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05/26/22: Oakley’s new OpTics; International’s big week; PGL sets record


Medias First Morning Read
Thursday May 26, 2022

Good morning! It’s Thursday and this is your early morning Esports brief. Note: Cynopsis Esports will be dark next week and return on June 9.
After testing the waters of esports via a deal with Scump, Oakley is now going deeper, locking in its first-ever sponsorship with an esports organization in Envy Gaming. With the deal, Oakley will now become a jersey sponsor for Envy Gaming’s OpTic Halo and OpTic Valorant teams, as well as OpTic Texas from the Call of Duty League. The brand will also supply Envy Gaming with Oakley Authentic Prescription glasses specifically designed for adult gamers and become the exclusive eyewear partner for the OpTic’s professional esports players during all competitive matches and streams, per Adweek.

“The world of esports is continuing to grow and It’s key that we continue to level up our commitment to the world of gaming,” said Corey Hill, Head of Global Sports Marketing at Oakley, in the announcement. “New athletes are showing up in the scene every day and we pride ourselves in making sure we provide advanced eyewear for gamers of every level. Teaming up with a partner like Envy Gaming allows Oakley to reach talent and build on our offerings in the space.”

COMPETITION

Dota 2’s annual tournament, The International, locked in Singapore to play host to its annual blitz this October. The announcement marks the first time the global esports competition will take place in Southeast Asia. Last’s year’s winning team took home over $18 million of the $40 million prize pool.

Speaking of which, last year’s edition of The International saw Valve win an Emmy at the 43rd Sports Emmy Awards for its production of the grand finals of TI10. Other contenders included League of Legends Worlds 2021 Final; the Overwatch League 2021 Grand Finals; Ultimate Madden Bowl Finale; and WePlay AniMajor.

Meanwhile, Riot Games announced that the 2022 LCS Summer Split will kick off starting June 17. The first week of the season will be a “super week,” with each of the teams in the league playing three games across the first three days of the season. The Summer Split will mark the first time regular season games will host fans in the audience at the LCS studio since 2020.

The 2022 Gran Turismo World Series returns tomorrow with the first rounds of the Online Season 1. The best of the racers from the first online season will be invited to compete in a three-day World Series Showdown in July against the cream of the 2021 championship at the Red Bull Hangar 7 in Salzburg Austria. The World Series then continues online with Season 2, with the fastest racers invited to challenge the established stars at the World Finals, which return to Sporting Monte Carlo, which hosted the 2018 and 2019 World Finals events.

DreamHack is going for another round of the all-digital, at-home, interactive experience DreamHack Beyond beginning May 27, continuing through June 2. The week-long online celebration of gaming will feature tournaments, contests, streams and challenges to complete. “DreamHack Beyond continues to be part of evolving DreamHack into a year-round gaming lifestyle brand for the community,” said Shahin Zarrabi, VP of Strategy & Growth at DreamHack. “The goal for all of us at DreamHack is to provide great experiences for our fans, which have traditionally thrived by bringing communities together for these shared and beloved DreamHack festivals all around the globe. This is a week where we will celebrate gaming and the gaming community with activities and tournaments for everyone, every day of the week.”

DreamHack also revealed additional content featured for its DreamHack Summer festival in Jönköping, Sweden, on June 18-21, including all live-music acts, the lineup of games included in the 2.1 million SEK LAN tournaments, details around the all-new Creators Hub, as well as additional esports. DreamHack Summer will feature the DreamHack Cosplay Championship on June 20, including the categories Best Craftsmanship, Best Performance, and Best Cosplay.

Completing our DreamHack trifecta, DreamHack Dallas, the three-day, immersive gaming lifestyle festival, rolled out more of its schedule, including live music concerts, Fortnite, panels, teams competing in the Collegiate Rocket League World Championship, and more. Three acts will be taking the main stage to provide live music concerts during DreamHack Dallas including Motionless in White, Jonathan Young with special guest Caleb Hyles and CMD81.

Esports tournament organizer PGL says its recent CSGO Antwerp Major 2022 drew over 20.000 fans who attended the final day of the competition, making it the largest indoor esport event ever. With over 68 million hours watched, the competition became the second biggest Counter-Strike tournament, only eclipsed by the PGL Stockholm Major. “We are delighted to see that all of our hard work has paid off, which has led us to have hosted the two most-watched Counter-Strike tournaments to date”, said founder and CEO of PGL, Silvu Stroie.

ESL Gaming laid out details about the Intel Extreme Masters Rio CS:GO Major Championship, the first-ever Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major to take place in Brazil. The competition is set to take place Oct. 31-Nov. 13, 24 of the world’s best CS:GO teams will face off for their share of $1 million. “We couldn’t be more excited to finally bring the Major to Rio de Janeiro,” said Ulrich Schulze, SVP Product Management at ESL Gaming. “The ever-growing and passionate Brazilian esports community is amazing and for the past couple of years we have been hoping to provide the fans with one of the greatest esports experiences ever. Now the time is finally here and we can’t wait for the world’s best CS:GO teams to ultimately enter the Jeunesse Arena and have it shake to its foundations from the excitement from Brazil and beyond.

Ubisoft is opening the doors to its new tournament licensing platform. The initiative is available directly on the Rainbow Six Esports website with an eye toward streamlining the process to grant licenses to organize Rainbow Six Siege tournaments “faster than ever before.”

The Overwatch League hits Texas for the Dallas Fuel Kickoff Clash on June 2-5 at Esports Stadium Arlington. Eight teams from the West region, which spans North America and includes the hometown favorites the Dallas Fuel, will qualify to compete at the tournament for a prize pool of $225,000. Texas-based on-demand delivery service Favor signed on as presenting sponsor of the event, with Jack Link’s and Aim Lab also sponsoring.

Multiple FIFAe esports championships are coming together with three key tournaments coming to Copenhagen, for the single largest event ever hosted in FIFAe history this July. Events will include the FIFAe World Cup 2022 from July 14-17; FIFAe Club World Cup 2022 from July 20-23 and the FIFAe Nations Cup 2022 from July 27-30.

SNK CORPORATION announced the official KOF XV ICFC Weekly will kick off today. The series is an official online tournament for KOF XV, jointly organized by SNK and ten/o LLC. The online tournament will be held every Thursday in three regions: Asia, North America, and Europe.

Belong Gaming Arenas and eFuse are partnering to host the 2022 College Call of Duty national championship at Belong Gaming Arenas in Columbus on June 11-12. “Collegiate competition is a fast-growing segment and an important area for Belong Gaming Arenas as we look to bring elite esports experiences to local neighborhoods across the country,” said Wim Stocks, SVP of Partnerships & Commercial, Belong Gaming Arenas. “We’re thrilled to support the CCL 2022 National Championship and play a role in the continued growth of collegiate esports.”

STREAMHATCHET
The PGL Major Antwerp CS:GO tournament ended last weekend and racked up some incredible stats on live streaming platforms. Gaules, the popular Brazilian streamer, co-streamed the entirety of the tournament on Twitch, and broke some of his own viewership records.
· The PGL tournament as a whole on live streaming saw about 60 million hours watched. On Gaules’ channel alone, fans watched 18 million hours over the 2-week tournament, or a third of the total hours watched. The official PGL Twitch channel had 14.3 million hours watched, or about 3.7 million hours fewer than Gaules.
· Red Bull, a major sponsor in the esports industry, was one of the top brands seen on screen during the PGL Major this month. During the course of the tournament, the Red Bull logo got 589 brand exposures on Gaules’s channel during his co-stream. That equates to 39.2 million impressions.
· Many of these impressions came from the Red Bull logo on team Furia’s jerseys. On May 17th, Gaules streamed the G2 vs. Furia match, which was his third most-watched segment over the whole tournament. That match alone generated 1 million hours watched, and at the height of the match, 419k concurrent viewers were watching.
Read more on Stream Hatchet’s blog.

SPONSORSHIP & ACTIVATION

FACEIT announced the launch of the Gucci Gaming Academy, a new initiative with the Gucci brand designed to support the development of up-and-coming gaming talent and help accelerate their career path. Launching with CS:GO, four “promising” players were selected from FPL to take part. Players will receive full-time mentorship from coaches, mental health support, hardware and access to other programs which help enhance in-game performance and well-being. Also representing the platform are ambassadors, commentator James Bardolph, pro CS:GO legend Christopher “GeT_RiGhT” Alesund and Stephanie “missharvey” Harvey. “Gucci is at the forefront of the luxury industry’s foray into the world of gaming and as part of our mission to build meaningful relationships with communities in a genuinely authentic way, we are dedicated to supporting the up-and-coming generations of players to help manage the challenges they may face as a result of participating in esports,” said Nicolas Oudinot, EVP New Business and Gucci VAULT CEO. “Understanding the issues that are relevant to them and learning about these from the people they affect are at the core of this collaboration.”

Gen.G locked in a partnership with password manager brand, 1Password. The accord will see the pair launch ‘Quest for the Lost Console’, a series of seven web-based puzzles designed to educate consumers about online security. The first two puzzles are now available, with the remaining four puzzles to follow over the next two weeks. Each escape-room-style puzzle will be tied to a Gen.G content creator or friend of Gen.G and includes streamers such as PeterPark, BeccaTilts, Stanz, and NickiTaylor.

Psyonix and Nissan announced the launch of the Nissan Z Performance Bundle available in Rocket League on all platforms from May 26-June 7. As part of its broader gaming strategy, Nissan is also sponsoring a variety of Rocket League Esports events including the upcoming Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS) North American Regional event, dubbed “the Nissan Classic,” from May 27-29. Nissan is also the presenting sponsor for both the Collegiate Rocket League (CRL) World Championship, beginning June 3, and the upcoming Fall 2022 CRL Season.

MEASUREMENT & DATA CONFERENCE

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IT’S ALIVE: YouGov Living Data Insights
Looking sharp — Gucci among esports fans

Luxury fashion brand Gucci has entered a partnership with esports organiser FACEIT to launch the Gucci Gaming Academy. YouGov BrandIndex data shows that Gucci already enjoys favor among esports followers.

PLATFORMS

Overwatch League is lining up select match days this season that will feature community co-streaming, moving forward with the pilot program for “a new way of engaging with the Overwatch League and allows creators to bring awesome match action to their communities.” The next co-streaming days will take place during the Kickoff Clash Tournament with broadcasts from June 2-5.

Speaking of Overwatch League, the Dallas Fuel tapped the services of Digital Seat Media for the team’s upcoming event at the Arlington eSports Arena from June 2-5. By scanning a uniquely encoded QR code, fans can access the Digital Seat platform, enabling fans to engage in real-time with the event taking place. Digital Seat also offers a digital version of its tags designed for on-air broadcast, OTT programming, event credentials, and more.

EBET unveiled an agreement signed by its subsidiary Esports Marketing Technologies with loyalty and engagement platform Captain Up. The deal sees Captain Up provide in-play challenges, achievements, and a rewards shop for EBET brands. Advanced gamification will be incorporated into loyalty programs across EBET brands, including custom free-to-play games being developed by Incentive Games.

TEAMS

FaZe Clan announced a year-long apparel collaboration with Disney that will run throughout the rest of this year. As part of the special collaboration, FaZe will introduce Mickey Mouse as a newly tech-vamped “Mickey On The Grid.” The first Disney capsule collection from FaZe Clan will be available in-store on May 28 at The Armory and online on May 30 at FaZe’s newly launched web store powered by Shopify FaZe Shop. The “Mickey On The Grid” collection, which includes tees, sweatshirts and hats, was designed by FaZe Clan lead designer James Casper Vine and Creative Director Jay ‘JVY’ Richardson.

FaZe Clan is also continuing its music push as FaZe Kaysan releases his second single “MVP” featuring Sheck Wes & Fivio Foreign. The track, available via FaZe Clan/UnitedMasters, was co-produced with WondaGurl. The release of “MVP” is the follow up to Kaysan’s debut single “Made A Way” which gained over 21 million streams within its first three months.

NYXL and SPORTFIVE are partnering up, with SPORTFIVE serving as the exclusive worldwide commercial sales agency for NYXL and supporting the commercial development of the recently rebranded NYXL’s esports and gaming initiatives. “NYXL is both a proven esports entity and a forward-thinking lifestyle property, committed to reaching the casual gaming community here in the New York metropolitan area,” said Ryan Polun, Head of Esports and Gaming, Americas for SPORTFIVE. “We are excited for the opportunity to help cement the company as a top lifestyle and entertainment brand.”

INDUSTRY

Call of Duty’s next entry in the franchise, Modern Warfare II, will be released on Oct. 28. Activision Blizzard released a teaser video that showcases artwork for some of the characters who’ll be featured: John “Soap” MacTavish, Simon “Ghost” Riley, Captain John Price, Kyle “Gaz” Garrick and Alejandro Vargas.

Multiple reports this week that Electronic Arts was in discussions for a potential buyer or merger opportunity. Among the companies said to be in the mix are Apple, Amazon and Disney, while talks with NBCUniversal were reported to be in the most advanced stage before disagreements halted talks.

Activision Blizzard has its first union, with a group of employees from company subsidiary Raven Software voting to launch the Game Workers Alliance. In the vote, the final tally ended up being 19 in favor, with three against.

Esports entertainment company BLAST and Dansk Industri are aligning to support the long-term development of esports and establish a “unified voice” for the industry in Denmark. The duo will work together to help shape and support a framework to develop and further cement the country’s status as in esports. Maria Krüger Torp, Head of DI Tourism and Attractions, said: It is an absolute pleasure to be a part of BLAST’s impressive journey, step-by-step intensifying the way that esport presents itself live. Denmark has achieved a unique position within esports, built with an incredible effort by enthusiasts and entrepreneurs. Now it is time to take it to the next level with unconditional support from the business community and the political decision-makers. The potential is massive.”

New esports company Valhallan awarded 13 franchise locations in its first month of franchising across markets in North Carolina, South Carolina and territories along the East Coast, with the first openings slated for the fourth quarter of 2022. The brand will look to offer “state-of-the-art esports arenas for young players, who get the opportunity to be part of a team and community while taking their gaming skills to the next level” while offering an esports training program, “the Legendary Path,” that takes players on a nine-level, 18-month customizable journey that “develops gaming mastery and life skills like leadership, teamwork, sportsmanship, and community engagement.”

ROSTER MOVES

FaZe Clan appointed Zach Katz as President and Chief Operating Officer. Katz, who has over 20 years of experience in the music content and talent business, will oversee FaZe Clan’s content, talent, merchandise, consumer goods, sponsorships and esports businesses. “FaZe Clan sits at the intersection of gaming, creator economy and culture, all of which we believe is leading the growth of Web3,” says Lee Trink, CEO of FaZe Clan. “We are squarely focused on building the future and by adding Zach to our team, we are gaining a proven leader who has extensive experience in working with innovative, cultural brands. Through my long-standing relationship with Zach, I trust that he will help catapult our company into the next phase of growth, and bring operational excellence to FaZe as we become a public company.”

Enthusiast Gaming is pushing back after its largest shareholder – Greywood Investments – called for massive changes at the top. The company issued a release claiming that Greywood was serving as “an investment vehicle that lacks transparency and seeks to take full control of Enthusiast Gaming’s Board without paying shareholders a control premium,” while noting the positive movement of its Q1 2022 revenue of $47.2 million, up 57% year-over-year. Greywood meanwhile, publicly urged CEO Adrian Montgomery to step down in addition to offering a list of names it recommended to join Enthusiast’s board at the company’s next annual meeting of shareholders, noting losses and declines in share value

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On to the 80s. This famed game, pictured below, featured opponents such as Piston Hurricane and Bald Bull, and even included an appearance by referee Mario. What is the name of that game? (Email cpursell@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
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