|Thursday December 15, 2022
Good morning! It’s Thursday and this is your early morning Esports brief.
The race for sought-after VALORANT partner positions is heating up
as non-partner teams build out rosters to compete for two years of guaranteed partner status in various regional leagues. The battle is most intense in North America, where in the last week and a half three new contenders have emerged to fight for two slots in the VALORANT Champions Tour that will be conferred to VALORANT Challengers teams that make it through the Ascension tournament. The winner and runner-up from that event will earn two years of eligibility in the VCT, which is the top tier of VALORANT competition globally.
G2 Esports, new organization M80 and TSM have all signed VALORANT Challengers rosters. G2 and TSM, which missed out on VCT franchising, will hope to earn their way in with tier one-caliber rosters, while M80, which was just announced last week, will try to make a splash in its first year as an esports organization. M80 is the brainchild of former XSET chief operating officer Marco Mereu, who left XSET in September after co-founding the organization in 2020.
The trio of teams will also face tight competition from The Guard, another legacy VALORANT organization that has competed internationally and hopes to earn its way into the VCT’s two-year program. Luminaries of the young-but-popular esports such as former Sentinels stars Shahzeb “ShahZam” Khan and Michael “dapr” Gulino (G2), Alexander “Zander” Dituri (M80), James “hazed” Cobb and Nicholas “NaturE” Garrison (TSM) and Trent “Trent” Cairns highlight those rosters.
The depth of Challengers talent in North America will certainly be a storyline in the league’s first year or franchising, and it’s worth wondering what kind of success story Riot Games can build through its Tier 2 events with several organizations that already draw dedicated viewership in the Challenger ranks. It’s also worth considering what some of these organizations will do and how their commitment to VALORANT could be affected if they can’t scrape into the partner program this year.
Rainbow Six Siege creator Ubisoft has partnered with tournament organizer BLAST as it adjusts the Rainbow Six global esports format going into 2023. The competitive season, known as the Rainbow Six Esports Global Circuit, will begin in March and include nine regional leagues: Asia, Brazil, Europe, Hispanic Latin America, Japan, North America, Oceania and Middle East-North Africa. The circuit will include Stage 1 competition from March to May 2023, followed by a three-month break before Stage 2 from September to November. Then, following another break, the game’s world championship, The Six Invitational, will take place in February 2024.
The Snapdragon Pro Series will host its Mobile Masters Brawl Stars competition to DreamHack Japan in May 2023. The tournament will bring together eight of the world’s best Brawl Stars teams to compete for a $200,000 prize pool and to become the first-ever SPS global champion. The event, put on by ESL FACEIT Group in partnership with Qualcomm, will take place May 13-14 in Tokyo with two teams apiece from North America; Europe and Middle East/North Africa; Asia Pacific; and India competing.
Former pro League of Legends player and coach Gabriel “Invert” Zoltan-Johan is creating a coaches association for North America’s League of Legends Championship Series and North American Collegiate League, according to The Jacob Wolf Report. The Esports Coaches Guild will be a non-profit organization that creates similar advocacy infrastructure to that of the players’ association for the LCS and NACL. “Having an equivalent for coaches and competitive staff, I find to be pretty important,” Zoltan-Johan told The Jacob Wolf Report. “The job itself has comparatively low job security, coaches don’t often have many rights, and often a lot of coaches are not represented by any sort of legal team or agent just because of potential conflict of interests that occur.”
Fortnite will continue its collegiate esports efforts with the Fortnite Collegiate Cup beginning in late January 2023. The event will feature a $50,000 prize pool available for U.S. and Canadian higher education students, with a solo tournament and trios event. More activations are expected later in the year via the Collegiate Carball Association’s partnership with eFuse, a tournament organization platform.
Top Thursday Night Football Games on Twitch
Amazon Prime Video has purchased the rights to stream this year’s Thursday Night Football on Prime Video. Amazon has also opted in to allow Twitch viewers to watch TNF live on their platform as well allowing viewers to stream Prime Time NFL games free of charge. Streaming live on Twitch helps reach a younger audience of football fans who have cut the cable cord and opt only for streaming services on their mobile devices or computers.
Through the first 14 weeks of the NFL season, 12 games have been streamed on Prime Video (the NFL’s opening game as well as the Thanksgiving Day games were not covered by Thursday Night Football). Over these 12 Games Thursday Night Football was able to generate 4.5M hours watched on Twitch.
| SPONSORSHIP & ACTIVATION
UK-based esports organization Horizon Union has partnered with meal replacement product CTRL to make CTRL “the official meal replacement and functional food brand partner of Horizon.” Don’t be surprised if CTRL sounds familiar; the gaming-focused meal substitute creator is activating across a slew of brands in esports and gaming, including recent activations with The Esports Awards and Belong Gaming Arenas.
Complexity Gaming plans to begin an advertising campaign with Buddybet, a social-focused site “that has digitized the handshake bet.” The campaign is set to begin in December, according to a statement from Complexity, and will feature the organization’s content creators competing in challenges native to the platform as well as amplification on Complexity’s social media channels, including four live broadcasts of an event called the Buddybet Gaming Challenge in Q1 2023. “Buddybet is an innovative platform that lets friends challenge each other in a fun and social app,” Justin Kenna, the CEO of Complexity parent company GameSquare, said in a statement. “Partnering with Complexity showcases the depth of our product offering and the creative approach that GameSquare’s vertically integrated platform can provide to brands.”
Team BDS has partnered with automated moderation service Bodyguard.ai to help the esports organization monitor its social channels, and it’s using the announcement as a platform for speaking out against toxicity and harassment in gaming forums. Team BDS fields teams in League of Legends, Rainbow Six Siege, Rocket League and several other titles, and its creators and teams expect to make use of Bodyguard.ai to both moderate content and raise awareness. “We are thrilled to be able to work with such a formidable gaming enterprise to raise awareness about the need to address toxicity in the gaming arena and challenge the industry to make it a better, safer, freer environment for all,” Bodyguard.ai head of gaming Arnaud Chemin said in a statement.
Esports venue developer Glytch plans to create a Columbus, Ohio, location, according to a report from the Columbus Business Journal. The new arena is part of Glytch’s plan to expand to 32 locations in the next eight years. Glytch plans to open its first four arenas between 2024-25, with seating for between 1,500 to 3,000 people. Columbus will join a suite of previously planned venues including Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago and Bellevue, Washington, according to Sports Travel Magazine.
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YOUGOV LIVING DATA INSIGHTS
What types of games are American gamers playing?
Nearly two-fifths of American gamers play action / adventure games (eg. God of War, Red Dead Redemption) on a PC or console, which comfortably makes it the most popular genre in the market.
Virtus.pro announced Nikolai Petrossian as its new CEO, bringing the former head of ESforce Holding to the top position at the Russian esports organization. Petrossian will replace Aram Karamanukyan, who is departing as CEO after just three months on the job. Karamanukyan will remain onboard as an investor, he said in a statement. “We made a decision to go forward with a more experienced CEO, the one that will be able to take charge of all the little things and nuances of the esports business establishment, communicate with managers from every discipline on a daily basis and be effective at operations management,” Karamanukyan said. “Nikolai was an obvious choice.”
Former TSM jungler Mingyi “Spica” Lu will join FlyQuest for the upcoming LCS season. Spica, who earned LCS MVP honors in the summer split of 2021, will hope to turn an up-and-down career in North America into some more stable showings alongside veteran top laner Jeong “Impact” Eon-young. “I think for this upcoming year, I’m just really excited to prove myself,” Spica said in an announcement video from FlyQuest. “I think 2022 really wasn’t a great year for me, so when FlyQuest presented me with this really great roster, I was really excited.”
League of Legends casting icon David “Phreak” Turley is retiring from broadcasting and will take a position at League developer Riot Games, the industry veteran announced. Turley, whose name is synonymous with North American League of Legends, will join the game design team for League of Legends at Riot.
Former VALORANT and League of Legends organization X7 Esports is shuttering, CEO Josh Kingett announced Wednesday. The team, Kingett said in a statement, was unable to secure additional funding for its operations after a “planned seed investment raise in January 2022 and again our re-attempt in April a few months later were derailed” by multiple economic factors. “Investors whom I can say we were very close to finalizing a deal with, instead chose to wait until the dust had settled amidst the new economic crisis,” Kingett said. “Given the circumstances, this was perfectly reasonable on their part despite the frustration with capital now unforthcoming.”
The Epic Games Store and other third-party app stores might have a home on iOS after all as Apple, preparing for the European Union’s Digital Markets Act, reconsiders its position on allowing alternatives. Bloomberg reports that the move would allow users to download software without using Apple’s App Store, “sidestepping Apple’s restrictions and the up-to-30% commission it imposes on payments.” The decision has ramifications for Epic and games like Fortnite, which was at the center of a 2020 lawsuit that sought to disrupt Apple’s first-party-only approach. The changes will only be in effect in Europe at first, according to Bloomberg, and are expected to go into effect in 2024, when EU regulators begin requiring compliance with the Digital Markets Act.
GameSquare Esports, the parent company of Complexity Gaming, has hit the Nasdaq via a definitive arrangement agreement with Engine Gaming that will bring the digital media company and streaming data analysis platform together. GameSquare shareholders will see 60% ownership of the combined company. “The merger immediately expands our scale, which we expect will help us on an accelerated path to profitability in 2023,” GameSquare CEO Justin Kenna, who will also hold that role for the combined company said. “As a combined organization, we will have an enhanced platform and expanded resources, including essential data and analytic solutions, to serve a broader base of global customers and accelerate growth.”
The next big thing in streaming could be … chessboxing? Last weekend’s Mogul Chessboxing Championship, put on by popular variety streamer Ludwig Ahgren’s Mogul Moves entity, was one of the more eyebrow-raising events on the streaming calendar this weekend. Ahgren’s event drew an in-person crowd at the 10,000-seat Galen Center at USC in Los Angeles and drew more than 315,000 peak viewers. Ahgren, who is also known for putting on a 31-day stream in 2021 that gave him the most-ever active subscriptions on Twitch at the time, continues to find ways to surprise and engage with viewers; it’s no wonder The Game Awards named him its Content Creator of the Year just ahead of his chessboxing event.
Infinite Reality, which owns esports organizations Rogue and the London Royal Ravens, has gone public via a business combination agreement with Newbury Street Acquisition Corporation. The agreement, according to a statement from the companies, will provide Infinite Reality with up to $128 million growth capital. “With this capital, iR will deliver a product suite that restores sovereign data ownership while accelerating and amplifying the value chain between audiences, creators, and brands in bespoke virtual environments,” Infinite Reality said in a statement. It’s unclear what impact, if any, the agreement could have on its esports subsidiaries, given the company’s focus on Web3 development and metaverse technologies.
READYUP EVENTS OF THE WEEK
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Time to switch it up with some timely sports trivia. Which World Cup player scored the most goals during the two semifinal matchups this week? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).
Answer to Our Last Trivia Question
What is the name of Bill Murray’s character in his classic holiday riff on A Christmas Carol? Answer: Frank Cross. Kudos: David Westberg/SAG•AFTRA Federal Credit Union, Burbank CA; Phyllis McQuillan/MSG Networks, New York
|VICE PRESIDENT OF AD OPERATIONS >>
BRIGHTCOVE/Remote: Operate and analyze ad tech stack, optimizing on the partner level as well as overall enterprise level. Onboard and manage new programmatic (SSP and Ad Network) partners and assist in any troubleshooting around SSP setups, partner integrations and ad delivery. 7-10+ years of ad operations experience in the programmatic ad tech ecosystem. Full info HERE (12/22)
DISTRIBUTION COORDINATOR >>
BBC STUDIOS/NYC: Frequently liaise with senior level internal & external contacts, screening & prioritizing all forms of incoming communications, dealing with routine issues & coordinating more complex responses ensuring these are delivered in a timely and effective manner. 3+ yrs of exp. providing administrative assistance at Executive level in the Media industry. Full info HERE (12/21)
SENIOR ANALYST – MEDIA RESEARCH
Latitude is searching for an experienced research analyst. This position will focus on client communications and managing projects across their entire lifecycles – from design/proposal through reporting and presentation. Ideal candidates will be experienced in media, and comfortable both analyzing research data and communicating with clients. Full info HERE (12/21)
DATA SCIENTIST >>
VEVO/Remote: Harness the power of Vevo’s data to provide better experiences for Vevo’s end users, advertisers, artist & label partners, along with deep insights for internal business groups. Full info HERE (12/21)
DIRECTOR, AD TECH >>
VEVO/NYC: Play a vital role in the success of the Ad Operations group by helping to drive revenue across key business initiatives. Responsible for helping to lead the technical ad implementation strategy across our ever growing distribution landscape. Full info HERE (12/21)
SALES & TRADE MARKETING MANAGER: PARTNERSHIPS & EVENTS >>
VEVO/NYC: Develop and position Vevo’s B2B brand among the advertising and buying community. Responsible for planning and executing strategic marketing initiatives that drive sales and further Vevo’s brand objectives. Full info HERE (12/21)
DIRECTOR, DIGITAL CONTENT & EMAIL MARKETING
Lead strategic design and user-experience vision for the current website, INSP.com. Make front-end and back-end design recommendations and evaluate the potential for a reimagined user-experience for the site. Manage multiple project timelines and executions simultaneously for maximum efficiency. 5+ yrs exp. leading management of a website property. Full info HERE (12/20)
VICE PRESIDENT, CREATIVE MARKETING & PROMOTION
Responsible for all elements of the creation, pre-production, production, and post-production of all on-air promotion videos, off channel ads, digital/social video content and other video projects created for other departments. Manage Creative Marketing & Promotion department. Min 10 yrs exp. at a broadcast or cable entertainment network. Full info HERE (12/20)
CREATIVE SERVICES DIRECTOR >>
HEARST MEDIA PRODUCTION GROUP/CHARLOTTE, NC: Lead promotion and brand management for our national marketing and digital content strategies. This role will interface with the management team, show producers, our national network and streaming partners, and program sponsors. Full info HERE (12/19)
RESEARCH DIRECTOR >>
HEARST MEDIA PRODUCTION GROUP/CHARLOTTE, NC: Support with audience and consumer information related to our national programming. This role will compile and analyze linear, digital and OTT cross platform viewership for the purposes of strategic planning and to create actionable internal insights and client presentations. Full info HERE (12/19)
SR. PRODUCER >>
MATTER OF FACT WITH SOLEDAD O’BRIEN/WASHINGTON, DC: Must have highly developed program production skills, a keen eye for visual and graphic show elements, and an editorial commitment to amplifying diverse voices in the conversation about the nation’s future. The Senior Producer will assist with production scheduling and budget. Full info HERE (12/19)
ASST. PROF. OF PRACTICE IN EMERGING CREATIVE MEDIA TECHNOLOGIES >>
TEXAS TECH UNIV./LUBBOCK, TX: Practitioner/teacher with min. 5 yrs. exp. In VR/AR/MR, virtual production, digital world-building, interactive media, human-computer interaction, motion graphics, VFX, etc. Apply by Dec. 1. Full info HERE (12/18)
STARZ/SANTA MONICA: Identify and successfully pitch programming to media, including long leads, dailies, weeklies and online publications; as well as secure electronic bookings; respond to media requests timely for information and interviews. Develop and maintain close working relationships with members of the press. 3+ years of entertainment exp. in public relations. Full info HERE (12/18)
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DIGITAL >>
TMZ/LOS ANGELES: Partner with the Head of Revenue & Strategy to develop new growth opportunities for TMZ’s digital products and execute various revenue initiatives. Optimize current suite of products (web, apps, other) against desired goals. 10+ years of work exp. including experience in programmatic and digital (display and video) advertising and online media. Full info HERE (12/18)
DIRECTOR, PRODUCTION STORAGE MANAGEMENT
Manage post production storage systems both on premises and in the cloud. Collaborate Production Operations team to ensure that workflows align across the wider A+E enterprise. 5 years experience as a Manager in post production technical support. Comprehensive knowledge of post production workflows and processes. Full info HERE (12/17)
MANAGER, DISTRIBUTION MARKETING >>
INSP/CHARLOTTE, NC: Develops strategy & annual goals for the Affiliate Monthly Campaign, executes the strategy & oversees the implementation of other assigned campaigns. Provides reporting, analysis & recommendations on assigned campaigns and oversees development of creative & content to support network distribution. 5+ yrs of related exp., 3+ yrs of management exp. Full info HERE (12/17)
MANAGER, CROSS PLATFORM AUDIENCE RESEARCH
Aggregate & analyze data from various sources to develop audience insights & help drive programming/marketing strategy across traditional and streaming platforms. 3+ years’ experience in media research at a broadcast/cable net, streamer or an agency. Strong Nielsen & data viz tools a must plus MS Office, quant, comm & presentation skills. Full info HERE (12/16)
DIRECTOR, CLOUD ARCHIVE STRATEGY & MNGT- MEDIA OPS
NYC or Remote
Primary point of contact for the development of standards, processes, procedures, metadata retainment & other functions related to “cloud” operations (AWS). Responsible for the operational development, scale & best practices of all on-premises and cloud-based archives. 10+ yrs of exp. in supply chain modernization, on-premises & cloud archives. Full info HERE (12/16)
EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT, US DISTRIBUTION >>
BBC STUDIOS/NY, CHICAGO, LA: Frequently liaise with senior level internal and external contacts, screening and prioritizing all forms of incoming communications, dealing with routine issues and coordinating more complex responses ensuring these are delivered in a timely and effective manner. Manage Executive’s travel logistics and scheduling. 3+ yrs of exp. Full info HERE (12/15)
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER >>
NEWSMAX/ NYC: Determine best news stories for the program and create daily rundown. Work with show host in program preparation and execution. Identify compelling news stories. Develop story ideas, research and plan segments. Delegate responsibilities as appropriate. Supervise production staff. 3+ years executive producing exp. or overseeing newscast production. Full info HERE (12/15)
HEAD of INFLUENCER TALENT >>
THE OUTLOUD GROUP/ Remote, DETROIT: Responsible for developing and expanding a roster of content creators and growing Outloud Talent as a business unit. You’ll provide one-on-one support and guidance to your roster of talent. Looking for someone with 3+ years of experience managing content creators and comfortable with building from the ground up. Full info HERE (12/15)
SALES SERVICE EXECUTIVE
Client and agency interface, attending client social events, and supporting the multi-platform sales process. Customize client presentations and provide effective information to drive budgets. Research target accounts and create strategy to break new business and increase share. Min of 3-4 yrs exp. in digital, radio or linear sales. Full info HERE (12/14)
DIRECTOR, SCHEDULING & ACQUISITIONS
SILVER SPRING, Hybrid Remote
Work closely with SVP, Scheduling & Acquisitions and team to develop programming strategies/schedules that achieve or exceed rating & revenue goals. Manage the production of network schedule grids from scheduling database & supervise schedule changes across platforms. Min of 5 yrs exp. scheduling and acquisition w/cable/digital channel or network. Full info HERE (12/14)
MEDIA SPECIALIST I, PRODUCTION FACILITY & CONTENT MANAGEMENT
SILVER SPRING, Hybrid Remote
Serve as the lead in initiating content request fulfillment by tracking and pulling requested media. Review, transfer, and archive all content that arrives on hard drives and DVDs. Upload, catalog, and archive media from photography and field shoots. 5+ years of experience in the field of digital media or cable/broadcast. Full info HERE (12/14)
|OTHER JOBS OF INTEREST
Manage and grow existing PC growth software products to meet business KPIs.
Senior Director, Software Growth
Collaborate with technology director/architect on technical design and feature roll out.
Core Engineer -XDefiant
Identify and analyze risks to the project timeline. Communicate risks to project management. Provide solutions to avoid potential risks.
Block out and build levels and iterate through playtesting and providing/implementing feedback.
Level Designer Director
People Can Fly
Collaborating with multiple disciplines, ensuring the correct partners are involved and informed throughout the development process.
People AI Designer
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Assist the Lead AI Designer in developing and executing plans to improve and expand the combat experience.
Senior Combat Designer
Manage design and implementation of client/server technologies and systems, including suggesting improvements and new systems that could benefit our titles.
Lead Online Engineer
Work closely with QA and technical leadership to ensure the stability and accuracy of systems by identifying, communicating and resolving defects.
Advanced Software Engineer, AI
Work closely with the production staff in building and maintaining realistic schedules and identifying dependencies.
Senior Software Engineer, Tools
Collaborate with different teams to improve existing and develop new functionality, pipelines, and workflows.
Senior Audio Software Engineer
San Mateo CA
Design, lead, and build the systems architecture that powers Roblox internal tools and ecosystem.
Principal Backend Software Engineer
San Mateo CA
Design and implement new features for the Battle.net account authentication and authorization SDKs.
Senior Software Engineer
Work collaboratively within the team and with other disciplines to encourage playtesting and feedback and rapidly iterate.
Senior World Builder, World of Warcraft
Directly manage Producers, Associate Producers and Coordinators assigned to your project.
Santa Monica CA
Work with modelers and texture/shader artists to optimize the visual look and run-time performance of the Environments.
Level Lighting Artist
Santa Monica CA