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09/10/20: ESL looks to end 2020 with a bang; Rainbow Six Siege moves to SHARE; Twitch’s new tools




Medias First Morning Read

Thursday September 10, 2020

Good morning! This is your weekly Esports Brief.
ESL rolled out tournament plans for the remainder of a pandemic-painted 2020, including the announcement for the Intel Extreme Masters: Global Challenge, a transatlantic tournament that will close the year. Taking place in December, the tournament will “bring North American and European players together to compete offline and in person for the first time since the COVID-19 outbreak” and replace the CS:GO Rio Major, which was due to take place in November, which was scrapped due to the ongoing disruption caused by the pandemic. The IEM Global Challenge will take place from 15-20 in Cologne and will feature the best eight North American and European teams with $500,000 in prize money.

Meanwhile, IEM Beijing-Haidian will run online from Nov. 6-22 and feature European, North American, Oceania and Asian divisions with teams.

“It is with great sadness that we needed to cancel this year’s CS:GO Major, but we are doing everything we can to resume running tournaments like we used to as soon as it is possible,” said Michal “CARMAC” Blicharz, VP ProGaming at ESL. “The IEM Global Challenge will be our first step towards that. All plans are of course subject to change as we continue to monitor guidance around the COVID-19 situation, and ESL’s top priority is always the health and well-being of teams, coaches, managers and crew.”

COMPETITION
Ubisoft is giving a facelift to the company’s Rainbow Six Siege revenue-sharing program, including renaming it R6 SHARE. In a post, the company stated that the program will span about four years in order to give team the ability to plan for the future for in-game item sales. Overall, Ubisoft picked 42 international organizations to join the program, with a three-tier structure. The first Rainbow Six Siege in-game items in the program will launch this month.

Learfield IMG College continues to shore up its esports events, this time partnering with tournament operator provider Mainline to launch the 2020 Fall Madden Challenge for NM State and 10 associated members from the Mountain West Conference, including Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, San Jose State, UNLV, Utah State and Wyoming. In addition, NM State will be participating. Learfield IMG College holds individual athletics multimedia rights agreements with each of these participating institutions, which allows for new brand opportunities for current corporate partners. “We see tremendous value in esports, particularly during a time of social distancing when more students and cadets may be learning remotely,” said Learfield IMG College’s EVP/Managing Director – Media and Partnerships Group, Rick Barakat. “Through Mainline’s white-labeled tournament software, we’re also able to incorporate sponsors with the tournaments, which feature institutional marks and an association where they already have an affinity. It’s a smart avenue for local, regional and national brands to reach an extended and specific audience while connecting in new ways.”

DreamHack announced that DreamHack Masters Winter will take place online from Nov. 30-dec. 6. A prize pool totaling $250,000 will be split among four regional competitions in Europe (16 teams), North America (8 teams), Asia (4 teams) and Oceania (4 teams). “Following the success of our online DreamHack Masters Spring, we’re very excited to bring our fans the DreamHack Masters Winter,” said DreamHack Chief Product Officer Michael Van Driel. “We’ve developed a structure to support teams, players and fans around the world with this format, and are looking forward to a great competition. All of us at DreamHack are proud to show the world of esports continues to grow and move forward, even as we continue adapting and finding solutions for this new normal.”

CS:GO tournament organizer BLAST is entering Valorant, announcing a Valorant Twitch Invitational running Sept.11-13 featuring four European teams: G2 Esports, Ninjas In Pajamas, Team Liquid, and FunPlus Phoenix.

Formula 1 opened the doors to a second esports series, with the new venture dedicated to mobile gaming. Qualification leagues will run over the next three months, with top performers from each of the leagues qualifying for the finals, a nine-day tournament.

Announcing the participants for this year’s ultra-popular “State of the Union” series of presentations at Esports Business Summit! Running Oct-27-29, the famed State of the Union series features leaders from some of esports biggest leagues breaking down the year that was (and what a year!), lessons learned, offer league news and give a peak into what is on the horizon. This year will include Valorant, Call of Duty League, Overwatch League, ELEAGUE, ESL Pro League and NBA 2K League. Click here to register!

PGL detailed plans for the 2020-2021 season of the Quake Pro League. The 2020-2021 season will be split into three stages with players from all across the globe and each stage spanning thirteen weeks of region-based round-robin matches broadcast live from PGL Studios every Sunday and over $500,000 up for grabs.

FANAI INSIGHTS
When Bronny James, son of famed basketball player LeBron James, became an official member of the FaZe Clan last month, he did so for no apparent financial compensation, according to a source familiar with the deal. Instead, this deal allows Bronny to increase his reach by tapping into FaZe Clan’s over 7M followers—which makes sense, given that our data shows over half of his followers are already also followers of FaZe. Who do you think the next big athlete to join FaZe will be, and why? http://bit.ly/CynopsisEsports

ACTIVATION
Evil Geniuses’ next plot involves LG Electronics USA, teaming with the companies looking to give the public an all-access look at the world of championship caliber professional gamers via Inside the Mind, a four-part web series sponsored by LG UltraGear Gaming Monitors. Content premieres today at noon and will drop new episodes every Thursday on the Evil Geniuses YouTube Channel featuring top-ranked players including Tarik, Arteezy, HelloKittyRicki and FearItself. As a companion to the series, Evil Geniuses pros will face off against opponents on a live-streamed, interactive, two-hour broadcast on Twitch each week. The live broadcast will showcase not only their unique talents but also the portfolio of LG UltraGear world’s first IPS gaming monitors, featuring 1ms response time, 144hz and NVIDIA G-SYNC compatibility.

Upper Deck is hunting for the most passionate and dedicated fans of the Overwatch League, and is launching the 2020 Upper Deck OWL Ultimate Fan Program Contest, inviting superfans to showcase their team spirit and share their stories by submitting a nomination describing why they are the ultimate fan. Selected nominations will be posted on Twitter, where fans will be able to vote by “liking” their favorite nominations on Upper Deck’s Twitter account and using the #OWLUltimateFan hashtag. The top 10 overall nominees, as selected by fans, will then have the chance to win prizes including signed player jerseys, autographed Overwatch League trading cards, exclusive Overwatch League Ultimate Fan apparel, and more.

2020 Cynopsis Measurement & Data [Virtual Experience]

The fourth annual Cynopsis Measurement & Data Virtual Event is now this November 17 & 18 from 1:00PM – 4:00PM. Join experts in measurement and data to address the issues of safe data handling, attribution, storytelling with data, and more (view the agenda). Thought leaders will be on-hand from CBS, Comcast, Dentsu, Publicis, OMD, Starcom, USIM & more.

Sponsored by: Gamut – Tubular Labs – Premion – A4

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STREAM HATCHET TRENDS
With not as much variety in this week’s top #ads, Shroud was able to capture two of the top three spots as the elite streamer is back on Twitch. The Bud Light Battle of the Best pitted 16 streamers against each other in a series of games across multiple days and Shroud was able to capture large viewership while competing. He and LIRIK also teamed up with Square Enix and Marvel to showcase gameplay of the new Avengers game which drew significant interest from their audiences as they combined for over 226K hours watched during those sponsored segments.
· Although Shroud didn’t win the Bud Light Battle of the Best, he was still able to generate massive viewership benefiting both his own channel as well as awareness for Bud Light’s newest venture into the gaming market.
· His #ad reached an average of 39K viewers (peaking at 47K) for a total of 135K hours watched.
For more insights on the top sponsored streams this week, visit us at: StreamHatchet.com/Insights

PLATFORMS
Epic Games detailed plans to shore up its musical offerings, posting news that the company would be hosting performances in its game over the next three weeks. As part of the play, the company has constructed a new Party Royale Spotlight soundstage studio in Los Angeles where artists will be able to record these events. The debut will see singer, rapper, and songwriter Dominic Fike perform with hits from his LP debut, ‘What Could Possibly Go Wrong.” Fike’s performance will be broadcast live in-game from the Party Royale Spotlight sound stage in Los Angeles, on Saturday at 5p.

Twitch is shoring up its tools for esports competitions, posting Wednesday that its next initiative would be competition tools to empower communities, noting that “not all competition organizers have the tools or resources needed to host esports tournaments and it’s important to us to ensure we’re empowering organizers and players of all sizes and skill levels.” Versus by Twitch (Beta) would offer an end-to-end suite of competition tools for organizers, players, and viewers from all different backgrounds and experience levels where competition organizers can “quickly and easily create, manage, and stream competitions with their communities of players and viewers – all integrated on Twitch.” “Our goal is to get as many of you access as quickly as we can but over the coming months our focus will be on making sure the competition experience is capable of handling competitions, both complex and casual, as well as listening to and incorporating feedback from our beta community. We’re extremely excited to roll this out to the esports community and even more excited to see the future competitions you all are going to organize,” the company said.

NXT UP Esports opened the doors to a recreational youth esports league platform where NXT UP Esports leagues and programs can focus on teaching players fundamental in-game and out-of-game skills. Founded by former TSM Director of Partnerships, Luke Zelon, NXT UP will provide young players with the opportunity to “compete, learn, and have fun in an organized league with high level coaches, weekly practices, and games. “I’m excited young gamers will now have a place where they can have fun playing the games they love in a structured, competitive environment,” said Zelon. “So many important lessons about life can be taught by being a part of a team and working towards a shared mission. From my own experiences working at TSM and playing in recreational sports when I was a kid, I know how beneficial being a part of a team is for personal growth and development.”

PlayVS launched a new initiative to increase inclusivity in the esports industry overall, titled PlayVS Game Changers and focusing on a different aspect of diversity and inclusivity each year, but for its first year, this initiative is starting with women in gaming. PlayVS will provide an array of programming, including AMAs, fireside chats, and other formatted events, to shine a light on female voices within the industry and allow students to learn. In addition, the company signed eight ambassadors to mentor students including: Melita N. Moore, M.D., CEO/Founder Levels Unlocked Enterprises; Kelsey Moser, 100 Thieves Academy Director and Head Coach; Summer Scott, Head of Player Development at CLG; Karina Ziminaite, G2 Esports’ Head of Content; Rachel Feinberg, Ateyo Cofounder & CEO; Breanne Harrison-Pollock, Ateyo Cofounder & Chief Creative Officer; Wendy Lecot, Head of Strategic Alliances for HyperX; and Lindsey Migliore, Esports Medicine Physician.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. and his latest tech venture, Stardam Images, are launching an exclusive branded tournament series
in Skillz mobile games with fans able to compete for Mayweather-branded prizes including a virtual meet and greet, a Las Vegas getaway, autographed boxing gloves, and more. “When you’re undefeated there isn’t a moment where you can accept anything less than perfection. And so I’m partnering with the best mobile gaming company out there in Skillz, while bringing my latest tech venture Stardam Images to knockout advertising,” said Floyd Mayweather. “The best of the best, with the best. Who’s ready to make some money in my tournaments?”

TEAMS

David Beckham’s Guild Esports, which owns and develops esports teams, is moving forward to list on the London Stock Exchange this fall, marking the first esports company in the UK to join the market. “The move comes as esports benefits from a rapidly growing fan base worldwide with some tournaments attracting a bigger audience than the Wimbledon tennis championships, Tour de France and the U.S. Open”, the company said in a statement.

XSET locked in a partnership with SCUF Gaming, to provide their pro roster with state-of-the-art controllers. “Since our inception as a company, we’ve supported the leagues, teams, and players that are leading the professional gaming community,” said Duncan Ironmonger, Founder and CEO of SCUF Gaming. “Now as XSET is looking to grow its influence and compete at the highest level, not only will their roster of talented players have access to the most advanced controllers available, they will have the backing and support of SCUF.” In addition to providing controllers, the SCUF logo will be featured on XSET game jerseys and other team merchandise.

Insight TV is tapping G2 Esports to co-produce the first televised version of their online esports talent search series, Making the Squad: FIFA Edition. The eight-part series is based on the new FIFA 21 game from Electronic Arts and is currently in pre-production. Meanwhile, Pringles will sponsor and offer auds special experiences featuring the contestants and the audience that will be included as interstitials in the programming and on social media. “What makes this series so unique is the fact that it bridges the virtual and real football (soccer) worlds, tasking competitors to apply the skills they learn in each challenge to win,” said Arun Maljaars, Vice President, Content & Channels, Insight TV. “G2’s founder and legendary esports player turned CEO, Carlos ‘ocelote’ Rodriguez will be bringing his unmatched energy and passion as a judge, challenging contestants to fight for success, all the time balancing entertainment and skill.”

CLG and Chess.com are partnering to launch the first-ever “CLG Chess Arena” Tournament, a “first of its kind hosted by a major US esports organization” that will take place today at 5p. CLG Nemo, a content creator and chess player who holds the titles of FIDE Master and Woman Grandmaster, hosts on the CLG Twitch channel.

READYUP SPOTLIGHT

INDUSTRY
The holiday console wars got more heated with the news that Microsoft would not only price its Xbox Series X at $499 (with the all-digital Series S at $299), but the company would offer an All Access subscription plan to keep the monthly cost low, with a Series X console along with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate access running for $35 a month with a two-year commitment. In addition, Microsoft announced today that Game Pass Ultimate and Xbox Game Pass for PC will include access to Electronic Arts’ subscription service EA Play starting this holiday season.

The International Esports Federation added new members to bring its tally to 82 member nationals overall. New countries represented now include Chile, Ecuador, Jordan, Libya, Luxembourg, Mauritania, Monaco, and Slovenia.

GameStop is now planning to close between 400 and 450 stores globally during the full fiscal year of 2020, according to multiple reports. In a Q2 earnings call with investors, CFO Jim Bell said that GameStop had closed a total of 388 stores worldwide so far this year.

“A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

You don’t have to be a woman to recognize the
extraordinary women moving our industry forward.
NOMINATE YOUR COLLEAGUE TODAY


Nomination deadline= Thursday, April 16.
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ON THIS DAY
1983: Mario Bros. is first released
Trivia
Name the 1981 arcade classic pictured above.

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
Which actress portrayed characters named Dr. Grace Augustine, Ellen Ripley, and Dana Barrett in various movie/game franchises? Answer: Sigourney Weaver. Kudos: (Wow, I thought this would be an easy one!) Matt Sautter-WideOrbit/Harrisburg; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA

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EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
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