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05/28/20: Ninja announced plans to host Ninja Battles Featuring Fortnite



Medias First Morning Read

Thursday May 28, 2020

Good morning! This is your weekly Esports Brief.
Brand Ninja continues to explore new boundaries with the news that Tyler “Ninja” Blevins will host Ninja Battles Featuring Fortnite, serving as a live competitive series featuring 60 of the world’s top Fortnite players and gaming personalities competing for a share of a $400,000 prize pool. The series kicks off today at www.mixer.com/Ninja with six online tournaments through July. Casters BallaTW and MonsterDface will offer live commentary for each competition. New episodes will run Thursdays at 3p.

COMPETITION
EA unlocked plans for the Apex Legends Summer Circuit, a four-month series that will pit regional leaders in different global regions as they compete for a spot in the September playoffs and a $500,000 prize pool. The first Super Regional takes place June 21, with playoffs slates for Sept. 12-13. Super Regional groupings will include EMEA, Americas, APAC South and APAC North.

Ubisoft continued to unveil changes to its Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege’s esports programs. This time, the publisher detailed its vision for the Asia-Pacific region, with action kicking off on June 23 with the first playday of the new Asia-Pacific League. The North division will consist of teams from Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore. According to the announcements, each regional league “ties into a coherent global program, one unique race towards a qualification for the Six Invitational.” Each competitive Season runs for nearly a year, from March through the following February. Each Season will be divided into 4 quarters.

The BLAST Premier Spring Showdown schedule has been released in both Europe as well as in the Americas, with both tournaments running June 1-7. The action begins on Monday with Vitality/ENCE.

Twitch, Riot, ESL, TSM, Cloud9, Battlefy, WorldGaming/CSL, Houston Outlaws, and more! If you represent a brand looking to activate in the esports sector, the Esports Upfront on June 11 is a MUST attend to learn not only about the unannounced opportunities for partnerships from platforms to international leagues and everything in-between, but also to learn about activation trends in this space and best practices from global brands who have been there. Just announced: Chris Puckett will host this year’s presentation. Attendance is free for brands and their agencies with this year’s presentations being offered virtually. To request an invite, click here.

Blizzard officially pulled the plug on this year’s BlizzCon due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the announcement, Blizzard stated that it still wants to “channel the BlizzCon spirit and connect” with fans online and that, because of “different factors involved,” any BlizzCon online alternative “will most likely be sometime early next year” in 2021. No word yet on when its annual esports events will take place.

Meanwhile, Riot’s LEC announced that due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the league will cancel its plans to host the Summer Finals in Malmö, Sweden and will shift production of the regular show back into the LEC Studio in Berlin starting in Week 1. Operations will feature a skeleton production crew adhering to updated health and safety precautions as determined by local regulations, and teams will continue to play remotely from their training facilities.

ONE Esports is partnering up with IO Esports to launch the $100,000 SEA Dota 2 League, running online from June 18-July 19. Ten teams from Southeast Asia will compete in regional play with qualifiers open to any team that has a minimum of three player residents from: Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste, or Vietnam.

The National Association of Collegiate Esports and the North American League of Legends Championship Series Players Association are teaming up to create a “new educational opportunity by forging a link between NACE colleges and universities and professional esports players.” NALCSPA players interested in pursuing higher education during and after their careers in professional esports will have direct access to recruitment information from NACE schools looking to add to their esports programs.

STREAM HATCHET TRENDS
One of the many premier esports properties in EMEA is the League of Legends European Championship (LEC). Over the past three years, Riot Games has worked to rebrand the property and build it into an independent league from its North American counterpart including a new brand identity. This week, Stream Hatchet investigates audience growth related to the LEC:
· From 2018 to 2020, LEC Viewers have watched 46% more hours of esports content: While the ’18 – ’19 increase was greater than the ’19 – ’20, Riot Games has experienced a significant increase in watch time across the two year period.
For more insights on esports viewership, visit us online at: www.StreamHatchet.com

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ACTIVATION
Doritos is launching “Doritos Disruptor Series,” powered by Twitch Rivals, to boost dreams of Twitch success for streamers, experience and give the everyday gamer the chance to elevate to streaming superiority. The multi-event competition opens with a new tournament format, where each event is hosted and streamed by high-profile Twitch talent. For the first time in this capacity, fans will have the opportunity to “join their favorite gamer’s own stream and showcase why they have what it takes to be Twitch royalty.” The Doritos Disruptor Series will partner with five high-profile established streamers to create 10 unique events through 2020. Each high-profile streamer will host two events, and fans can expect to see multiple titles, crossing gaming genres. The first tournament, hosted by TeePee, takes place today at 4p.

Riot Games unveiled customizable Summoner’s Rift Arena Banners that will appear within official League of Legends esports broadcasts. Summoner’s Rift Arena Banners are able to incorporate unique and modular branding within the in-game map during competitive matches. Starting with the 2020 Summer Split and continuing through the World Championship, regional competitive leagues will begin to utilize Arena Banners to provide additional value to select brand partners. Currently more than 50 unique brand partners support regional leagues and international events.

Fandom announced a partnership with America’s Navy to present the Fandom Warzone Pro-Am on Sunday at 4:30p. The tournament will be produced by eFuse and Mainline, with play featured on Fandom’s Twitch channel. In recognition of National Military Appreciation Month, this tournament will include players from the Navy’s Goats & Glory team and provide gaming fans an opportunity to play alongside some of their favorite athletes, celebrities and streamers. The event will feature sixteen professional athletes and celebrities, two Navy Goats & Glory team members, eight (8) top streamers, and six fans.

The Call of Duty League is teaming up with TeamSpeak for a three-year deal to serve as the league’s official broadcast communications partner with TeamSpeak integrated into all in-game communications for the CDL through at least 2023. “TeamSpeak offers best-in-class broadcast communications capabilities that we rely on to empower and optimize our teams and players,” said Jack Harari, VP of global partnership development at Activision Blizzard Esports. “We have an obvious advantage entrusting TeamSpeak to provide this critical part of our operations in highly competitive environments where seamless voice communications are critical to successful broadcasts of live competition.”

The ROKiT Group extended its agreement with Torque Esports/Engine Media to serve as the presenting partners for The Race All-Star Series – Torque’s international esports racing championship. After an initial six-week agreement that showcased ROKiT brands including ROKiT Phones, ABK Beer, Bandero Tequila and Bogart’s Spirits via the esports series, ROKiT will back the series through to 2021.

LG Electronics UK launched its esports and gaming-dedicated channel “LG Gaming” in collaboration with Kairos Esports. The channel will serve the esports and gaming communities “with specifically tailored content and services” and feature unique visual elements showcasing a selection of LG Electronics hardware and focus on delivering gaming content exclusively.

Samsung announced its official partnership with global esports organization, T1 Entertainment & Sports. All teams and players located at T1 headquarters in Seoul use Samsung’s latest curved gaming monitors, the Odyssey G9 and G7. The partnership will include a series of events that bring together Samsung and the world-famous T1 League of Legends team.

Comcast Business is partnering with Nerd Street Gamers to provide “high-performance connectivity and bandwidth for the esports company’s tournaments and Localhost facilities. “When you are building an esports platform at the scale we envision, anything less than a super-fast, highly reliable network is inadequate,” said Rob Johnson, Chief Operating Officer, Nerd Street Gamers. “Comcast Business gives us access to reliable connectivity during even the most intense competitions. We’re able to create a competitive environment that puts every player on the same footing.”

PUBG Mobile Pro League South Asia signed on Mountain Dew as part of its relaunch efforts with play slated to resume today following a suspension of play. The deal sees Mountain Dew serve as a “platinum sponsor” of the league, with the Mountain Dew logo prominently featuring on newly-released PMPL South Asia branding.

PLATFORMS
Twitch locked in three top streamers to exclusive multi-year deals with Jaryd “Summit1G” Lazar, Brett “Dakotaz” Hoffman, and Josh “JoshOG” Beaver. Michael Aragon, SVP of Content at Twitch, stated to media that, “At a time when community is paramount, these Creators are a core part of Twitch’s mission to bring people together, and we’re excited to continue our partnership as we build the future of gaming and live entertainment.”

Charity stream platform Softgiving and Method cemented a one-year partnership. The two organizations will focus on creating monthly charity streaming events for select non-profit organizations and look to provide the tools and resources for impactful fundraisers. Softgiving and Method will also collaborate to develop opportunities for brands to sponsor the charity streams. “We are inspired and honored by the gaming and esports communities ability to rally around charitable causes industry-wide. Because of this, Method is committing $100,000 to charity over the next 12 months, and partnering with Softgiving to better integrate our charity efforts into our innovative live-streamed events and engaging influencers,” said Method Chief Revenue Officer Christian Bishop.

TEAMS

FaZe Clan has been celebrating its 10-year anniversary that will culminate in a virtual birthday party on May 30 at noon, streaming live on its YouTube channel. That team had been unveiling new announcements, including exclusive merchandise, brand collaborations, fan tournaments and challenges, and more. FaZe Clan will continue to celebrate this historic milestone throughout the year. “It’s wild to think that FaZe Clan started ten years ago with a few friends meeting online playing Xbox,” says Lee Trink, CEO, FaZe Clan. “Their love for gaming and creative ideas, along with a dynamic roster of talent has ignited an immensely passionate global fanbase. With a formidable FaZe staff behind the scenes, FaZe Clan has helped bring gaming to the intersection of entertainment, sports and pop culture.”

Nerd Street Gamers and the Immortals Gaming Club are teaming up to help kids stay engaged and entertained while staying home, offering Immortals Gaming Camps, multi-day online esports camps focused on League of Legends and Overwatch. Each day, professional instructors, ranging from coaches and players to industry veterans and content creators, will guide campers through the fundamentals of competitive gaming, map and game strategy, team dynamics, effective communication skills. “IGC is excited to partner with Nerd Street Gamers to bring gamers this unique opportunity to learn from our professional players, have fun and connect with new friends in a positive, structured environment,” said Jon Tuck, Chief Commercial Officer at Immortals Gaming Club. “This is a unique moment in time and we believe the camps will serve gamers and their parents well while establishing a format that we plan to replicate for years to come.”

FANAI INSIGHTS
With Grand Theft Auto V still free in the Epic Game Store, it’s no wonder it’s still topping the charts. But 11 years later, Minecraft is still at the top of the charts—why? Well, with a new season of Karmaland, a private island (server) on Minecraft filled with top influencers such as AuronPlay and Rubius, viewers flocked to the stream to see what new trouble the gang would get up to. What streams do you think will top the charts next week?

LIFESTYLE
G2 Esports is tapping the services of Brandgenuity in a move to expand its global licensing program. Brandgenuity will work with the team to grow and expand its licensing programs. “G2 is building a lifestyle and entertainment empire. We have designed and developed streetwear-inspired collections and merchandise that sell out almost instantly thanks to the #G2ARMY and we want to continue to bring our fans merchandise that makes them proud to rep G2,” said Carlos “ocelote” Rodriguez, G2 Esports Founder and CEO. “The Brandgenuity team demonstrated that they understood both our brand and our dedication to entertain at all costs and we know they will propel us forward in our global licensing efforts.”

Ninja opened the doors to his new merchandise store at TeamNinja.com, offering fans officially-branded Fortnite clothing designs that include hoodies, T-shirts, windbreakers, and more.

PENTA and clothing company hummel will open a partnership on July 1 with hummel becoming the official and exclusive clothing partner of PENTA, with PENTA players dressed in hummel clothing. “PENTA is different and always aims to enter new, sometimes unusual partnerships. We also believe in tolerance, solidarity, and inclusion,” said Andreas Schaetzke, Managing Director at PENTA, explains.

INDUSTRY

IGN revealed the lineup for its Summer of Gaming virtual event, opening June 4. The free global digital event will include over three weeks of exclusive programming and gameplay world premieres from titles including Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time, Wasteland 3, Mortal Shell, New World, Corepunk, Scarlet Nexus and Mafia: Definitive Edition, as well as new reveals from Cyberpunk 2077. As part of the lineup, IGN will also host their own publisher and developer showcase, IGN Expo, which will premiere programming and gameplay. In addition, IGN is raising money for charity in support of the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund by hosting two exclusive events during Summer of Gaming. Top gaming publishers taking part in Summer of Gaming include Ubisoft, Blizzard, Xbox, EA, CD Projekt Red, Funcom, Square Enix, Bandai Namco, Sega, Amazon, 2K, Larian, Systemic Reaction, Bloober, Artificial Core, Cold Symmetry (with publisher Playstack) and more.

Esports merchandising pillar We Are Nations is launching investment vehicle Nations Ventures, per ESI. The arm will look to invest in early-stage companies that don’t compete with the core business of We Are Nations, according to the report, to “provide opportunities for collaboration, product and marketing enhancement and other economies of scale.”

READYUP GAMES OF THE WEEK

It’s Time To Prepare For Success In A Post-Covid-19 World
The Great Sports Disruption: A Virtual Event Presented By Cynopsis
June 9 | 1PM – 5PM

Register for this free conference and take a close look at an unprecedented year in collegiate sports with Pac-12, see visions for the future of esports with Riot Games, check out professional leagues’ new approach to competitive play with Athletes Unlimited and NBC Sports Group, learn from New Balance’s take on positive brand messaging, glimpse the future of the Olympics with the USOC and more.

ON THIS DAY
2015: Splatoon is released
Trivia
Which game franchise takes place on the planet of Nirn? (Email cpursell@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
1997’s Goldeneye 007 saw the return of a famous weapon famously used by Bond villain Scaramanga that only required one shot to kill. What was the name of that weapon? Answer: The Golden Gun. Kudos: Hugo Drax-Drax Metals/Tangier; Rosa Klebb-SMERSH/Moscow; Karl Stromberg – Stromberg Shipping/Sardinia; Julius No/Crab Key; Rick Dascher-WarnerMedia Studios/Atlanta; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank; Max Zorin-Zorin Industries/San Francisco

Cynopsis Team

Chris Pursell
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