|Thursday February 9, 2023
Good morning! It’s Thursday and this is your early morning Esports brief.
Recent layoffs at esports and lifestyle organization 100 Thieves
are a symptom of larger problems within the company, according to a report from Digiday
100 Thieves has undergone two rounds of layoffs since the middle of last year, with around 30 people being laid off in the most recent round in mid-January. Between Cash App canceling its sponsorship of the 15,000-square-foot 100 Thieves Compound last year and the staff cuts, the company, founded by former Call of Duty pro Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag, has become a victim of investors and sponsors cooling on the business.
“100 Thieves was Haag’s brainchild,” Digiday’s Alexander Lee wrote, “but his leadership style was flawed, according to former staffers, who told Digiday that Haag treated some coworkers rudely, prioritized his passion projects over 100 Thieves’ money-making partnership business and failed to professionally communicate the company’s business plans.”
The story is reminiscent of multiple other creator-founded organizations, including FaZe Clan, whose ongoing financial struggles on the public market we discussed last week. Layoffs at 100 Thieves have just about scuttled the content production part of its business, according to Digiday’s sources, and its “culture of confusion and executive mismanagement” is becoming an all-too-common problem in the industry.
Peyton “Dez” Tuma became the youngest-ever Madden world champion Monday with a win over Henry “Henry” Levette in the Ultimate Madden Bowl. Dez, 17, had previously won the Ultimate Madden Thanksgiving tournament and took down the player widely regarded as the GOAT of Madden in the $1 million Madden Championship Series finale. After taking home $250,000 of that prize pool, Dez increased his career winnings to $340,000 just three years after beginning to play Madden competitively.
The League of Legends Championship Series issued an apology for a segment during last week’s broadcast highlighting past conflict between former TSM bot laner Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng and TSM CEO Andy Dinh. Doublelift, who now plays for 100 Thieves, had a public feud with Dinh in late 2021, with Doublelift alleging Dinh was abusive toward employees. Those allegations resurfaced in mid-2022, with Dinh eventually being fined by LCS organizer and League developer Riot Games and placed on a two-year probation for allegedly bullying TSM employees. The segment appeared to jokingly address the controversy as Doublelift prepared for his first matchup against TSM since returning to pro play. “We hoped the piece would highlight a key narrative of the match … in an engaging way for fans,” the LCS said. “This was a miss from us, and moving forward, the LCS will apply a sharper filter to our editorial segments.”
The NBA 2K League’s offline events will take place in Washington, D.C., this season, the league announced. The LAN portions of the 2K League schedule will be put on in partnership with Monumental Sports & Entertainment, with 2023 season matches beginning March 8 and running through Aug. 5. The season will feature a $2.5 million prize pool across tournaments and two halves of the season: a 3v3 portion and 5v5 portion.
TSM took home the first Apex Legends Global Series major title of the year with a win at the ALGS Split 1 Playoffs in London. The team brought home $300,000 of the $1 million prize pool after three days of competition, which saw the squad hover near the top of the standings throughout. TSM also became the first Apex Legends program to reach more than $1 million in earnings, according to ALGS reporter Cutnoid.
| REX/VP PRESENTS
In this week’s episode, REV/XP Senior Vice President Chris Mann is joined by Mykiah Bonhom, a senior from Shenandoah University. Mykiah is majoring in esports. Over the last year, Mykiah has dedicated his time to getting real industry experiences and provides unique insight from the key gaming demographic.
The Stream Hatchet 2022 Yearly Video Game Live Streaming Trends Report
We have dubbed 2022 “The Year of the Creator,” highlighting the rise in creator IP across live streaming platforms. While live streaming viewership has plateaued in 2022, individual creators like ibai, Ludwig, and others are driving viewership through their innovative and creative in-person and streamed events. Non-gaming live streams on Twitch were up 5.8% from 2021, indicating a potential shift in demand from viewers.
While live streaming as a whole is down 13.5%, or 4.5B hours watched from 2021, a majority of this decrease has come from Facebook Gaming’s decline last year. The platform’s viewership dropped 2.7B hours watched this year. Streamer burnout is also a factor, as the number of unique channels broadcasting content is also down about 14%. Viewership is still up 6% over 2020 numbers and 164% from 2018.
Ibai was able to break the all-time record for live streaming viewership with 3.3 million viewers during his influencer boxing event, La Velada Del Año II. In fact, 6 of the top 10 peak events in 2022 were non-gaming, creator-driven events like this one.
Additionally, female representation in live streaming seems to be on the rise. The number of female creators in the top 1,000 channels has increased 5.3% and 4.8% on YouTube Gaming and Facebook Gaming, respectively.
To get more insights, download the full report for free here.
| SPONSORSHIP & ACTIVATION
Esports organization OpTic Gaming has signed a letter of intent to help create a betting company, NextGen Wagering, according to a report from esports betting newsletter Sharpr. OpTic will partner with RedZone Digital, a consultancy that operates in the esports and wagering spaces, to pursue the venture, according to Sharpr. OpTic will spearhead the content arm of NextGen, and the business also plans to operate a sportsbook, daily fantasy competitions, match prediction software and more.
Esports betting platform Rivalry has partnered with VALORANT pro Matthew “Wardell” Yu as the organization plans to deepen its ties to the game’s esports community. VALORANT betting increased 264% year-over-year on Rivalry’s platform and was the fourth-most bet-on sport on Rivalry, according to a statement from the company, and the partnership with Wardell is designed to engage with both his audience and the broader fan base for Riot’s tactical first-person shooter. “Wardell was a perfect fit as we looked for a partner that aligned with our brand values of inspiring the next generation to win,” Rivalry marketing director Britt Doll said in a statement. “We want to build the Red Bull of the internet, and that means partnering and working with individuals who are leaders in their respective games, communities and cultures, and Wardell fits that bill.”
ESL FACEIT Group has made data and analytics platform Bayes Esports its exclusive partner for providing match data through 2025. In an expansion of a previous agreement between EFG and Bayees, this deal will give Bayes rights to all ESL Pro Tour Counter-Strike: Global Offensive competitions; the ESL Impact and FACEIT Collegiate CS:GO events; and all of ESL FACEIT Group’s Dota 2 competitions. “Over the last couple of years, we were able to establish uniform industry standards for official data together with Bayes Esports,” said Bernhard Mogk, the EFG SVP of global business development and commercial strategy. “We are excited to continue our long-term strategic partnership and to keep on innovating in the area of data-driven content solutions.”
Xbox, ESPORTSU and Paidia Gaming are partnering to launch a new collegiate women’s VALORANT circuit. The companies will work together on three North American events “designed to spotlight collegiate women gamers,” they announced Tuesday, with competition ending at the Collegiate Esports Commissioner’s Cup Texas in May at Esports Stadium Arlington. The activation will also be a springboard for The Paidia Cup, a similar women’s VALORANT program, and “Cast This,” a content series focused on identifying and mentoring new broadcast talent for esports.
|2023 Esports & Gaming Business Summit
A Marketer’s Gen Z Playbook
Join us once again in Las Vegas to connect with global business leaders for a comprehensive view of the entire esports ecosystem. Esports & Gaming Business Summit will provide unique perspectives on how to tap into the potential and leverage this enthusiastic Gen Z audience. To learn more, click the link below:
YOUGOV LIVING DATA INSIGHTS
Mercedes-Benz in top gear among LoL Worlds followers
Mercedes-Benz has been a key and a rather visible partner of League of Legends esports events since 2020. YouGov BrandIndex data shows that their activations focused around this partnership are yielding rewards.
FURIA Esports is broadening its horizons by launching FURIA Skate Club, a vertical focused on professional skateboarding and skateboarding culture in FURIA’s home country of Brazil. FURIA also announced the signing of pro skateboarder Lua Vicente, an 18-year-old competitor out of Sao Paulo, Brazil. FURIA’s activities in the space are expected to include additional player sponsorships, event organization, and community activations focused on the sport’s culture.
OG Esports CEO JMR Luna is stepping down from his post, the organization announced Saturday. Luna, who had worked as CEO for the European esports org since May 2020, made the decision ??“after many months of discussions and considerations from all parties,” according to OG. “We achieved a lot of growth and great objectives during the last 2.5+ years,” Luna said in a statement on Twitter, “and together we wrote another great chapter of this organization.”
Turkish VALORANT Game Changers player Gizem “Luie” Harmankaya died in the aftermath of earthquakes in the country on Monday that have killed more than 11,000 people as of Wednesday. Harmankaya, who played for Unknown Pros, was reportedly trapped beneath rubble from the 7.8 magnitude quake. Her team confirmed her death on social media Wednesday.
Retired Call of Duty world champion Ian “Crimsix” Porter is shifting to a very different game as a member of FaZe Clan. Crimsix, who has won three Call of Duty world titles and is widely considered one of, if not the, most successful CoD pros of all time, will compete for FaZe as a sim racer in ESL’s upcoming R1 racing league put on by Rennsport. Crimsix will get his first taste of pro sim racing competition soon, too, with an event coming up this weekend. Whether first-person shooter skills translate to racing prowess is debatable, but we’ll find out soon enough.
Tournament organizer Nerd Street Gamers is looking for funding amid financial struggles, according to a report from The Esports Advocate. The story follows previous reporting from TEA that Nerd Street had cut 25% of its staff and social media controversy where several players spoke up about Nerd Street not issuing payments for VALORANT tournaments it operated as Riot Games-sanctioned events. Nerd Street is looking for additional investors or acquisition, according to TEA’s James Fudge.
Activision-Blizzard will pay the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission $35 million to settle a dispute about its alleged violation of whistleblower laws and improper handling of workplace misconduct allegations. According to the SEC, Activision-Blizzard was “lacking controls and procedures among its separate business units designed to collect or analyze employee complaints of workplace misconduct. As a result, complaints related to workplace misconduct were not collected and analyzed for disclosure purposes.” In settling, Activision-Blizzard was able to avoid confirming or denying these allegations. “As the order recognizes, we have enhanced our disclosure processes with regard to workplace reporting and updated our separation contract language,” the company said in a statement to Ars Technica. “We did so as part of our continuing commitment to operational excellence and transparency. Activision Blizzard is confident in its workplace disclosures.”
Meanwhile, Microsoft, which is looking to purchase ATVI, is facing another challenge from a U.K. regulator. The country’s Competitions and Markets Authority revealed initial findings of an investigation Wednesday that indicated Microsoft’s nearly $69 billion acquisition could “reduce competition in gaming consoles to the detriment of gamers.” The primary issue in the provisional investigation was the Call of Duty franchise and the effect of it potentially becoming exclusive to Microsoft and Xbox. The latest scrutiny is part of ongoing review of the deal worldwide and its ramifications on the games industry, and it likely won’t stop anytime soon as more national agencies consider effects on consumers of a watershed moment in the industry.
The Copper Box Arena looks like it will be an esports hub in 2023 as, following the Apex Legends Global Series Split 1 Playoffs at Copper Box last weekend, Riot Games announced it will host its Mid-Season Invitational at the venue The international tournament is Riot’s second-biggest League of Legends event of the year and will take over the 7,500-seat arena for three weeks from May 2-21. Copper Box is the third-largest arena in London, and the city itself is quickly becoming a hub for international tournaments across multiple esports this year as well, with two more ALGS playoffs ahead and multiple other activations across leagues.
|2023 Esports & Gaming Business Summit
Join us November 1-3, 2023!
Esports & Gaming Business Summit is the business intersection for all sectors of the esports ecosystem. To find out why you should attend this year’s program and to see highlights from our 2022 event, visit the link below:
With the Super Bowl ahead, it’s time for a gaming-related football question. 1987 release Tecmo Bowl was one of the first NFL-focused games, and one player rose above the rest in the game in terms of skill. Which running back is notorious for being unstoppable in Tecmo Bowl?
Answer to Our Last Trivia Question
Speaking of the Xbox Developer Direct, the publisher announced a surprise release that has become a smash hit during that event. What game did Xbox both announce and release during the Developer Direct on Jan. 25? Answer: Hi-Fi Rush Kudos: Amanda Brooks | Stream Hatchet, Burlington, Vermont; David Westberg | SAG•AFTRA Federal Credit Union, Burbank, California; Tom Moore | Kalt Productions, Los Angeles
|MOTION GRAPHIC DESIGNER >>
LONG STORY SHORT MEDIA/WASHINGTON, DC: Bring creative concepts to life through design and animation. Motion Designer will work in a team environment to share fresh design perspectives and create engaging high-quality content for a variety of subjects and media. Full Info HERE
SALES MANAGER >>
NEXSTAR MEDIA GROUP/INDIANAPOLIS: Provides leadership for the broadcast/digital sales teams. Makes decisions regarding hiring, evaluation, promotion and operation of account executives and sales assistants. Develops and executes sales strategies that exceeds revenue targets in local, new business and digital revenue. Min 5 yrs of media sales exp; management exp. preferred. Full info HERE
VICE PRESIDENT BUSINESS AFFAIRS >>
HEARST MEDIA PRODUCTION GROUP/CHARLOTTE, NC: Focus on FCC compliance, brand integrity for all current series and day-to-day business affairs for development and production. Strategize with management and outside counsel on business issues, and draft, review and execute various short-form business documents. Legal background and/or related experience is preferred. Full info HERE
SENIOR MANAGER, ACQUISITION AND OUTREACH >>
TELEVISION ACADEMY/LOS ANGELES, Hybrid: Develop, build, and execute member acquisition plans (monthly, quarterly, and annual) with measurable targets, optimize program performance and deliver strategic plans to achieve/exceed specific campaign KPIs. Identify and implement A/B tests & tactics, innovating & continually seeking to drive and improve. Min 4 yrs’ exp. in an acquisition role. Full info HERE
VICE PRESIDENT, MARKETING & ON-AIR PROMOTION >>
REELZ/ALBUQUERQUE, NM: Develop strategic approaches and tactical planning for on-air promotion, guiding the creative process from creation through post-production, and managing the execution of consumer marketing programs for on-air promotion and off-air advertising. Responsible for full on-air presentation and format management. Min of 8-10 yrs exp. Full info HERE
ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE – AD SALES >>
GREAT AMERICAN MEDIA
NYC, Hybrid, Remote
Strategically sells linear & digital properties to drive Ad Sales revenue. Works with agencies & clients to develop unique advertising solutions for their brands. Requires 3+ years of sales experience with established agency & client relationships. Seeking a motivated, self-starter with strong negotiation, communication & presentation skills. Full info HERE
SALES ASSISTANT – AD SALES >>
GREAT AMERICAN MEDIA
NYC, Hybrid, Remote
Provides workflow support to ensure effective campaign delivery for advertisers. Verifies order and schedule accuracy and entry. Monitors accounts while booking and maintaining inventory. Works closely with Account Executives and Sales Planners. Seeking a motivated, self-starter with strong communication, analytical & problem-solving skills. Full info HERE
PARTNERSHIPS MARKETING SPECIALIST >>
HEARST MEDIA PRODUCTION GROUP/CHARLOTTE, NC: Manage development of revenue-generating partnership solutions. Responsible for developing multi-platform media sales materials and partnership proposals for prospective partners including brands, non-profits, and high-net-worth individuals. Create and update sales materials. 5+ years of relevant marketing experience required. Full info HERE
MANAGER, COMMERCIAL OPERATIONS
CHICAGO, NYC, Hybrid, Remote
Supervise & train copy coordinators & log editors for accuracy & attention to detail of building a commercial log & reading agency instructions. Monitor employee performance & output; provide back-up for all desks including log editing, added value insertion & continued communication with marketing for all custom creations. Min of 3 yrs of exp. Full info HERE
TRAFFIC MANAGER >>
WHYY/Hybrid, PHILADELPHIA: Create monthly programming grids for 12.1 and 12.3. Update programming grids when schedule changes are made. Prepare daily logs & submit to Centralcast Joint Master Control. Work w/WHYY Traffic Specialist who creates programming grids for 12.2 and logs for 12.2 and 12.3. 3-5 yrs of management exp. & working with data or traffic systems. Full info HERE
LOCAL MULTIMEDIA SALES MANAGER >>
WALA FOX 10 TV/MOBILE AL: Build a steady stream of new business, constantly recruit to grow the sales team, developing client solutions with account executives using digital and television products. Generating a weekly forecast of revenue, regularly attend sales calls with account executives. Skilled negotiator and problem solver. Proven history of developing new business. Full info HERE
Remote, must be licensed in NY or CA
Negotiating and drafting development deals, shopping agreements, amendments, talent deals, above-the-line contracts, PSAs, production release templates, trade-out agreements, specialty releases and other necessary documents. Shaping corporate and production legal policies. 5-10 yrs of entertainment legal exp. working with a law firm or production. Full info HERE
INTEGRATED SALES MARKETING MANAGER
TODAY’S HOMEOWNER MEDIA
Manages pre-sale process in partnership with senior sales team to drive multi-platform revenue growth with advertisers. Sales mktg exp, 3+ yrs. Home improvement, & tv exp a plus. Digital experience a must. Full info HERE
STANDARDS AND PRACTICES SPECIALIST >>
HEARST MEDIA PRODUCTION GROUP/CHARLOTTE, NC: Provide S&P notes on unscripted Educational/Informational series in development, production, and post, ensuring all content adheres to FCC regulations, HMPG’s internal standards, and network mandates. Contribute to bringing HMPG’s diverse slate of family-friendly series and positive programming to millions of viewers each week. Full info HERE
SR. DIRECTOR, CONSUMER MARKETING
SILVER SPRING, Hybrid, Remote
Lead the Consumer Marketing media, promotion and marketing campaigns by prioritizing shows & campaigns across the brand, and support for each of those priorities. Work with internal research and marketing analytics team to gather and organize past performance and insights, construct goals and objectives, and develop target definitions. 7+ yrs exp. Full info HERE
Drive transformative change within the codebase which you are focused on.
Principal Backend Engineer
Develop, test and deploy customizations to support evolving business needs.
Senior Netsuite Engineer
Provide day-to-day technical guidance on tool and pipeline initiatives, including code and design document reviews.
Senior Technical Artist, Pipeline Tools & Tech
Iterate, polish and balance game play systems and mechanics.
Mid Level Technical Designer
Work closely with the Character Art team to ensure all assets are delivered in a format that is suitable for rigging and animation.
Work with a range of project types, developers, platforms, budgets and timelines.
We are looking for a compliance specialist to work across all of our games and with our awesome indie partners and internal studios.
CQA Lead Compliance Analyst
Manage the creation of various brand and style guidelines.
Manager, Graphic Design Art Director
Analyzes business environments, gathers business requirements, and creates data visualizations in support of product.
Senior BI Technical Analyst
Mentors and advises project-assigned DDs/PMs on tactics surrounding managing the schedule.
Senior Development Director
Develop workflows and pipelines to support the efficient creation of textures and material instances by the content team
Senior Shader & Materials Technical Artist
San Mateo CA
Create and maintain data pipelines and foundational datasets to support analytics, modeling, experimentation, and product/business needs.
Senior Data Engineer
San Francisco CA
Build and deploy ML systems to prevent abuse, spam, and other forms of malicious behavior.
Senior Software Engineer – Safety Machine Learning
San Francisco CA
Develop creative briefs, consult with Creative Strategist, and present creative concepts to brand marketing and executive stakeholders.
Principal Graphic Designer
San Francisco CA
The Director of Product is responsible for product vision, team development, product culture, roadmap, OKRs, and execution.
Director, Product Management
Los Angeles CA