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03/31/22: Bolt strikes WYLDE deal; LEC opens doors; Fortnite’s massive Ukraine haul


 

Medias First Morning Read
Thursday March 31, 2022

Good morning! It’s Thursday and this is your early morning Esports brief.

New esports org WYLDE announced that global sports star Usain Bolt has joined the business as co-owner, and marking his first foray into esports. Based in Dublin, Ireland, WYLDE was founded two years ago by Steve Daly, a former investment banker at JP Morgan, and David Cronin, former President & Chief Executive of the American Ireland Funds and a founding shareholder of Irish technology success story, QUMAS. As co-owner and an active member of the leadership team, Usain will be involved in a range of activities focused on elevating WYLDE’s growing brand.

“WYLDE is on a journey to becoming one of the biggest brands in the fastest growing sport in the world,” said Bolt. “In esports, like in track & field, it’s critical to have that competitive, winning mentality. I look forward to working with the WYLDE leadership team to help our players to reach their potential, while also taking care of their physical and mental wellbeing”.

COMPETITION

The League of Legends European Championship is opening the doors to live audiences once again, announcing that the LEC Spring Finals will be played in front of a live audience for the first time in two years, running at the LEC studio in Berlin. “Although local COVID regulations are easing, we are still conscious about maintaining safety as we begin to return to normal operations – and this is not a regular studio show,” the league stated. “Safety is still our number one priority, so we are taking small, incremental steps to ensure that the reintegration of our much-missed audience happens as smoothly as possible.”

On the flip side, the LPL 2022 spring playoffs will be delayed and played remotely due to rising COVID numbers in China. “Due to the current Covid situation, to protect the health and safety of our players, coaches, team personnel and staff, we have decided to postpone the original playoffs schedule until April 8th and onwards,” the league stated.

The Capcom Pro Tour is tweaking its format to blend online and offline auto-qualifying events. In addition, players will have the opportunity to qualify for Capcom Cup through World Warrior, which will finally make its bow after being delayed due to the pandemic. For the 2022 season, Capcom will operate 19 online regional premiers across 19 territories with winners automatically qualifying for Capcom Cup. The opening event of the 2022 season will be the North America West online premier from April 30-May 1.

Twitch Rivals will host the new Twitch Rivals Creator Series: ft. Fortnite Zero Build, with a total of $450,000 on the line, and play starting April 2. The invitational tournament will be played in Fortnite Zero Build. Creators in North America, Europe, and Latin America can battle for a share of a $100,000 prize pool available for each region.

On the college scene, League of Legends is growing its College League of Legends Season, now boasting over 400 schools and 16 partner conferences. Starting next year, each regional conference is being split into two divisions, with the top 32 teams playing in the upper division and the rest in the lower division. The top upper division teams will be able to advance to the College Championship but will have stricter requirements. Riot notes that Partner Conferences will continue to have their own regular seasons and playoffs, formatted to meet their unique needs.

LEARFIELD and Electronic Arts announced the debut of EA SPORTS FIFA 22 within the LevelNext collegiate esports league. The five-week competition begins April 23, when college students across the country will meet on the pitch in EA SPORTS FIFA 22, with championship competition starting May 24. More than 30 hours of live play will be streamed on the official Twitch channel for LevelNext. “We’re thrilled to add EA SPORTS FIFA 22 to our LevelNext offerings for college students across the U.S,” said Rick Barakat, executive vice president, managing director for LEARFIELD’s Media & Partnerships Group. “We launched LevelNext with EA as our cornerstone partner in 2020, and it has been incredibly well received by the player and college community alike. We appreciate the partnership with EA and look forward to incorporating EA SPORTS FIFA 22 into our school-specific and national portfolio.”

ESL, RTS (with an appearance by co-founder Pokimane), Twitch, G4 and Beyond Gaming have entered into this year’s Esports & Gaming Newfronts, hurry up and join the lineup before slots sell out! The event will be introducing hundreds of brands to upcoming sponsorship opportunities in the industry. Slots are already going to hurry and grab yours today, only a limited number are available. Click here for more info.

DreamHack is locked in to finally return with the festival set for a three-day, immersive, gaming lifestyle event in Dallas to mark the first full-scale DreamHack festival in nearly 2.5 years. DreamHack Dallas will run June 3–5, at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, offering everything gaming under one roof. Esports tournaments at DreamHack Dallas will feature Counter-Strike:Global Offensive for both Intel Extreme Masters and ESL Impact with additional competition in Fighting Game Tournaments (Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Guilty Gear -Strive- and King of Fighter XV) and more.

ONE Esports is being tapped by Electronic Arts to become Official Tournament Organizer and Lead Agency for the EACC 2022, an inter-Asian esports tournament for EA SPORTS FIFA Online 4. There will be two EACCs held in Q2 and Q3 of this year, EACC Spring 2022 and EACC Summer 2022, both featuring 12 teams across China, Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam. As part of the agreement, ONE Esports will provide full event execution and live production with players and talent for both EACCs in English, Korean, Mandarin, Thai, and Vietnamese. ONE Esports will also collaborate with EA to produce content and comprehensive coverage of the tournaments for fans.

STREAMHATCHET

Fortnite’s newest Chapter 3 season 2 was released last week, with the removal of one key feature: building. An update soon after added a Zero Build game mode, but building is still not available in the main battle royale, focusing the game more on combat than resource gathering.

While the change might not be permanent, feedback has been popular during the first week. Fortnite’s streaming numbers have been on a slow decline since the 2018-19 boom. In July of 2018, the game hit its live streaming peak at almost 53 million hours watched in one week with about 300,0000 average concurrent viewers (CCV). About 1.3 million unique channels were streaming the game at its height as well.

In the last 6 months, however, Fortnite has been averaging about 2 million hours watched a day, or 15 million hours a week. With the release of the newest chapter and Zero Build mode, the game garnered over 10 million hours watched on the first day. The next week after, it averaged 4 million hours watched each day, double the average before the release.

To learn more, continue reading on Stream Hatchet’s blog.

SPONSORSHIP & ACTIVATION

Riot Games announced Coca-Cola as a worldwide founding partner of the League of Legends: Wild Rift esports slate in a multi-year deal. The deal will feature a weekly content series in addition to a slate of rewards and experiences for Wild Rift fans. “Coca-Cola helped launch what is now the biggest esports on the planet, League of Legends Esports, so I’m thrilled that they see the future in Wild Rift Esports as well,” said Leo Faria, global head of Wild Rift Esports at Riot Games. “This partnership will span across more than 100 countries, including the eight regional leagues that serve as the foundation for our sport.”

Complexity Gaming unlocked a multi-year sponsorship agreement with Lenovo, making the company the exclusive desktop and laptop PC provider. As part of the deal, Complexity’s Frisco-based headquarters will now be named the Lenovo Legion Esports Center, and the Lenovo logo will be featured on Complexity’s official jerseys. Over the coming years, Lenovo will support Complexity’s pursuit to enhance player performance and improve the industry standard for player care. Lenovo’s technology will enable Complexity content creators and production teams to produce a diverse catalog of work, including animation and 3D content.

Cxmmunity is partnering with DoorDash to launch Creatxr Dash, a conference aimed to “provide resources and recognize the next generation of content creators from Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs).” The virtual conference concludes today on Twitch, featuring competitive games, panels, and workshops highlighting Black leaders in the esports and gaming community. “As we developed this program with DoorDash, it was incredibly important to offer these students a complete experience in terms of curriculum, community and some competition,” said Ryan Johnson, founder and executive director of Cxmmunity. “We want to connect them with leaders in our industry who can inspire them to pursue a career in the esports or video game industry and provide them with something tangible and of value to walk away with.”

ESPORTS BUSINESS SUMMIT 2022

What’s New?

Enhanced Show Floor, Welcome Reception, Attendee Lounge, Networking App, Tempest Awards, Concierge Service and more!

November 1-3rd @ the MGM, Las Vegas

REGISTER today!

PLATFORMS

All Sports Television Network will air the esports docuseries “Girl Gamers: Now Is Our Time”. The three-part series, which will begin airing the week of April 3, takes a” look into the world of gaming and its impact on female gamers throughout the globe.” “The Girl Gamers docuseries chronicles the struggles that women still have in the gaming space but also celebrates all these awesome gamers that are paving the way for future generations of women pro gamers,” said Sharon Lin of Metta.gg, a founding partner of the event. “GIRLGAMER’s existence has been pivotal to raise awareness and empower the female communities in esports.”

ESPAT Studios entered into a production line partnership with Elite Edge Productions, designed to explore, create and produce new stories and premium formats to entertain the gaming community worldwide. Elite Edge is joining ESPAT Studios Creative Collective, which currently has multiple projects in various stages of development. “In just three years, we’ve built a dedicated team that serves to entertain the global gaming community through new, inspiring and aspirational storytelling. With the addition of Elite Edge and their legendary team of creatives and industry trailblazers who do amazing work often marrying the latest technologies and memorable connections through production and storytelling, we’re excited to bring fans and culture enthusiasts a greater variety of even more amazing stories,” said Dante Simpson, Chief Executive, ESPAT TV.

Lucra Sports, a peer-to-peer sports gaming platform, landed a $10 million Series A investment led by Raptor Group, including participation from SeventySix Capital and Victress Capital. Individual investors Milwaukee Bucks owner and Avenue Capital founder Marc Lasry, professional tennis player John Isner, and NFL Pro Bowl Wide Receiver Emmanuel Sanders also participated in the funding round. Lucra Sports will launch wagering for esports leagues starting this summer.

Comscore is launching new monthly Gaming Esports Team Rankers, designed to showcase how the top esports teams are performing on social media in the U.S. and globally. According to the announcement, marketers can see the size of the teams’ audiences, number of shares, and actions across social, noting that “Knowing the exact reach and engagement of esports teams on social media can provide a significant boost to planning and improving gaming-related media.”

TEAMS

Dennis “Cloakzy” Lepore is joining GameSquare and Complexity as an official content creator in addition to becoming part-owner. As a part of Complexity, Cloakzy will host events, produce branded content, create limited-edition merchandise, and collaborate on unique experiences with Complexity Stars athletes, including former NBA star J.R. Smith and UFC fighter Sean O’Malley, and Complexity’s diverse roster of talent, including TimTheTatman and the Baka Bros. “Joining Complexity and GameSquare unlocks new opportunities for me to push the limits of what’s possible in content creation and build a deeper connection to my audience,” said Cloakzy. “I’m looking forward to working with TimTheTatman and Complexity’s diverse roster of talent in an environment that encourages creativity and supports professional development.”

Fnatic unveiled plans for its new membership program, built on blockchain technology and giving fans access to rewards & features; from annual pro kit, access to digital & physical events, exclusive content, meet and greets and limited edition collaborations. Fans will be able to access membership in three tiers: Citizen, Core and Pioneer, with each tier granting access to a different range of rewards. Citizen keys will be unlimited until 7th April, whilst Core and Pioneer keys will be limited to 2500 each. Fnatic’s global partner Crypto.com is supporting the progression of Fnatic into the Web3 space with technologies including Crypto.com Pay, Crypto.com DeFi wallet integrations and future member exclusive content drops.

Great Lakes-based gaming and esports organization Immortals is creating a new all-omen Pro Valorant team featuring a roster of players based out of the Great Lakes Region. “Immortals has found success within the Riot esports ecosystem with our professional teams in League of Legends and Wild Rift,” said Jordan Sherman, Immortals CEO. “As we looked at expansion opportunities in Valorant, there was a clear opportunity for us to further our goals for our brand, Company, and gaming in the Great Lakes Region by hiring GLR-based coaches and players, hosting various Valorant events and experiences and helping to grow the game overall, both professionally and through amateur and grassroots initiatives.”

INDUSTRY

Epic Games saw its fund-raising efforts for the people of Ukraine pay off as its pledge to donate Fortnite proceeds to humanitarian relief across a two-week period (running through April 3) has now crossed the $100 million threshold. Funds will be given to four humanitarian organizations currently working in Ukraine: the aforementioned Unicef, Direct Relief, the UN World Food Programme, and the UN Refugee Agency.

Esports bar franchise Kore Meltdown is teaming up with Hard Rock Café to bring esports-themed monthly events beginning with Atlanta, LA, Chicago and Seattle. All four locations will host ‘The Origin of Esports: The Games That Rocked the World’ themed events on April 13. The deal also will look to offer tournament broadcasts and watch parties; meet-and-greets with influencers, players and streamers; and more.

ESE Entertainment entered into a Partnership Agreement with Waveform Entertainment, an esports entertainment company with clients that include ESL Gaming, DreamHack, Ubisoft, Redbull, and more. Through the partnership, ESE and Waveform will collaborate and combine resources to execute new and increased potential business opportunities in both Europe and North America.

ROSTER MOVES

Team Liquid announced three new senior appointments: Josie Brown as Senior Vice President of Brand, Marketing and Content, Blair Herter as Global Managing Director at Liquid Media, and Jennifer Gares as Senior Director of Talent. “Team Liquid has always been at the forefront of competitive success. From the early days of Starcraft II to the dominance of our North American League of Legends roster to strong showings in new titles like Valorant, our fans are accustomed to seeing Team Liquid bring home trophies,” said Claire Hungate, President and Chief Operating Officer of Team Liquid

READYUP EVENTS OF THE WEEK
 

2022 SPORTS MEDIA AWARDS

Congratulations to All Star Honoree:

Jordan Gruber, Manager of Athlete Partnerships, Facebook

Join us on April 19th as we celebrate at the New York Athletic Club in NYC.

EARLY BIRD RATE ENDS TOMORROW!

Trivia
In The Terminator franchise of movies and games, what is the name of John Connor’s father? (Email cpursell@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
In which movie were we introduced to Litwak’s Arcade (above), home to games such as “Sugar Rush”? Answer: Wreck-It Ralph. Kudos: Rob Casalaina-ITN/NY; Matt Deprey-C-SPAN/DC; Matt Sautter-WideOrbit/Harrisburg; Danny Araque/NY; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Jason Morrow-Toyota/Houston; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Greg Dudsic/Palmdale

Cynopsis Team

Chris Pursell
@VegasandVine
Kerry Smith
Division President
Access Intelligence

Roberta Caploe
VP/Group Publisher
@robertacaploe

Executive Director of Sales
Albert Nassour
917-545-3129
Cynopsis Job Listings Sales
John Cox

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