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08/25/22: eMLS kicks off new EA deal; Tempest luminaries revealed; Twitch switches exclusivity pitch



Medias First Morning Read
Thursday August 25, 2022

Good morning! It’s Thursday and this is your early morning Esports brief.
Electronic Arts and Major League Soccer kicked off an extension of their long-term partnership that designates EA SPORTS as an Official Partner of MLS and eMLS, designed to “deepen the league’s integration within EA SPORTS’ global football franchise, including FIFA 23 and beyond, to deliver the most immersive and authentic gaming experience for the millions of MLS fans, one of the youngest and most diverse fan bases in North American sports.”

For eMLS – Major League Soccer’s competitive eSports league – EA will serve as an Official Partner of eMLS League Series 1 and 2 and of eMLS Cup. Built around the EA SPORTS global football franchise, eMLS’ goal is to utilize gaming to reach global audiences, and grow its next generation of fans. The multi-year agreement will also deliver extensive opportunities for fan engagement, including social media campaigns across MLS and club channels, and co-marketing initiatives between MLS and EA.

“Major League Soccer is proud to partner with EA as they are aligned with our league’s vision to be innovative and authentic in our approach to connecting with our passionate supporters and the next generation of fans,” said Rachel Hoagland, MLS Senior Vice President of Consumer Products. “We look forward to working with EA for many years to come on creative ways to further increase our fanbase through interactivity during this incredible time of growth for MLS.”

COMPETITION

Finally, DreamHack will go back to Atlanta, as the three-day, immersive, gaming lifestyle festival will return to the city for DreamHack Atlanta from Nov. 18-20 at the Georgia World Congress Center. “We are super excited to bring DreamHack back to the great city of Atlanta,” said Shahin Zarrabi, VP Strategy & Growth at DreamHack. “These last two years of the pandemic have been so hard for so many, but gaming has always brought communities together both online and in person. So it is especially meaningful to bring our event back to Atlanta for the first time in three years. The DreamHack experience truly has no equal — we can’t wait to once again share it with Atlanta.”

In addition, Dreamhack Sports Games announced that the DP World Tour is introducing a new eTour competition, in partnership with the leading online and mobile game World Golf Tour by Topgolf will open to players on Aug. 31. The new eTour competition has four stages, with the entire competition played on Wolf Creek Golf Course in Nevada ande culminating in a live grand finale hosted at FLOW Pavilion in Expo City, Dubai.The WGT by Topgolf platform will also feature new DP World eTour branded apparel in its virtual store from August 31 to November 30.

The next edition of Call of Duty League will open in December, according to Dexerto, which writes that “leaked internal documents” show that the first Major of the year will take run Dec. 15 -18 and also offer a Pro-Am event with the season capped by the CDL Championship Weekend from June 15-18. Previous years saw play span from Jan/Feb-Aug. with the reported schedule now syncing more closely with the launch of the new Call of Duty game, Modern Warfare 2, that is set to hit shelves on Oct. 28.

Skillshot Media and Ghost Gaming are aligning with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Georgia Film Academy, and founding partner universities across Georgia to launch the Georgia Esports League, serving as the nation’s first comprehensive statewide initiative covering esports competition, curriculum, and workforce development. The league is open to all 2-year and 4-year colleges in Georgia, and will offer numerous titles starting with Rocket League. “Esports is education,” said Todd Harris CEO of Skillshot Media and Ghost Gaming. “We’re excited to build out skill development that goes well beyond just playing games. Our partnerships in Georgia allow us to engage with students starting in middle school with STEAM exposure and social-emotional learning all the way through college competition to careers playing esports professionally, becoming a gaming creator on YouTube or Twitch, or working in the broader game and digital entertainment industry behind the scenes as a programmer, artist or designer.”

The NBA 2K League announced that the second annual NBA 2K League All-Star presented by Google Pixel will be held in Los Angeles at The Novo on Sept. 30 at 8p. The game will be broadcast on Stadium as well as the NBA 2K League’s Twitch and YouTube channels. For the first time, the 2022 NBA 2K League All-Star event will include both 5v5 and 3v3 gameplay formats. The NBA2KL 5v5 Championships run this week through Aug. 27, live from The Pavilion at Pan Am in Indianapolis.

EBS 2022

EBS announced its 2022 luminary award recipients who will be honored during The Tempest Awards on November 2 at the HyperX Esports Arena in Las Vegas as part of EBS, taking place on Nov. 1-3 at the MGM Grand. This year’s Hall of Fame class will include Jason Lake, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Complexity Gaming, & Global Head of Esports, GameSquare; and Kim Phan, Co-Founder and COO, RTS. Accepting the Ambassador Award honoring talent will be Gina Darling, Host, G4; and the 2022 Sentinel Award winner for leveraging esports for social good will be Zach Wigal, Founder, Gamers Outreach. A huge congratulations to all four recipients and we look forward to seeing you in Vegas for the show on Aug. 2!

Speaking of Tempests, this is the end of the line. Final award nominations are due this week!! Show the word your talent. Go, go, go!!! ENTER NOW. Final call for judges too! Contact Carley (cashley@accessintel.com) if interested.

STREAMHATCHET
While fast food and chips might be some of the most chatted about food categories among gamers and live streaming viewers, sweets are right behind them. Quick, sugary treats are perfect for gamers who are staying up late and playing high energy games.
Sweets brands had 163k Twitch chat mentions last month. Popular cookie brand Oreo dominated the charts with almost half of that chatter at 75.8k mentions. While Oreo hasn’t done any sponsored streams in recent months, their large number of chat mentions seems to be from their organic popularity among the live streaming community.
Oreo isn’t a stranger to the video game-adjacent community, having done recent collaborations with popular video game and anime franchises Pokemon and Dragon Ball Z. The anime and video games communities share a ton of overlap, and have great potential for crossover events.
Sour Patch Kids was the only sweets brand in the top charts to have released sponsored content last month, leaving great potential for other brands to get involved with the gaming and streaming community. Their “Fruit Fight” campaign featured four Twitch streamers as brand ambassadors participating in a mini Rocket League tournament.
Read more on Stream Hatchet’s blog.

SPONSORSHIP & ACTIVATION

Riot Games and luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co. announced a new multi-year global partnership with League of Legends Esports, making Tiffany & Co. the official trophy designer of the League of Legends World Championship Trophy. The ultimate design unveil for the new trophy will take place Aug. 29 at 10a across Riot Games, LoL Esports, and Tiffany & Co. digital and social channels.

Global esports organization Gen.G locked in a partnership with SmileDirectClub to present “SmileXP,” a three episode series over six months to track a favorite streamers’ progress towards a “straighter, healthier and more confident smile.” Gen.G streamers Shannon Williams, Jessica Kim and Krystalogy will be joining the #SmileClub and chronicling their experience on-stream and via their social media pages over the course of their Smile Journeys.

ASUS lined up a series of events for esports fans and gamers with Brooklyn Nets player Seth Curry celebrating esports and gaming on Aug. 27. ASUS will also announce a new limited-edition Republic of Gamers product and brand partnership. Online fans can tune into a Call of Duty livestream with Curry starting at 4p on the ROG Twitch Channel.

HOT POCKETS is teaming up with Elgato to launch the One20 Contest, looking for up-and-coming content superstars “to bring up to the next level with cash, gaming accessories and more.” Each submission period, thirty entrant creators will be chosen as finalists based on personality, expressiveness, creativity and engagement. 10 finalists per voting period will move forward, and then the gaming community will vote online for their favorite to become a winner and an official One20 creator. The 12 finalists who receive the most votes – one winner per month – will each receive upgraded gear, content collaboration, digital promotion and become HOT POCKETS brand ambassadors!

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IT’S ALIVE: YouGov Living Data Insights
Finding esports fans on social media

American esports fans are likelier than the general population to have used every social media platform that we asked about. These differences are more pronounced for some platforms than others.

TEAMS

The Detroit Lions is revving up its online gaming community, Lions Gaming, in collaboration with fan engagement platform Rival. Lions Gaming will offer its online gaming community the opportunity to host regular tournaments across a variety of game titles. Members of this free-to-play community will play to win monetary prizes, Lions memorabilia and unique esports experiences. The Lions will host its first gaming tournament featuring Madden 23 on Sept. 17.

Burnley Football Club of the EFL Championship also launched its online gaming community with Rival. Rival will power the club’s gaming community, extending its footprint with Burnley’s esports team, offering tournaments across a variety of game tiles, with opportunities for fan rewards and other experiences. With the launch of Burnley’s gaming community, Rival will also be integrated into the club’s esports initiatives, including branding on Burnley’s esports team jerseys and other marketing channels.

Enthusiast Gaming fueled a new inclusivity campaign, Raise Your Game, designed to support women in gaming and raise awareness. RYG will host its inaugural event today at 5p at OS NYC. “The industry is traditionally male-dominated, but we know that women make up about 46% of the total gaming audience,” said Amanda Rubin, SVP of Global Sales & Partnerships. “It is hard for these individuals to feel accepted within the current gaming community design. We are out to make a pivotal change for the industry and make a difference in how underrepresented groups are heard. This is why we believe RYG will help dismantle stereotypes and make gaming feel more inclusive.”

FlyQuest revealed its newest Jersey for the 2022 Spring Playoffs, highlighting the teams’ summer palm tree design and bringing back the green and yellow color scheme. FlyQuest is also doubling the number of trees planted for its Go Green Initiative, TreeQuest x Priceless Planet Coalition.

READYUP WHAT TO WATCH
 

PLATFORMS/METAVERSE

A big shift for Twitch, which switched its pitch to overhaul restrictions around partner exclusivity, and now allowing live streaming on multiple platforms provided it isn’t being done simultaneously across “web-based, Twitch-like services that support streaming for extended periods of time, such as YouTube and Facebook.” The platform noted that the barriers was put in place because “engaging with two streams at once can lead to a sub-optimal experience for your community.

Gfinity announced the launch of Athlos Game Technologies, a tournament-based platform that “leverages the power of competitive gaming to deepen player engagement; to lower player churn; and to increase average revenue per user.” “Athlos Gaming Technologies is aligned with Gfinity’s strategic focus on generating value by owning, scaling and monetizing communities and our owned tech IP,” said Gfinity Chairman Neville Upton. “In-game, live-service revenues are a key focus of the industry. It amounts to $127bn p.a., more than double the value of up-front game sales revenues. Engaged competitive gamers can spend 30X in game compared to the non-competitive gamer. This is where Athlos delivers by dramatically increasing the number of engaged competitive gamers in any game whether on mobile, PC, or console. The launch of the platform supports our confidence for performing in line with market expectations.”

Esports data and statistics platform PandaScore sealed a betting partnership with bookmaker William Hill, which will now leverage PandaScore’s esports data to provide customers with odds and markets for competition featuring Dota2, League of Legends and CS:GO.

ROSTER MOVES

WME inked a new batch of esports and gaming stars for representation in all areas, per THR. Names added to the roster include content creator and G4 host Gina Darling, streamer Cloakzy, YouTube star Tiko, and TikTok personality Luvanthony, among others.

OpTic Gaming announced the additions of two sales and partnership team members in Rachel Alexander, Director of Sales and Partnerships and Tony Constantacos, Director of Business Development. Making up part of OpTic’s growing national sales team, Constantacos will be based in Los Angeles, and Alexander working from OpTic’s Dallas-based headquarters. Each report to Erin Schendle, Senior Vice President of Sales and Partnerships, who joined the company in 2021.

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