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04/28/22: Twitch mulls change; OpTic’s win reels ’em in; eFuse & Fandom play duos


Medias First Morning Read
Thursday April 28, 2022

Good morning! It’s Thursday and this is your early morning Esports brief.
Twitch is reportedly rethinking its approach to monetizing content creation, with Bloomberg reporting Wednesday that the platform is mulling changes to how it pays top talent. The article states that the potential updates under consideration would “offer incentives for streamers to run more ads and reduce the proportion of subscription fees doled out to the site’s biggest performers.” Some changes to the monetization structure could be implemented as soon as this summer, according to the report, including scaling back the revenue cut of channel subscriptions granted to certain streamers in its partnerships program from 70% to 50%, or to create multiple tiers and set criteria for how to qualify for each one. However, Twitch may offer to release partners from exclusivity restrictions, allowing them to stream on YouTube or Facebook. However, proposed updates aren’t finalized and could be abandoned.

COMPETITION

OpTic Gaming’s ultimate victory in the VALORANT Champions Tour Masters 1 grand final in Iceland proved potent as a draw on Sunday, as over a million viewers tuned in at its peak for the championship match. Overall, the event averaged 416,236 throughout the tournament, with over 33 million hours watched.

Newly reelected French President Emmanuel Macron spoke about his desire to bring esports to the 2024 Olympic Games, stating in an interview that “we have a historic opportunity: the 2024 Olympic Games. It is up to us to take full advantage to establish a link between the two worlds’ Olympiads by hosting the world’s greatest esports events: CS:GO Majors, Worlds of League of Legends and The International of Dota 2. He noted that “Video games are an important component of French cultural soft cultural power and of our country’s image around the world.”

Toronto Ultra has been tapped to host Canada’s first-ever Call of Duty League Major tournament, running June 2-5 with players competing for $500,000 in prize money. The Toronto Ultra Major III Tournament will take place at the Mattamy Athletic Centre with all 12 league teams set to participate. “Hosting Major III is a pinnacle moment for (franchise owner) OverActive and the Toronto Ultra brand. Live esports is a spectator sport that offers a unique and entertaining in-person experience; we’ve been eagerly awaiting our chance to bring new and our existing loyal fans a largescale event of this magnitude since our launch in 2018,” said Alyson Walker, chief commercial officer of OverActive Media, according to local reports.

Blizzard Entertainment laid out plans for the upcoming Hearthstone Master Tour: Voyage To The Sunken City with players competing for a $250k prize pool starting today. More than 400 players from over 40 countries will compete for the prize pool in addition to points toward the Masters Summer Championship, June 3-5 and an invite to Grandmasters: Last Call in the Summer.

Last edition before next week’s Esports Newfronts! On May 4th, we’ll be bringing together the biggest players in these industries to present the most effective range of revenue-producing opportunities. If you are a brand looking to sponsor or a media buyer, thus event is FREE! If you are not a brand or agency but would still like to attend, you can purchase your ticket. Either way register here.

Esports tournament organizer BLAST Premier announced that it has started the host city selection process for the 2023 season, following last week’s announcement on the Spring Final returning to Lisbon’s Altice Arena in June. Running from April-August 2022, BLAST “will begin working with interested parties to find suitable host city locations and partners to deliver a number of event opportunities across their global tournament circuit in 2023.” As part of the process, BLAST will host engaging workshops on the benefits of hosting an esports event, create opportunities for behind-the-scenes experiences at BLAST Premier live events (including the Spring Final in Lisbon) and offer opportunities to meet the BLAST team in-person.

The Overwatch League revealed that the start of the 2022 season in the East is being delayed by two weeks due to a rise in COVID cases. The Eastern region’s games will now begin on May 20, but all 21 matches will still be played across two weekends instead of one. The schedule remains unchanged outside of the first few weeks, however, so there should be little disruption as of now. In the West, the league revealed that the Kickoff Clash will be held in Dallas and the Summer Showdown will take place in Toronto. This marks the first time a live OWL event will take place in Canada.

The Global Esports Federation appointed IMG as its Strategic Partner. IMG will collaborate with the GEF and its Strategic Partner for Esports Services, FACEIT, to produce the inaugural Commonwealth Esports Championships in Birmingham this August. IMG will also support and provide commercial consultancy for the second edition of the GEF’s Flagship event – the Istanbul 2022 Global Esports Games in December.

Unleashed Brands picked up youth esports organization XP League and will now serve as the parent company of the league. XP League currently hosts tournaments in Fortnite, Rocket League, and VALORANT.

Air Force Gaming rolled out plans for the Armed Forces Sports Championship featuring Halo: Infinite as part of FORCECON, a massive military gaming and tech event celebrating the intersection of gaming, technology, innovation, education and the United States Armed Forces. FORCECON will take place over Memorial Day weekend at the new Tech Port Center + Arena, and ASM Global managed facility located in San Antonio, features three live esports competitions with the Armed Forces Sports Championship on May 28.

STREAMHATCHET
Stream Hatchet has released our Q1 2022 Report. We look into the past and current state of the live video game streaming market and its relevance to the popularity of streaming platforms, game publisher IP, creators and esports.

Esports has continued to rise in popularity each year as gaming continues to break into pop culture. Compared to broader market trends, global esports audiences have been less impacted by the end of the global lockdowns: total esports hours watched decreased by just 0.3% this quarter compared to Q1 2021.

Historically, esports viewership has increased significantly from pre-pandemic levels. From Q1 2019 to Q1 2022, total esports hours watched has grown over 63%. Additionally, Twitch is the definitive place to watch esports content. Twitch accounts for 80% of the total Q1 2022 esports hours watched. It’s worth noting that eastern platforms Afreeca and NaverTV have captured significant market share relative to other leading streaming platforms, with 3% and 2% of the esports market share, respectively.

To read more and download the report, visit Stream Hatchet’s blog.

SPONSORSHIP & ACTIVATION

ESL Gaming and Nielsen announced the expansion of their business relationship for an additional three years. The agreement enables ESL Gaming to regularly report monetary valuations to brand partners and advertisers based on Nielsen’s Quality Index Media methodology. The scope of the partnership has been expanded to track more events per year and more broadcasts per platform and channel. Covering 17 events, including the ESL Pro Tour in CS:GO and ESL Gaming’s Dota 2 properties, as well as ESL Gaming’s complete mobile esports ecosystem, the collaboration focuses on four main areas: Media & Sponsor Valuation; Community & Fan Analytics; Utilizing standardized metrics; and Mobile gaming & esports.

Speaking of which, ESL Gaming and Gameloft for brands are launching an esports competition for Snapdragon Elite Gaming & Pagani Automobili in Asphalt 9: Legends, the latest game in the arcade racing franchise. iOS & Android players are now able to race their way through the Snapdragon® Pro Series esports competition for a chance to compete in the Finals. The best players from North America, Europe, the Middle East & North Africa will battle it out during the regional grand finals that begin in late May.

Beasley Esports announced new activations for the Battle for Texas on May 6 between the Houston Outlaws and Dallas Fuel. Beasley Esports partnered with Arrive Logistics, which will be sponsoring a week-long social media contest in addition to serving up a Battle After Dark afterparty, sponsored by Karviva wellness drinks, who will also host its brand ambassador, Bellator Champion and avid Overwatch fan Raufeon Stots. Additionally, Upper Deck will be in attendance to showcase their Overwatch League Game Dated Moments trading cards, highlighting key plays throughout the season.

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FANAI SNAPSHOT

With Evil Geniuses’ record victory over 100 Thieves in the LCS Spring Finals this weekend, the team’s fans had plenty to celebrate…especially if they placed a bet on the outcome! Data from YouGov Profiles shows that, despite 100T fans being more natural risk-takers, EG fans are more likely to engage with gambling – though the majority of both fans believe online gambling should be legal. – FANAI

PLATFORMS

Fandom and eFuse are teaming up for a multi-faceted partnership to boost collegiate esports opportunities for esports athletes, teams and fans. The combo will leverage Fandom’s 108 million gaming fans across 17 million pages of content within over 100,000 gaming communities with eFuse’s tournament production and eRena software infrastructure in a move to build on the existing collegiate esports framework and provide resources for Gen Z students and gamers through sponsorships and increased awareness of the leagues. The first-of-its-kind collaboration grants Fandom the exclusive advertising sales rights for eFuse’s Collegiate Events: Collegiate CoD League (CCL), College Carball Association (CCA), and upcoming activations for Collegiate Fortnite, with plans for additional titles in the future.

For the first time in the game’s history, Overwatch topped the 1 million viewer mark on Twitch, bolstered by drops allowing viewers access to the first Overwatch 2 beta period.

Esports-focused betting operator Rivalry reports that its revenue grew by 640.0% to $11.1m for 2021 with betting handle swelling to $78.2m, up 202.0% year-on-year. While losses also grew, Rivalry co-founder and CEO Steven Salz stated that “We had a tremendous year by nearly all measures in 2021. Our team delivered triple-digit growth, secured the financial resources to accelerate our momentum, continued to strengthen our originally developed product, added significant talent depth to our bench, and further solidified Rivalry as the most engaged brand in esports betting globally.”

TEAMS

Team Liquid launched The Next Wave, described as a scouting combine that seeks to finding prolific FPS players throughout North America. The initiative will feature a five episode series of the hunt, with the finale broadcast live on Twitch, focusing on amateur and professional FPS players and content creators. In turn, the winner of the competition will be handed a cash prize, a contract with Team Liquid, and a partner prize package. Coinbase signed on as a presenting partner with Aim Lab, HyperX, IMC Trading, Kingston, MIKE AND IKE and Secretlab also onboard as partners.

Cloud9 acquired the Russia-based Gambit Esports’ Counter-Strike: Global Offensive squad that just qualified for the PGL Antwerp Major under a different name – Players. The deal was a negotiation between Cloud9 and Norwegian-based Ulti Agency, which now represents the players of Players. Although it’s one of North America’s most storied esports organizations, Cloud9 has not fielded a CS:GO team since March ’21, when it let go of its squad due to logistical problems surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Heroic landed MIBR’s spot as a BLAST Premier team member following a “highly competitive bidding process,” MIBR, owned by Immortals Gaming Club, had been with BLAST Premier since its inception in February 2020 but recently opted to sell their slot.“We’re delighted to welcome on board Heroic, they’ve proven through their performances on the server over the last few years, that they belong alongside the world’s elite of Counter-Strike,” BLAST Premier managing director Charlotte Kenny said.

INDUSTRY

TwitchCon Amsterdam mapped out plans as tickets went on sale for the July 16-17 event in Amsterdam. In addition to a bevy of content creators who wil be in attendance, the event will also offer Rivals tournaments, meet and greets, panels, Artist Alley’s EU debut, as well as a musical performance and the event’s very first Drag Showcase.

READYUP WHAT TO WATCH

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