12/16/21: CDL is Boston bound; Big Sky’s college course; Gen.G’s new CEO
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For more info, visit SNEAKYBIG or call 480-344-0100 Thursday December 16, 2021 Good morning! It’s Thursday and this is your weekly Esports Brief. Robert Kraft is expanding his esports roots, with Oxygen Esports and his team Boston Uprising merging and expanding to include more than a dozen rosters competing a primary focus on Activision Blizzard’s Overwatch League and Call of Duty League, where OXG will now compete as the 12th team in the upcoming 2022 Call of Duty League season with a Boston franchise.
In tandem with the expansion, OXG also announced a $20 million capital raise that will be led by Banner Ventures, along with many current and former professional sports figures with ties to the Boston area. Notable investors include Danny Ainge, who brought three NBA championships to Boston as a Celtics player and General Manager as well as four-time NFL Super Bowl champion Rob Gronkowski and his brothers.
“I’m excited to welcome our newest team, Boston, to our 2022 season line-up,” said Brandon Snow, Head of Activision Blizzard Esports. “Oxygen Esports and Kraft Sports and Entertainment represent some of the very best organizations in all of esports, sports and entertainment. Boston is no stranger to championship titles, and we fully expect them to build a winner in Boston as we open our third season in Call of Duty League.”
“This is an exciting team to be a part of,” said Gronkowski. “Oxygen Esports is developing infrastructure and building a sense of community for gamers of all ages in the New England area while providing an opportunity for the most elite to showcase their talents at the professional level.” The official closing of the financing is subject to League Office approval. COMPETITION The VALORANT Champions grand final scored viewership record, according to Esports Charts, as the battle between Acend and Gambit Esports garnered peak viewership of 1,089,068. Overall, the tournament averaged over 469,000 viewers and topped 46 million hours watched.
Meanwhile, Riot Games mapped out plans for the 2022 VALORANT Champions Tour with competitions in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. Next season will feature the return of international competitions, a new tournament series during the off season, and a global Game Changers event that will showcase the best women’s teams from around the world. The 2022 season also will create a new Challengers format designed to create more competition between top teams at the regional level. The all-new Regional Leagues will deliver eight new competitions that start on Jan. 24. Finally, Riot Games will launch a new additive tournament series that will take place between VCT seasons.
Major League Soccer and Electronic Arts unlocked the schedule and details for the 2022 season of eMLS, the official esports league of Major League Soccer. Play will begin in January, with 27 pro FIFA players, each representing an MLS Club including the addition of Charlotte, on the virtual pitch. If ongoing pandemic conditions allow, this year’s eMLS will see a return to in-person competition hosted at MLS Club stadiums and local concert venues in Cincinnati, Chicago, and Austin, where the eMLS Cup will be an official event of SXSW. For the first time, all participating MLS Clubs will stream each of their season qualifying matches on their respective official social channels, providing Clubs with new competitive content representing up to a record-setting 350 hours of live coverage. Coca-Cola, Cheez-It & Pringles, JLab, and PlayStation will return as official partners of eMLS.
DreamHack lined up plans for 2022, with a world tour once again on the docket. In 2022, DreamHack will host 10 festivals in 9 major cities, including a return to Dallas, Valencia, Rotterdam, Hyderabad and Atlanta, Georgia, USA; and DreamHack Summer and Winter in Jönköping, Sweden. In addition, DreamHack will make its debut “down under” in Melbourne, Australia; and will host its first-ever festival in Madrid, Spain. “Gaming brought, and kept, us together during these challenging times all around the world, so I cannot begin to share how excited we are to be back in person with our community,” said Krzysztof Pikiewicz, SVP of Festivals, ESL Gaming. “DreamHack creates a space for our community to connect, explore, win, play, and be themselves through an interactive, gaming lifestyle experience — and while we are offering DreamHack winter as a LAN-only event, bringing our full festivals back to life next year is going to make for some very special experiences for our community of fans.”
However, DreamHack is cancelling DreamHack Anaheim, previously scheduled to be an in-person event at Anaheim Congress Center from Feb. 11-13, 2022. The decision was made “due to increased difficulties in hosting the festival in a qualitative way.” “We were all really looking forward to our first in-person festival in the United States in two years, so canceling DreamHack Anaheim was not an easy decision,” said Krzysztof Pikiewicz, SVP of Festivals, ESL Gaming. “However, DreamHack creates a space for our community to connect, explore, win, play, and be themselves through an interactive, gaming lifestyle experience and we simply didn’t feel like Anaheim would be able to live up to that in February. We are now focusing on DreamHack Dallas and DreamHack Summer in June and can’t wait to welcome our community back at those festivals.” DreamHack is working with 343 Industries to offer the North American Regional Championship — originally planned to take place at DreamHack Anaheim — as a stand-alone event on the same dates at the same venue.
In college news, the Electronic Gaming Federation locked in a partnership with the Big Sky Conference, adding all 11 schools under its tent. With the additions, EGF now has participation from over 200 teams representing almost 100 colleges and universities from across the country, as well as full participation from both the MAAC and BIG EAST Conferences as well as the Big Sky. “Partnering with the Electronic Gaming Federation is a big step in the right direction toward advancing our vision for esports in the Big Sky,” Commissioner Tom Wistrcill said. “Expanding the competition library available to our 11 member institutions thanks to support from a major player in the industry will provide immediate and significant benefits to our esports athletes and their campuses.”
MOONTON Games and ONE Esports are teaming up to launch the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Women’s Invitational. The all-female tournament will feature up to 10 women-led Southeast Asia teams and run Jan. 27-30.
ESL Gaming is tweaking its ESL Challenger structure within ESL Pro Tour for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. For the upcoming Season 40 on ESEA, ESL is adding a new League division for Asia-Pacific, providing a clear path for Asian teams to enter the Masters level of ESL Pro Tour. The EPL Conference is the first stage of the ESL Pro League, which will see 16 teams from across all EPT Challenger tournaments compete for their shot to the prestigious ESL Pro League Group Stage.
Nintendo’s 30-year history will be showcased during B/R Gaming’s four-night celebration of Nintendo games and systems — B/R Gaming’s Nintendo Switch Winter Challenge. Hosted by Erin Ashley Simon and Jordan Kent, the event will feature teams that include SNL star Melissa Villaseñor and New York Mets pitcher Trevor May, competing in classic Nintendo games while raising money for charity. The event will run on TBS from Dec. 20-23 the first three episodes at midnight and the finale airing at 11p.
JBL’s annual global gaming tournament, JBL Quantum Cup, is returning this weekend on Dec. 17-19. Viewers can tune in on JBL’s Twitch channel with competition across Fortnite, CS:GO and Apex Legends. Watch parties will be hosted by JBL ambassadors that include BrookeAB, Tommey, Hiko, Enable, NiceWigg, and Rated. STREAMHATCHET Trovo, a live streaming platform backed by Chinese game conglomerate Tencent, has experienced strong growth over the past 12 months. The streaming platform has increased hours watched from 6 million in November of 2020, to 36 million in November of 2021, a 423% increase year over year. While these gains are impressive, the platform has a ways to go should it hope to disrupt titans like Twitch, YouTube & Facebook. Here are the key data points on Trovo:
· How significant is 36 million hours watched? While the 30M hours watched increase is certainly impressive, Twitch generates roughly 60M hours watched every day. Additionally, YouTube and Facebook Gaming generate approximately 90M hours a week.
· What are people watching on Trovo? Trovo has begun to establish a strong global audience among latin american audiences. The top three streamers on Trovo for Q3 2021 were international broadcasters (DaarickOficial, TIIBU & ItsOnlySkillz).
For more data on live streaming, esports and gaming creators, visit us online at: StreamHatchet.com SPONSORSHIP & ACTIVATION Red Bull and VALORANT are expanding the multi-year (2022-2025) esports partnership agreement for VALORANT Champions Tour North America which will include four annual Red Bull-hosted community VALORANT community tournaments. For the next three years, Red Bull will return as a Signature Partner for VCT NA, having unique rights and opportunities including usage of a Signature Partner Mark, access to VALORANT IP, and the opportunity to pursue joint co-marketing programs around the game in North America.
FIFA is introducing a new commercial partnership structure designed to offer “more tailored opportunities to partner with the sport of football, leverage the FIFA brand and support its competitions.” Three distinct partnership verticals are being launched this week with a range of packages available across Women’s football, Men’s Football and esports/gaming. “As we continually work to make football truly global, accessible and inclusive, we recognized the need for a nimble and customizable commercial structure that enables brands big and small, global and local, to connect with all aspects of the beautiful game,” said Kay Madati, FIFA’s Chief Commercial Officer. “The new model will allow our partners to create more tailored programming and marketing activations that align directly with their strategic business goals, and connect them to the world’s most passionate fans, in the world’s most engaging sport.”
The Global Esports Federation locked in partners for the Global Esports Games, a multi-title esports competition. Among the lineup of sponsors will be Samsung, TikTok, Singapore Airlines and Razer for the event, which spans Dec. 18-19. The slate will include Dota 2, Street Fighter V and eFootball 2022, with more than 40 countries expected to compete in the event.
Zippo lit up a new integrated marketing partnership with the Pittsburgh Knights. The partnership will incorporate key products such as the Zippo Windproof Lighter and Zippo’s line of HeatBank Rechargeable Hand Warmers. Zippo will have branding on the team jerseys and will collaborate with the Knights franchise and players, including AlphaKep and XXiF as the upcoming seasons ramp up and the iconic brand continues to solidify themselves as a trusted choice for esports champions. Save the Date!
Esports Business Summit 2022 is back in Las Vegas on November 1-3 at the MGM Grand.
If you’re looking to understand the power of esports, learn how your brand can profit from this billion-dollar industry and make the connections you need, EBS is your gateway to get in the game.
REGISTER NOW AND SAVE PLATFORMS YouTube announced that Minecraft has now scored over 1 trillion views on for game content across the platform, amassed over the past decade, since the game went out of beta in November 2011. Overall, Minecraft’s YouTube community has over 35,000 creators from over 150 countries.
Swedish esports organization Ninjas in Pyjamas and Team Gullit, the world’s first FIFA academy, announced the creation of TG.NIP — a new FIFA team that will compete in the FIFA Global Series. With the creation of TG.NIP, NIP and Team Gullit guarantee themselves a spot in the FGS Masters program. INDUSTRY Guy Beahm, aka er Dr Disrespect, is teaming up with industry veterans Robert “fourzerotwo” Bowling and Quinn DelHoyo to launch the new game studio Midnight Society. The studio is backed by Sumit Gupta, with an eye to involve communities and influencers early in the development process. The studio is currently in development on its first title. ROSTER MOVES Gen.G promoted Chief Operating Officer Arnold Hur to his new role as Chief Executive Officer. The move comes after former CEO Chris Park announced plans to shift to an advisory role. “I’m very excited by the incredible cultural impact our organization has had on the esports industry due to our global community that we’ve built of players, fans, and business partners. I have a firm belief that you can’t build community without conversation, and I’m excited for the opportunity to more deeply engage with our community to develop the next chapter for our TigerNation fan community,” said Hur. “We remain focused on continuing to build our brand more deeply across the world and developing new business models for the esports industry through innovative partnerships across education, entertainment and music with forward thinking brands like McDonald’s, PUMA and LG Ultragear.”
Game Taco named Nancy MacIntyre and James Kim to its senior executive ranks. MacIntyre will serve as General Manager, Direct to Consumer, and Kim was named Chief Operating Officer. The announcement was made today by Game Taco Founder & CEO Joshua Barrow, to whom both will report. READYUP EVENTS OF THE WEEK CYNOPSIS RESOURCE CENTER
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