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11/12/20: Chicago goes Green; ESL slates Winter Showdown; Mavix seats heavyweight names



Medias First Morning Read

Thursday November 12, 2020

Good morning! This is your weekly Esports Brief.
Big news in the Call of Duty League, where the Chicago Huntsman, which is owned and run by NRG Esports, revealed that the team would be rebranded under the iconic OpTic moniker for the 2021 season after Hector ‘H3CZ’ Rodriguez regained rights to the brand name after selling OpTic Gaming years ago.

The news comes days after the Call of Duty League made its newest team official with the announcement that 100 Thieves would be joining that league under the moniker of the Los Angeles Thieves. The team will operate out of the 100 Thieves Cash App Compound in LA. “We won two ‘Call of Duty’ championships in 2019 so our year away reminded us how amazing ‘Call of Duty’ fans are, and how much we missed them,” said 100 Thieves CEO Matthew Haag in a statement on Friday. “Our fans deserve the best ‘Call of Duty’ team in the world — and we’re gonna do everything in our power to give it to them.”

COMPETITION
ESL Gaming is bringing back the DreamHack Showdown, the all-women Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament. DreamHack Showdown Winter will feature both an European and a North American division with qualifiers starting on December 4-6, while the main competition will stretch from Dec. 15-20. Monster Energy signed on as a partner for the event. “Showdown is an amazing, all-women CS:GO tournament featuring some of the best women players in the world,” said Charlie Sirc, Showdown Product Manager at ESL Gaming. “As a woman, I must say our brand’s ongoing commitment to diversity, both on and off camera, is deeply meaningful to me — so this event has become particularly special to our company. It will be a not-to-be-missed battle to the end!”

ESL also announced that December’s Intel Extreme Masters: Global Challenge will now become a global online tournament. The original plans would have seen teams battle it out in person at ESL’s Cologne studio. The IEM event will now run Dec. 15-20 with the best eight North American and European teams competing online to compete for $500,000. ESL will support all eight teams in finding suitable facilities within Europe whereby each team’s players and coaches can safely compete in one global division to provide one overall IEM: Global Challenge champion.

The Farming Simulator League will return with GIANTS Software announcing the third season of its esports activities starting this month. Competition will be supported by dedicated sponsors such as Intel, Corteva Agriscience and Nitrado.

Following two days of trials featuring some of the top 2K gamers in the nation, USA Basketball officially named the 2020 USA E-National Team, which will compete in the North and Central America Conference in the 2020 FIBA Esports Open II from Dec. 19-20. The USA will tip-off virtually in the FIBA Esports Open II against gaming teams from Canada, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras and Puerto Rico for the right to be crowned North and Central America Conference champions. The North & Central Americas Conference games will stream live on FIBA’s YouTube, Twitch and Facebook channels.

Red Bull North America, Inc., in partnership with the League of Legends Championship Series, hosts the Red Bull Solo Q Finals on Sunday. The eight player playoff bracket will determine the best 1v1 amateur League of Legends® champion in the United States and Canada respectively. “Red Bull Solo Q has brought together so many passionate fans and amateur players from across North America to compete in one of the most unique League of Legends tournaments ever,” said Matt Archambault, head of NA esports partnerships and business development at Riot Games. “Through the LCS’s continued partnership with Red Bull, we’re excited to give players the experience of competing on a national stage and the opportunity to be crowned North America’s first Red Bull Solo Q champion.”

Meanwhile, the Summoners War Championship 2020 Finals will see eight players from around the world compete on Nov. 21 with a prize pool of $210,000 on the line. “This year’s Summoners War Championship has been our best yet, marking our all-time high for total viewership, and we haven’t even begun our homestretch with the World Finals,” said Com2uS CEO Kyu Lee, per Dexerto. “We at Com2uS want everyone to know that we’ve built an incredible virtual arena and stage.

ACTIVATION
Ergonomic chair manufacturer X-Chair announced the debut of new gaming chair line, titled Mavix and designed specifically for “the ergonomic needs of gamers” via three models—the M5, M7 and M9. With the debut, the company is partnering with a lineup of ambassadors that will feature streamer Rachell “Valkyrae” Hofstetter, Hector “H3CZ” Rodriguez (Co-Owner and CEO of NRG Esports), Seth “Scump” Abner (Professional Call of Duty Player) and Kris “FaZe Swagg” Lamberson (Streamer) in addition to Josh Hart (NBA small forward and gamer).

HyperX recruited top basketball prospect James Wiseman as a HyperX Hero and brand ambassador. Under the new sponsorship, Wiseman will be using HyperX gaming headsets while streaming and gaming with his fans. As a HyperX Hero and ambassador, Wiseman will participate in a variety of HyperX brand storylines and activities, including integration into the growing HyperX Heroes “Hyperverse”, original content creation, which will include a custom animation and comic book, as well as his own episode of HXCKED, the premiere HyperX streaming IP.

Turtle Beach and its PC brand, ROCCAT signed on as title sponsor of the The Gamer Hour program for a 12-episode arc. Hosted by Chris Puckett, and produced by Esportz Network and Reuters Broadcast Solutions, The Gamer Hour is a weekly talk show where Puckett interviews top pro athletes, musicians, comedians, and actors about their love of gaming.

BLAST Premier entered into a partnership with Stimorol that will see the chewing gum brand sponsor the tournament organizer’s Fall Final competition in December. BLAST and Stimorol will be creating campaigns, activations and activities to engage, reward and excite fans tuning in around the world, with a focus on Denmark. Stimirol’s branding will feature across BLAST’s world class CS:GO event at the end of the year, including branded content opportunities, a number of giveaways on offer and the creation of a bespoke playable CS:GO map.

XP Sports, a gaming energy supplement brand, partnered with Barstool Sports for their first ever College Gaming Championship. The seven-week tournament features top collegiate gamers from 64 universities who will compete to win The Barstool College Championship Belt. Games will take place on the Barstool Sports Twitch channel every Wednesday from 7-10p (with Thanksgiving week off) until the first ever Barstool Sports College Gaming Champion is crowned on Dec. 16. “There are few companies that have captivated both the gaming and collegiate communities like Barstool Sports and we believe XP Sports is a perfect partner for their first ever College Gaming Championship,” said Iovate Health Sciences Chief Marketing Officer Jarrod Jordan, the maker of the XP Sports brand. “This multipronged integrated partnership allows us to generate exposure, target new consumers and offer gaming solutions in a competitive marketplace.”

Riot unveiled a new partnership with personal finance company SoFi, with an eye to invest in new talent. The partnership sees the brand partner with the LCS on their annual League of Legends amateur event, the Honda Scouting Grounds. In addition, SoFi is working with Nerd Street Gamers to hold its own tournament for college-aged players, titled SoFi Meta Melee and beginning Nov. 20.

Generation Esports revealed an effort by the High School Esports League and the Army National Guard to bring fully equipped esports labs to 25 schools in North America. Selected schools will receive a state-of-the-art esports lab installation, complete with top-spec PCs, monitors, and accessories from brands ASUS and Intel. Additionally, selected HSEL-affiliated schools will receive a new hands-on enhanced league benefit in the form of a STEM learning curriculum to educate students on how to build and maintain the lab as well as offer career and college advice.

STREAM HATCHET TRENDS
This week, Stream Hatchet analyzed one of the fastest growing categories on Twitch: Just Chatting. Streams within the category range from casual conversations before streamers switch to playing a game or experiencing life events with various influencers. Since its creation in 2018, Just Chatting has been among the top games year-over-year with massive growth in 2020, much of which came from the impact of COVID-19 on the streaming industry.
· Just Chatting grew 130% in 2020 from 88M hours watched in January to 203M hours watched in October.
· In Q3 2020, Just Chatting generated about 522M hours watched placing it second behind League of Legends with 543M cross-platform hours watched.
· The growth of Just Chatting becomes more remarkable considering it is a category solely on Twitch whereas other games benefit from streams across all platforms. If other platforms outside of Twitch weren’t included, Just Chatting would be over 100M hours watched ahead of League of Legends in Q3 2020.
For more insights regarding streaming data and growth, please visit www.streamhatchet.com/insights.

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PLATFORMS
World Gaming Network and Collegiate StarLeague are combining their assets, resources, and more than 10 years of industry-leading platforms to launch CSL Esports in a move to “refocus efforts to create and provide opportunities for gamers and empower them through higher education.” CSL Esports is shifting its focus to engage colleges, universities, and high schools to offer an infrastructure that boosts opportunities for students to achieve a higher education through esports. “We are creating life-changing educational opportunities through esports,” said Rob Johnson, the newly named CEO, CSL Esports. “We have the unique ability to provide outstanding opportunities, necessary resources, and career development for aspiring esports competitors, as well as a platform that makes campuses attractive to potential students, increases alumni participation and becomes a revenue generator for the institution.” CSL Esports will continue to be supported by former WorldGaming Network and Collegiate Starleague CEO and industry veteran Wim Stocks who will serve as Chairman.

Amid layoffs and restructuring, ESPN is effectively terminating its daily coverage of the esports industry. The unfortunate news was expected given that some of the most prominent names on the staff of ESPN Esports had been informed that they were being let go or contracts would not be renewed. Executives at the company stated that esports would still be covered broadly and that ESPN would still be programming live esports events across its various media platforms. ESPN Esports had won Tempest Awards for its coverage two years in a row.

VENN unlocked a new syndication deal for its content through Microsoft’s MSN platform. Under the non-exclusive partnership, clips from VENN’s various series, including Locked In, The Download and Guest Ho use, will be shared under MSN eSports, a new part of Microsoft’s global content ecosystem which reaches over 500M people every month in over 180 countries.

TEAMS
Fnatic raised $10 million thanks to a new investment funding round led by venture capital firm Beringea. In addition, the team will be opening the doors to a new crowdfunding campaign through Crowdcube that allow fans to invest in the team and own a piece of the org. “We’ve been looking to conduct a crowdfund campaign for a while. This investment provides the perfect opportunity for our community, friends and enthusiasts to join our established investors and own a piece of Fnatic,” said Sam Mathews, founder and CEO of Fnatic. “Crowdfunding is a dynamic and increasingly popular way to fundraise as it provides an opportunity to transform our active and engaged community into investors by giving them the chance to get closer to our journey than ever before.”

EGLX 2020 saw Nick Eh 30 (who boasts 5.4 million subscribers) announce that he would be joining Luminosity Gaming. “It’s not just fans and audience to me, it’s always been about family,” said Nick Amyoony, A.K.A. Nick Eh 30. “With Luminosity’s support and world-class roster of gamers, I’ll be able to produce new content and experiences that bring us even closer. Really excited to see how the community reacts to all the fun plans we have.”

Cloud9 is launching a new annual subscription service for fans that will kick in with the New Year on Jan. 1. Access to the ‘Stratus’ program will be made available for a one-time payment of $500 or four payments of $125 with fans receiving perks such as an exclusive discord, monthly access to staff in the organization, social media perks, and exclusive merchandise.

Team Liquid announced the addition of a new YouTube personality to its growing talent roster. Amanda the Jedi will get started right away as host of Liquid Pop, an original series produced by 1UP Studios. The premiere episode of Liquid Pop will drop on Thursday, November 12 via Team Liquid’s YouTube channel.

CLG and goodr entered into a marketing partnership that names goodr an Official Partner for all CLG teams. The partnership includes a joint venture between CLG & goodr to create CLG branded sunglasses, available early 2021, as part of the GAME goodr sunglass collection. “CLG is proud to partner with organizations that align with our innovative, creative mentality and we believe our new partnership with goodr fits this objective perfectly,” said Dan Fleeter, COO, CLG. “We are beyond excited to collaborate with goodr and create CLG-branded glasses that our fans will love, and we are excited to work together on additional unique initiatives throughout this partnership.”

Following the sale of their own Call of Duty League franchise, Immortals Gaming Club raised $26 million in Series B-1 funding. The investment was raised to “fuel ongoing growth of the company’s core,” which is mainly their team brands. Meg Whitman, a board member and existing investor, led the funding round. “IGC is focused on investing aggressively in growth in competitive gaming, inclusive of our platform, non-team assets such as Gamers Club, and our core team brands Immortals and MIBR,” said Ari Segal, CEO of Immortals Gaming Club.

READYUP SPOTLIGHT
INDUSTRY

Esports infrastructure company Vindex became the first company exclusively in the videogame industry to join the World Economic Forum’s Global Innovators Community, a select group of the world’s most promising “scale-ups” at the forefront of technological and business model innovation. “We are honored to be the first company exclusively in the videogame industry to join the World Economic Forum’s Global Innovators Community,” said Mike Sepso, CEO of Vindex. “Esports is a global phenomenon, and the videogame industry is expected to hit $175 billion this year – more than movies, music, and many other sectors in entertainment. Vindex will work with the World Economic Forum to broaden global understanding of esports and work with private and public member organizations to promote the role of esports and gaming as a worldwide economic driver.”

ASUS revealed a partnership with IKEA
that will open the doors to a slate home gaming furniture designed by the IKEA Product Development Center in Shanghai. The “affordable gaming furniture accessories” will launch in 2021 with the US market receiving merch in October. The initial catalog will feature 30 products at the launch.

Electronic Arts, the National Hockey League and the NHL Players’ Association announced a multi-year partnership renewal. The new agreement allows EA SPORTS to accelerate authentic and innovative hockey simulation experiences for millions of players worldwide for years to come. “We are thrilled to accelerate fun hockey experiences for years to come, pushing the industry forward with our long-time NHL and NHLPA partners,” said Cam Weber, Executive Vice President & Group GM, EA SPORTS. “The EA SPORTS NHL franchise these past 30 years has become synonymous with hockey culture, and this extension will ensure it remains at the forefront of connecting millions of fans around the world to the sports through interactive entertainment.”

In addition, Electronic Arts and UFC secured a multi-year renewal of their partnership to continue to deliver authentic and innovative martial arts games. The pact comes as the world is playing and watching more EA SPORTS UFC and MMA fandom continues to grow. “We’re thrilled to extend our more than 10-year partnership with the UFC as we continue to build one of the fastest growing sports franchises in the world, based on the rapidly expanding sport of MMA,” said Cam Weber, Executive Vice President & Group GM, EA Sports. “This agreement will allow us to push the creative boundaries of mixed martial arts video games and connect millions more around the world to the culture of the sport.”

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1999: Elf Bowling is released
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In the game Risk, which continent is worth the most? (Email cpursell@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).

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Check out more jobs in Cynopsis Classifieds »
Job of the day
DIGITAL MARKETING COORDINATOR
EMERGING NETWORKS, LLC
REMOTE

Responsible for development and growth of web, mobile and social platforms. As well as, all overall support for all digital content efforts and tactical responsibilities as it relates to the website and social media strategy. Full info HERE (11/26)

MARKETING MANAGER (Always-On Show Lead) >>
WONDERY/LOS ANGELES, CA: Responsible for developing marketing strategy aligned to business goals to effectively and efficiently launch and maintain key Wondery shows. Must have 3 years of podcast marketing experience. Full info HERE (11/24)

MEDIA BUYER >>
WONDERY/LOS ANGELES, CA: Responsible for developing and executing media strategy including planning, analyzing and optimizing media campaigns. Must have media-buying experience and a passion for podcasts, audio storytelling and entertainment content. Full info HERE (11/24)

VP, MARKETING >>
BBC STUDIOS/NY, NY:
Seeking VP, Mktg for the Americas region, to design/implement an audience-led mktg/media strat to dev/enhance the commercial relationship between BBC Studios and its global strategic customers. Must have proven track record within a global Mktg envir, focusing on customer engagement and strong customer brand relationships. Full info HERE (11/24)


DIRECTOR, OWNED MEDIA >>
A+E NETWORKS/NYC: SME within the Consumer Mktg & Media team. You will develop and manage owned media strategy for the LIFETIME/LMN brands. Partner with Planning, Digital Media and On-Air Scheduling teams. 7yrs exp managing Owned Media within an Entertainment firm with deep knowledge of entertainment landscape, including competitive set and non-linear platform. Full info HERE (11/20)

MANAGER, BRAND MARKETING & STRATEGIC PLANNING
>>
NICKELODEON/NY, NY: Hardworking, pro-active and inquisitive Mgr for a newly formed Brand Mktg and Strategy team at Nickelodeon. This role will aid in defining Nickelodeon’s brand mission/values as well as Mktg efforts across series, brand, platforms, emerging media and more. Min 5yrs exp in consumer strategy, digital, mktg or media. Full info HERE (11/19)

DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT >>
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL HALL OF FAME/REMOTE: Seeking motivated individual responsible for the creation of a WBHOF donor base that will increase donations through donor relationships, contributions, capital campaigns and ongoing fundraising efforts. Proven track record with min 5yrs exp managing/forging relationships with multiple donor sources. Full info HERE (11/19)

SOCIAL MEDIA ASSOC PRODUCER >>
JUMA ENTERTAINMENT/Remote: Looking for creative and highly motivated individual to access and clear videos for network prime time clip series. Must possess a love of TikTok, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, and be able to navigate platforms. Full info HERE (11/18)

CONTENT CURATOR >>
A+E NETWORKS/REMOTE: Skilled/detailed oriented Curation and/or Operations professional who is passionate and knowledgeable about digital media curation, metadata and dist of content to 3rd Party aggregators. You will Curate A+E owned media content using internal media asset management tool. Quick learner with a min 2 yrs’ exp in video media operations. Full info HERE (11/18)

SR. DESIGNER
>>
NBCUNIVERSAL OWNED STATIONS & AFFILIATE RELATIONS/DALLAS-FORT WORTH: The Arthouse, NBCUniversal’s Owned Stations’/Telemundo Stations’ internal design team who supports newscasts is seeking a Sr. Designer with a broadcast design background, solid conceptual skills and 3D expertise. Min 4yrs exp, must be able to work on individual assign and team projects. Full info HERE (11/17)

SALES PLANNER
>>
JUKIN MEDIA/NEW YORK, NY:Seeking an individual who can combine creativity and strategy with a deep understanding of the digital media sales process. Must be able to work with clients, with a min of 2 yrs in advertising/media and a proven track record of building strong client relationships. Full info HERE (11/16)

VP, SCRIPTED SALES & CO-PRODUCTIONS >>
BBC STUDIOS/LA, CA: Resp for managing sales/co-prod activity in the fiction genres, with clients across both TV/digital. Need to deliver against a stretching bus plan and budget, maximizing the BBC Studios Catalogue through licensing and co-producing programme rights in the US for TV/VOD. 5yrs exp in programme dist, with an understanding of the UK TV industry. Full info HERE (11/16)


EXECUTIVE PRODUCER >>
Newsmax Media/NYC:
Responsible for designing and building shows, managing show hosts and production team, identifying and integrating guests, overseeing and executing the production of key video & graphic elements. 3+ yrs EP exp or political news & talk programming. Full info HERE (11/15)

ASSOCIATE PRODUCER >>
Newsmax Media/NYC:
Write for fast paced news and opinion show. You are an exceptional storyteller with a command of political news and cultural trends. At least 3 years of national or large market local news experience. Full info HERE (11/15)

SENIOR LINE PRODUCER >>
Newsmax Media/NYC:
Responsible for the production and execution of live political news programming, and recorded video segments for television, and digital platforms. 3+ yrs experience line producing. Full info HERE (11/14)

PRODUCER >>
Newsmax Media/NYC:
Responsible for the production of live news & talk show, and recorded video segments for television, and digital platforms. 3+ yrs in TV news and/or talk production. Full info HERE (11/14)


MANAGER, RESEARCH DIGITAL/ON-AIR MAGNOLIA >>
DISCOVERY INC./NEW YORK, KNOXVILLE: Strong strategic & data-oriented individual to partner on new Magnolia Network & oversee research and performance analytics to optimize Magnolia’s linear & digital presence. 5+ yrs analytics exp req’d. Full info HERE (11/13)

SOCIAL MEDIA ASSOC PRODUCER
>>
JUMA ENTERTAINMENT/Remote: Looking for creative and highly motivated individual to access and clear videos for network prime time clip series. Must possess a love of TikTok, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, and be able to navigate platforms. Full info HERE (11/13)

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