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07/21/22: Nike fuels Rocket League play; Riot Games’ Amazon expedition; NICKMERCS’ new Beats


Medias First Morning Read
Thursday July 21, 2022

Good morning! It’s Thursday and this is your early morning Esports brief.
Psyonix and Nike gassed up a team-up, and will bring the new Nike Air Zoom Mercurial football boot into Rocket League. With the partnership, a Nike Air Zoom Mercurial Invitational tournament will now run on July 22, hosted by Musty, Retals and Roll Dizz. In addition, the Nike Air Zoom Mercurial Bundle is now live in Rocket League and includes three Octane Decals (Nike Air Zoom Mercurial – Pink, Nike Air Zoom Mercurial – Green, Nike Air Zoom Mercurial – Yellow) and Nike Air Zoom Mercurial Wheels. Additionally, there is a free Nike Air Zoom Mercurial Player Banner available to claim in the Item Shop.

COMPETITION

Riot Games and Amazon Web Services teamed up in a move designed to “transform how Riot’s esports content is created and distributed in the cloud.” Riot is the first company to use AWS’s data analytics integration for esports broadcasts and named AWS as its official Cloud Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cloud Machine Learning (ML), Cloud Deep Learning (DL), and Cloud Services provider. “Riot Games has a long-term vision to bring joy to billions of fans around the world through our esports, and we’re extremely excited to work with AWS to level up the Riot Esports experience,” said John Needham, President of Esports at Riot Games. “The wide-ranging solutions and expertise of AWS will enhance Riot Games’ esports broadcasts and engage esports fans worldwide. From reimagining how fans view our events and content, to interacting with other players, AWS unlocks endless opportunities for Riot to shape the future of sport.”

Sunday’s final of IEM Cologne 2022 scored peak viewership of 1.25 million viewers to rank as the most viewed non-major match in CS:GO history as FaZe Clan topped Natus Vincere 3-2. The previous non-major viewership record was set earlier this year at IEM Katowice, which saw a peak of 1.12 million tuning in, according to Esports Charts. Overall, the event averaged 276,763 viewers across tournament, with fans tuning in for over 25 million hours total.

Evo reported its final tournament registration numbers for its upcoming return to Las Vegas, with the top four titles set to compete in the Evo 2022 Arena Finals. Laying claim to those spots are Guilty Gear- Strive, Street Fighter V, Tekken 7, and King of Fighters XV. Overall, 63 countries will be competing in the slate of tournaments.

Riot Games unveiled the company’s inaugural collegiate Valorant event, aka CVAL, which will begin play on Oct. 24 with 128 regional teams taking part in the competition. The grand finale will take place in late July next year, where Riot will host an Offline LAN. “As Valorant is a vastly different game from League of Legends, we’ve created a new structure for the first year of CVAL. As always, we will continue to evolve the competition to meet the needs of students and schools as best we can. Our goals and values remain the same, starting with the three RSAA value pillars – students first, long-term sustainability, and competitive integrity,” the company posted.

Speaking of college, NASCAR rolled out plans for the fall season of its eNASCAR College iRacing Series. The four-race schedule kicks off at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sept. 20. New this fall, Xfinity joins Coca-Cola, Logitech, Playseat and Southern Computer Warehouse as a presenting sponsor of the series. “Our work with NASCAR has always been in the spirit of inspiring and giving back to communities,” said Matt Lederer, Comcast’s Vice President, Brand Partnerships and Amplification. “Joining the eNASCAR College iRacing Series as a presenting partner gives Xfinity the opportunity to reach a younger generation of NASCAR fans while providing new avenues to education for college students and encouraging them to explore new opportunities.”

NACON, KT Racing Studio, WRC Promoter and EKO Acropolis Rally Greece slated the eSports WRC World Final presented by AGON by AOC to take place in Greece on September 7 & 8 as top players compete on WRC 10, the official game of the FIA World Rally Championship. For the second consecutive year, the final will take place during the Acropolis Rally. The 8 finalists will compete in the heart of the Olympic complex, at the end of the regular season, which will end on Aug. 15.

Wisdom Gaming Studios will officially open its doors this weekend at Mall of America, serving as an 18,000 sq. foot venue space. Wisdom Gaming has partnered with iHeartMedia to be its media partner around the event, with broadcast spots running on KFAN and KDWB stations. The company also opened the doors to Gold Rush: Totally Excellent Weekend, running Aug. 27-28 with a Rocket League community event

STREAMHATCHET
This year’s Amazon Prime Day was a record-breaking event for the company. Consumers purchased 300 million items over the 2-day event on July 12-13, saving $1.7 billion, according to Amazon.
Twitch, which is owned by Amazon, saw a significant increase in chatter about Amazon Prime during and leading up to the event. Amazon and Amazon Prime are generally chatted about on Twitch because of the ability for fans to use Amazon Prime subscriptions on the live streaming platform. However, mentions of the company’s Prime Day event and Amazon deals and sales spiked significantly on the 12th and 13th, up 474%.
Keywords related to Amazon deals and sales are sent on average of 3.4k times a day most of the year, but during the two-day Prime Day event, the keywords were chatted almost 20k times a day.
Amazon partnered with dozens of streamers this year to promote the event. TwitchPresents had the top stream with 74.8K hours watched and 26.2K peak concurrent viewers. Their POG Picks: Prime Time event was hosted by streamers TeamSummerTime and Justaminx. The event was an interactive shopping experience on Twitch during Amazon’s Prime Day sale.
The Prime Picks event was centered around the hosts and special guests using products that were on sale on screen, demonstrating their features and capabilities. Chatters were redirected to the Amazon page where they could purchase an item shown on screen via a Twitch extension that rotated during the stream.
Read more on Stream Hatchet’s blog.

SPONSORSHIP & ACTIVATION

Beats by Dre and Nick “NICKMERCS” Kolcheff announced a new phase of their partnership yesterday that will see the pair team up for a custom Beats Studio Buds that will launch tomorrow. According to the announcement, the items are “designed to pay homage to the professional Twitch streamers’ loyal community” and each bud features the ‘MFAM’ logo and arrives in a Spartan-emblazoned case to reflect Kolcheff’s Greek heritage. The pair previously collaborated on two drops with FaZe Clan and promoted the launches of Beats Fit Pro and Beats Studio Buds in several Twitch activations. This is the first official product release solely between Beats and Kolcheff.

Complexity Gaming and Lenovo revealed a series of gaming summer camps in Frisco, Texas with topics ranging from content creation to competitive gaming. Beginning July 25, Complexity and Lenovo will offer two week-long camps focused on esports content creation and mixed concepts in science, technology, engineering, art, and math. “The enormous scale and momentum of the gaming industry is undeniable,” said Lenovo NA Chief Marketing Officer Gerald Youngblood. “Children are engaging with games and gaming content daily, and by partnering with an industry leader like Complexity, Lenovo is expanding the ways in which we are helping young people learn and grow from their gaming experience.”

G2 Esports and Herman Miller Gaming tied up an exclusive partnership between the two brands. The partnership will provide G2’s gaming teams with Herman Miller Gaming equipment and “create exclusive opportunities for the teams to collaborate on future products and research.” Carlos ‘ocelote’ Rodriguez, CEO of G2 Esports, stated: “Herman Miller is the absolute crown jewel of sitting comfort. G2 and Herman Miller are the cream of the crop and I can’t think of many better partnerships. If you ask me to team up with my ideal brands, Herman Miller would literally come in the Top 10. That’s insane. I’m both grateful and excited for what’s to come.”

TSM unlocked a partnership with GMC, marking the first esports partnership for General Motors’ sub-brand, which now becomes the exclusive automotive partner of TSM. All competitive TSM team jerseys will feature the GMC logo, and the two will collaborate on content creation, digital events/activations, custom branded merch, social content and more.

Gaming Community Network and MiO, a liquid water, revealed plans for the MiO Level Up Challenge, a tournament featuring Fortnite, pitting top gaming influencers and athletes against one another for cash prizes. The MiO Level Up Challenge will consist of 90 participants to start, including TimTheTatman, Thinnd, and UFC fighters Max Holloway and Megan Anderson. An initial seeding tournament will kick off the event on Aug. 9, serving to form the 10 teams, each representing official MiO flavors, that will compete for cash prizes in the finals.

2022 Tempest Esports Business Awards

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IT’S ALIVE: YouGov Living Data Insights
Crypto Forward

Esports fans are more likely than traditional sports fans to say that cryptocurrencies are the future of online financial transactions.

PLATFORMS/METAVERSE

B/R Gaming, in partnership with Game Over and The Nations, is bringing digital series The Lab to TBS. Hosted by top FaZe Blaze and Tommy Unold, the series blends musicians with professional gamers to talk shop and play the video games in an interview format. The debut episode ran on Monday, with the new season set to feature additional interviews with Soulja Boy, Murda Beatz, Kaash Paige, and Maxo Kream. The show will be supported across B/R Gaming socials to drive tune-in and engagement for each episode.

OpTic Gaming fully acquired Botisimo, a cross-platform engagement and monetization tool for streamers, content creators and esports teams. The acquisition is OpTic’s first in the technology space and follows an investment by the organization into Botisimo’s Series A funding in 2021

Meanwhile, PlayStation announced the acquisition of technology platform Repeat.gg, which hosts leaderboard tournaments designed to make esports more accessible by tracking how players are performing in games. The company has hosted over 100,000 tournaments with more than 2.3 million participants.

TEAMS

FaZe Clan completed its merger with B. Riley Principal 150 Merger Corp,. and officially went public, known as FaZe Holdings Inc.. To celebrate FaZe’s public listing, the brand’s founders, members of the executive management team and the organization’s talent roster including content creators and esports professionals, rang the Opening Bell at Nasdaq MarketSite in New York’s Times Square.

XSET closed a $15 million Series A funding round. The capital will be used to invest in new executive talent, marketing, and content creation with funding led by LightWork Worldwide llc, a global streetwear and lifestyle brand holding company, incubator and fund. Other investors in this round with XSET include Alpha Sigma Capital, Apex Capital Partners, Baron Davis Enterprises, Breakaway Ventures, Concept Art House, Gaingels, Gee Roberson Management, GuildFi, Quality Control, TheAlliance, Swae Lee, Mind Melt Media, Whitwell & Co, Worldwide Wes, Young Money, and six NFL athletes: Ezekiel Elliott, Justin Simons, Adrian Colbert, Alkho Witherspoon, Ndamukong Suh, and Kyle Van Noy.

This week saw tournament hosts and Riot Games start laying out next steps for the VALORANT partnership system next year, according to Dot Esports, which writes that teams such as The Guard, TSM, Cloud9, NRG, and Version1 have shortlisted and will move on to the next round,

Meanwhile, esports team Heroic was inaugurated into the ESL Pro League’s ‘Louvre Agreement’. Heroic was accepted into the ESL Pro League in 2021, but due to the disruption caused by the events and timing of their subsequent ESIC inquiry, the members of the ESL Pro League and the new leadership of Heroic both agreed to delay the team’s official start date until the second half of 2022.

ROSTER MOVES

YouTube gaming staple Lester Chen revealed his departure from the company, announcing the news in a letter posted to Twitter. “I always was afraid that years into my career I wouldn’t find as much time to play games and that I’d lose my passion once working too long in the industry,” he wrote. “For me, that was never the case and the last 8 years there truly hasn’t been a dull moment working on the Gaming business.”

The Esports Awards named Solenne Lagrange as its new Marketing Director. In her new role, Lagrange will focus on building the brand’s visibility and engagement across Europe and America and joins from GINX Esports TV.

2K named Tim Andrade as the company’s new Director of Esports Partnerships and Licensing. He will oversee the company’s partnership roster for its esports titles, including the NBA 2K League.

XSET appointed Tim Mulligan as its Head of Sales. Mulligan joins XSET after a year as the Head of Strategic Accounts at 100 Thieves.

2022 Model D and IT List Awards

This just in…

The Cynopsis Model D and IT List Awards is set for this November 17th in NYC at the Edison Ballroom South. Stay tuned for more information on entries and registration.

Check out our 2021 winners and categories.

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In which hero’s movie franchise would you find CIA agent Felix Leiter? (Email cpursell@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).

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In the Mario franchise of games, what does Lakitu use as a vehicle to fly? Answer: A cloud. Kudos: Danny Araque/NY; Joey Olson-Lowe’s/Arlington; Glen Ross/Blacksburg; Mike Arney-FCPS/Fairfax; Julian Castillo – Publisher Collective/Philadelphia; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Jason Morrow-Toyota/Houston; David Westberg-SAG•AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank; Greg Dudsic/Palmdale; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA

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