05/30/19: PEAK6 bought Evil Geniuses in a new investment

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It’s Thursday May 30, 2019 and this is your weekly early morning Esports briefing. For additional longer-form esports news plus jobs, a team directory, glossary, calendar and data, check out our new esports hub updated daily: http://cynopsisesports.com.
 

PEAK6 Investments announced the acquisition of global esports team Evil Geniuses. The team currently features a roster of players for titles that include Dota 2, Call of Duty, Rocket League, Fortnite, and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege. As part of the deal, Nicole LaPointe Jameson has been appointed CEO of Evil Geniuses, where she will lead the organization’s growth strategy and have day-to-day operating responsibility.”
 
“We’ve long been investors in traditional sports and are thrilled to enter the competitive gaming community in such an impactful way,” said Jenny Just, co-founder of PEAK6. “Having watched the esports industry grow and evolve, we are aligned with Evil Geniuses’ vision to create meaningful and innovative experiences for fans and athletes alike. This alliance enhances our mission to lead with an unrelenting competitive drive and a desire to embrace today’s consumer through technology.”
 
 
COMPETITION AND VENUES

 
FACEIT unveiled the debut of the FACEIT Pro Series: Apex Legends, described as the first officially-licensed tournament series based around EA’s battle royale title. The series will serve eight online events and award a total of $50K with the first event taking place May 31, as 16 teams compete, including 100 Thieves, CLG, G2 Esports, Cloud9, complexity Gaming, Dignitas, Fnatic, Gen.G Esports, Misfits, NRG Esports, T1, Immortals, Team Liquid and TSM.
 
The first ever eChampions League Final – a joint venture by UEFA and EA SPORTS – is now locked in to take place in Madrid on May 31 as eight of the best EA SPORTS FIFA 19 players compete on PlayStation, with the winner having the chance to raise the eChampions League Trophy aloft at the Estadio Metropolitano ahead of the UEFA Champions League Final on June 1. The competitors and their coaches will participate in an eChampions League draft and will go head to head to pick their teams, containing footballers who were involved in this season’s UEFA Champions League group stage.
 
Game Insight and ESL announced plans to bring the Guns of Boom Esports Pro Series to São Paulo, Brazil on June 8. This event follows the successful completion of Season 2’s first major Pro Series event in Texas. “Season 2 marked the growth of global competition for Guns of Boom Esports as we began our expansion into new territories, welcoming our most avid players from around the world into professional play,” said Nikita Sherman, Head of Strategy, Game Insight. “As part of this global commitment, we’re pleased to bring our Pro Series competition to one of the most exciting esports venues in Brazil for the first time.”
 
Time’s running out to get in your entry for The Tempest Awards! Honoring the best in the esports business, this hugely popular event will take place during September’s Esports Business Summit at HyperX Esports Arena Las Vegas on Sept. 11. Click here for more information and enter your hard work now!
 
Enthusiast Gaming Live partnered with Ubisoft Canada to host the Rainbow Six Canada Nationals and bring the Ubisoft show floor activation to Enthusiast Gaming Live Expo in October 2019. The Rainbow Six Canada Nationals will kick off in June 2019 and conclude in a live finals at EGLX 2019 on October 20, in downtown Toronto at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
 
Tomorrow sees the Clash Royale League West open its 2019 Season at the OGN Super Arena in Manhattan Beach. CRL West competition will include some of the world’s most elite esports organizations, including Team Queso, Team Liquid, Tribe Gaming, Complexity, Immortals, Misfits Gaming, SK Gaming, Fnatic, Dignitas, NRG, paiN Gaming, and Cream Esports. Matches will air on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays on the Clash Royale Esports YouTube Channel.
 
DreamHack Dallas announced that it will see The American Video Game League and High School Esports League launch high school and college esports matches at this year’s event form May 31-June 2. As part of the ongoing DreamHack + AVGL Collegiate Series, the AVGL will run Rocket League and Apex tournaments among 20 teams on the main stage of DreamHack Dallas. Rocket League tournaments will be held Friday, May 31 from 10a-3p, and Apex tournaments on Saturday, June 1 from 10a-3p. Participating universities include: University of North Texas, UT Austin, UT San Antonio, UT Arlington, Texas A&M, Louisiana State University, University of Oklahoma, Baylor University, Texas Christian University. The High School Showdown: Smash, presented by HSEL, will feature eight teams from area high schools who are showcasing  five of their best Smash players each by busing them to Dreamhack, where they’ll compete in a Crew Battles tournament.
 
 
TRENDS

Although publishers like Riot Games and Activision/Blizzard often take on the task of building vertically integrated esports structures, others turn to tournament organizers like the ESL. The ESL will work alongside publishers and brands like Intel to construct sustainable esports tournaments and leagues across multiple IPs. This week, Stream Hatchet investigates aggregate data of ESL events to understand what games have seen the greatest benefit:

  • Increased investment correlates with higher viewership: Games with more events and prizing (CS:GO & Rainbow 6) generated over 88% of the ESL tournament H. Watched in our sample. 
  • CS:GO is about more than the money: Of the games in our ESL tournaments sample, CS:GO generated the highest ratio of H. Watched per Prize Dollar. The ratio was $6 higher that the sample average. 
  • Dota2 as a Dark horse: The second highest ratio of H. Watched per Prize Dollar was generated by Dota2 ($10). Dota2 also generated the 2nd highest ratio of H. Watched to tournaments (3M per Tournament).
For more on how analytics and gaming video content intertwine, visit our blog at: blog.streamhatchet.com.
 
 
ACTIVATION

After testing the waters of Cloud9, Puma has decided to take a deep dive with the team, locking in an expanded sponsorship with the organization in a multiyear deal to develop a full apparel collection and see the brand serve as the official Apparel and Footwear sponsor of Cloud9 Esports (not including the Overwatch League’s Spitfire). Full apparel collections will begin to roll out starting in September with product available at Puma and Cloud9 online stores, and at Puma retail locations around the world beginning in 2020. In addition, the brand will launch a media campaigns to support launch of the new collections. “We are ecstatic to expand our relationship with Puma,” said Jordan Udko, EVP of Commercial Partnerships at Cloud9 Esports. “This deal enables us to elevate the Cloud9 brand beyond esports and get us in front of new consumers around the world.”
 
DreamHack dialed up a new partnership with Samsung to become the primary partner for the DreamHack Mobile Series. The partnership will first be visible during DreamHack Summer (Jönköping, Sweden), June 15-17, and during a special DreamHack Mobile Series qualifier at the Samsung Experience Store in Stockholm on June 9. Samsung will deliver the official tournament mobile phones, with the flagship phone Samsung Galaxy S10 in focus but also with Samsung Galaxy A70. Samsung will also be present with a large booth in the expo area showcasing products for visitors to experience.
 
ESL announced a sponsorship deal with Euronics International, an international retail group specializing in electrical goods. The alliance will focus on the ESL One tournament in Hamburg in October and also include National Leagues in key markets that include France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. Activation will launch in-store across all markets and around events with branding in and around the venues, players, fans and across all digital platforms, offering the ideal opportunity to connect audiences and develop customer relationships and promote the Euronics brand in new and existing markets.”
 
The Golden Guardians, the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) affiliate of the Golden State Warriors, entered a multi-year partnership with Zenni Optical to become the Official Eyewear of the team. To tip off the partnership, Zenni and the Golden Guardians will host an activation at the LCS Summer Split tailgate on June 1 at the LCS Studio in Los Angeles; members of the Golden Guardians will use both Zenni prescription eyewear and their signature Blokz blue blocker lenses.
 
Bandai Namco Entertainment announced that Astro Gaming signed on to become the official audio sponsor of the Tekken World Tour and would be doubling the $100,000 prize pool for the series for the Tekken World Tour Finals in Bangkok later this year. In addition, Astro Gaming will sponsor an online tournament series titled the Astro Path to Tekken Masters.
 
Twitch locked on a multi-touch advertising and sponsorship program with the Hershey’s and Reese’s brands designed to connect the brands across the spectrum of Twitch including media, team sponsorship, influencer sponsorship, event sponsorship, and ecommerce. In addition to video advertisements, the program will include all the following additional elements:
  • TwitchCon North America 2019 participation
  • Sponsorship with DrLupo and his wife, MrsDrLupo
  • Sponsorship with TimTheTatman
  • Additional Twitch influencer sponsorships to support key product initiatives
  • Twitch Extensions creation and bits usage
FlyQuest announced that tea brand teaRIOT would join the team as the first-ever Official Energy Drink of FlyQuest. This multi-year deal includes branding, live events, and content integration, with activations also including the FlyQuest College Esports Career Workshops, a career panel and networking fair event aimed at introducing college students to new esports careers and companies working in the esports industry.
 
Turtle Beach extended its continued partnership as the preferred audio partner for gaming YouTuber Ali-A. The partnership will see Ali-A continue to use Turtle Beach’s range of audio products and participate in community engagement. Ali-A has the largest Call of Duty channel in the world and has recently achieved the accolade of being the most popular global Fortnite YouTuber. Ali-A currently has over 22 million combined subscribers, and 12.9 billion minutes of his content was viewed on YouTube in 2018.
 
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PLATFORMS

Dignitas named Caffeine, the social broadcasting platform, as its exclusive broadcast partner. Through a multi-year partnership, all official Dignitas team-focused content will be exclusively live streamed on Caffeine and the pair will now produce original digital series that highlight popular teams, including Dignitas’ World Championship-winning Rocket League and female Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) teams. Caffeine will also become the official broadcasting partner for Dignitas’ upcoming influencer initiative that will produce original content and live shows for leading influencers at the confluence of gaming and pop culture.
 
League of Legends Esports unveiled Pro View, a new premium viewing experience that will be available for the Summer Split of the LCS & LEC and allow fans to spectate the individual players of their choice during competitive League of Legends matches. Revenue from Pro View will be shared with partnered teams competing in the leagues. Additional features within the Pro View Package include:
  • Multiview: Watch up to four synchronized streams (POV or main event) at once during live games and VODs
  • Advanced Timeline: Kills, tower takedowns and other big plays are marked right on the timeline, and clicking a marker jumps to that moment in the game
  • Watch With Friends: Share a personalized Pro View URL to synchronize your timeline with friends
WorldGaming Network announced a first-of-its-kind partnership with SCENE, Canada’s largest entertainment rewards program. Beginning June 28, SCENE members can earn more points by participating in weekly esports and video gaming tournaments hosted through WorldGaming Network’s online platform. The tournaments will enable gamers to compete for a weekly prize pool of up to 50,000+ SCENE points, which can be redeemed for a variety of great rewards, including movies at their local Cineplex theatre. “We are proud to run the world’s leading grassroots competitive gaming tournaments and content platform, and our new partnership with SCENE helps us build on our existing success,” says Wim Stocks, CEO and General Manager, WorldGaming Network. “Esports and competitive gaming is becoming more and more mainstream, appealing to a broad base of gaming enthusiasts, and we are excited to extend our platform to the over 9 million SCENE members across the country.”
 
 
TEAMS

100 Thieves made its pickup of popular content creator Jack “CouRage” Dunlop official, where he will now join Nadeshot and Valkyrae in the newly sponsored Cash App Content House LA, which will be the filming location for two new shows coming in June: The CouRage & Nadeshot Show and Nadeshot’s video podcast, Self-Made. The CouRage & Nadeshot Show, presented by Cash App, will showcase the creative side of the former pro players and premieres in June. The show will feature a diverse list of content creators and entertainers as guests, including Valkyrae, Pokimane, and more. Nadeshot’s video podcast Self-Made, presented by Rocket Mortgage, will be focused on him as a CEO and his entrepreneurial spirit. Self-Made will also premiere in June and will feature high-profile guests including Hecz, iJustine, and more.
 
Mike Tyson is now the latest celebrity to jump into the world of esports, with the former world heavyweight champion’s company Tyson Ranch locking in a substantial investment in the esports team Fade 2 Karma. The F2K-TR partnership will include a fully dedicated streaming facility that is currently under construction in El Segundo, titled “The Ranch House” that will include include private streaming rooms; a performance stage for tournaments; content production; a DJ booth for events that will utilize the facility’s rooftop party deck; high-speed fiber optic cable and video screens.
 
OverActive Media added the Madrid-based, MAD Lions Esports Club under its umbrella. The purchase of the MAD Lions E.C. establishes the OAM headquarters for its European and Latin American Team Operations facility in Madrid. OAM now owns 15 teams in seven different countries, including the three major franchised leagues.
 
 
INDUSTRY

With EA Play just over a week away, Electronic Arts announced plans to offer three hours of live stream content on June 8, featuring news, gameplay and insights from six of the company’s biggest franchises, starting at 9:15a. Titles will include: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, hosted by Greg Miller and Andrea Rene; Apex Legends, hosted by Alex “Goldenboy” Mendez; Battlefield V, hosted by Julia Hardy and EA’s Adam Freeman; EA SPORTS FIFA, hosted by Mendez, EA Sports Madden NFL, hosted by NFL Network’s Adam Rank; and The Sims 4, hosted by Rene.
 
The Entertainment Software Association called on World Health Organization Member States to rethink their decision to include “Gaming Disorder” in the 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases, stating “The WHO is an esteemed organization and its guidance needs to be based on regular, inclusive, and transparent reviews backed by independent experts. ‘Gaming disorder’ is not based on sufficiently robust evidence to justify its inclusion in one of the WHO’s most important norm-setting tools.”
 
Microsoft added enhancements to its standard Xbox Developer Kit designed to support streaming and Project xCloud, per a new post on Microsoft Wire. “The power of Project xCloud – the seamless compatibility for developers and the new places to play for gamers – comes from Azure datacenters spanning the globe, with hardware that shares a common set of components with our Xbox consoles,” read the statement. “We’ve already deployed our custom Project xCloud blades to datacenters across 13 Azure regions with an initial emphasis on proximity to key game development centers in North America, Asia and Europe. Leading global development teams such as Capcom and Paradox Interactive now have the ability to easily test their games directly from Project xCloud without having to port to a new platform.”
 
Gamescom organizers announced plans to head to Asia for a new convention taking place Oct. 15-18 at the Suntec Singapore Convention Center. Gamescom Asia will be split into industry and public days with an eye to host esports events, cosplay celebrations and more.
 
Call of Duty fans will finally uncover the name of the next title today at noon. Activision teased the announcement on social media with all of the official Call of Duty social media accounts changing their images from Black Ops 4 to a black-and-white CoD logo, and apparently teasing the next version of the game by putting “Going Dark” in their respective account bios.
 
 
ROSTER MOVES

Overwatch League Commissioner Nate Nanzer is moving from Junkertown to Junk Junction, announcing his departure from Activision Blizzard this week, while Epic Games confirmed to media that he would join their company to oversee esports for its games, including Fortnite. “Hey Overwatch League family,” Nanzer posted on Twitter on Friday. “I wanted to share that soon I will be leaving Blizzard for a new opportunity. This has been the toughest decision of my life, because it means I won’t get to work with the best staff, players, teams, owners, partners, and fans in esports anymore. I can’t emphasize enough how proud I am of what we’ve all accomplished together. It has been the honor of my life to have been part of the team that helped build the league of #breakthrough, #BurnBlue, #pdomjnate, #CaptureHistory, #OWL2019, and many more.” Pete Vlastelica, who oversees all of Activision Blizzard’s esports products, will step in as Nanzer’s replacement.
 
Gaming influencers P2istheName, Jason Mewes, The Warp Zone, EwokTTV, Datto, and ReviewTechUSA have signed with Abrams Artists Agency’s Gaming & Esports department under the Alternative Programing, Digital Media, Branding & Licensing Division. “The Abrams Artists Agency gaming department under the Alternative Programing, Digital Media, Branding & Licensing Division is continuing to boom with a wave of impressive newcomers and well-established influencers in the world of esports and gaming,” said Brian Cho, President and COO. “With the addition of these power players, it will allow the agency to help take them to new levels and further build their individual brands through new and exciting opportunities.”
 
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