to help fulfill client requests and compiles, maintains, and distributes weekly booked business report. At least 2 years relevant prior work experience in the advertising industry and Analytical and able to take a strategic approach when creating proposals required. Full info HERE (2/5)
SENIOR DIRECTOR, DATA SCIENCE >>
NBCUNIVERSAL/NYC: Lead and manage a team of Data Scientists in the development of high-impact tools for ad hoc projects and on-going operational analytic platforms, partner with business leaders across NBCUniversal to identify, build, and implement capabilities to leverage advanced data science. Advanced Degree (PhD strongly preferred) with a specialization in Statistics, Computer Science, Data Science, Economics, Mathematics, Operations Research, or other equivalent quantitative fields. Full info HERE (2/4)
SALES PLANNER >>
UPTV/NYC: Work with advertising agency contacts and other advertising sales personnel to ensure that administration aspects of accounts are in order, build, revise and maintain all sales proposals for AEs. Bachelor’s degree from a four-year college or university; at least 1+ years related cable experience preferred. Full info HERE (2/4)
MANAGER, DIGITAL MARKETING >>
A+E NETWORKS/NYC: Dynamic digital marketer to drive growth in A+E’s Digital business by acquiring OTT, mobile, and website video streamers for A&E, HISTORY and Lifetime brands. Leverage owned, earned, and paid marketing tactics. 5 years’ experience with direct response digital marketing. Full info HERE (2/4)
LEARN/UPDATE/REFINE YOUR EXCEL SKILLS >>
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MEDIA EXECUTIVE CONSULTANT >>
AROUND ROBIN PRODUCTION COMPANY/WASHINGTON, DC: Looking for a Media Executive Consultant who can connect a content creator with distribution partners. Will be tasked with consulting production company on strategy of selling content. Must have experience in sales, traditional and digital media, and distribution strategy Full info HERE (2/3)
KEY ART DESIGNER/SENIOR DESIGNER >>
SJI ASSOCIATE/REMOTE: Looking for a passionate designer, enthusiastic about working on creative and conceptual design projects. The designer will work within a team of Art Directors and Designers to create high impact key art, and streaming platform product art. Candidates should be well versed in design principles for both print and digital deliverables. 7+ years agency experience, background in entertainment design preferred. Full info HERE (2/3)
OTHER JOBS OF INTEREST
Refine systems throughout the development cycle of the project.
Senior Gameplay Engineer
Hunt Valley MD
Work with world builders in creating the environments in which missions take place.
Senior Level Designer
Hunt Valley MD
Help define the Launcher experience that addresses franchise priorities, the needs of our game teams, and external commitments.
Senior Software Engineer – Minecraft Launcher
Work closely with the Design team to take ideas for creating the ecosystem and turn them into features and services.
Work closely with the Design and Animation teams to bring ideas and new gameplay features into the game.
Works closely with Engineering Leadership to plan and write high quality performant code.
Senior Advanced Software Engineer
Work closely with the Art Director and a team of artists and level designers to assemble and detail game environments.
Senior Environment Artist
Foster City CA
Create visually appealing, realistic 3D models of natural and architectural elements based on concept art and photo reference.
Senior Environment Artist
Foster City CA
Create authentic, compelling and realistic looking characters, creatures and environments based on the target IP.
Oversee all aspects of creative development across our entire portfolio of Interactive Products and Experiences.
Art Director – Interactive Product Development
Consolidate and coordinate documentation, processes, timelines, standard methodologies, and other resources in a central global repository.
Senior Media Project Manager
San Mateo CA
Use scripting language and other tools to implement and integrate complex gameplay scenarios.
Senior Game Designer
San Diego CA
Perform data and code analysis to identify improvement opportunities.
Senior Gameplay Engineer
Santa Monica CA
With a focus on character performances, produce high-quality animations using the tools at your disposal.
Senior Cinematic Animator
Santa Monica CA
You will discuss and suggest gameplay features and work closely with our game designers to craft fun experiences for our players.
Senior Software Engineer, Mobile Games
San Francisco CA