06/06/19: Rick Fox will stay with Echo Fox

CynopsisESPORTS
It’s Thursday June 6, 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.
 
 
 
ReKTGlobal added another voice to its lineup of investors, announcing the addition of Latin music producer Tainy and music executive Lex Borrero as investors. Fresh off the esports entity’s Series A announcement that raised $10.8 million in funding, Tainy and Borrero will now join EDM staple Steve Aoki and Billboard Award-winning Imagine Dragons as co-owners of the organization, the parent company of professional global esports organization Rogue.
 
 “We’re excited to add Tainy, the legendary Latin music producer, as well as his manager and award-winning executive, Lex Borrero, as investors in the ReKTGlobal family,” said Amish Shah, founder of ReKTGlobal and co-owner of Team Rogue. “With Tainy and Lex’s support, we look forward to continuous growth and elevation of Rogue Nation’s global footprint in Latin America and beyond.”
 
As co-owners, Tainy and Borrero will support the growth of ReKTGlobal and Rogue in Latin America through strategic partnerships. They will also create and deliver creative streaming content alongside Rogue players and strengthen awareness around the team’s Junior Rogue program for amateur gamers and enthusiasts.
 
Tainy is know nfor his production on Cardi B, Bad Bunny and J Balvin’s “I like it.” He co-produced all but three of the 14 tracks on Balvin’s 2018 “Vibras,” and is working on his first-ever album that will release later this summer. In announcing the investment, Tainy said, “As a passionate gamer and supporter of Rogue, I’m excited to join ReKTGlobal as an investor. When I’m not in the studio, I’m gaming – playing everything from League of Legends, NBA 2K and Final Fantasy to Gears of War, whose soundtrack I’m currently working on, in addition to my own album.”
 
Lex Borrero, who recently won ASCAP’s Song of the Year Award as publisher of Zedd’s “The Middle,” adds, “I’ve been watching what ReKTGlobal has been doing in the space since 2017, and I love their vision of merging music and gaming. When the opportunity came up, it was a no brainer.”
 
 
COMPETITION AND VENUES
 
Esports Stadium Arlington has tapped esports marketing and consultancy firm Abacus3 to sell naming rights and sponsorships for the venue. A 100,000 square foot stadium in Arlington, Texas, the Esports Stadium Arlington is one of the biggest dedicated esports arenas in North America. The center opened this year, and has hosted multiple events, including the FACEIT Esports Championship Series finals for the sixth season.
 
At E3 next week, Ubisoft is partnering up with Twitch to host a celebrity tournament for Rainbow Six Siege. The event will immediately follow Ubisoft’s press conference on June 10 will culminate the weekend with a face-off between two celebrity-led teams captained by Lil Yachty and T-Pain. T-Pain and Lil Yachty will be competing for a prize pool of $50,000 to be donated to charity, while the streamers that are participating will earn a share of a different $50,000 prize pool. Streamers participating include ZanderLP, Sacriel, BikiniBodhi, Annemunition, Therussianbadger, Lil_Lexi, and Bnans.
 
Esports tournament organizers FACEIT will host the FACEIT Ignite: Halo European Open for Halo 3 in partnership with develop 343 Industries in London this summer. And it’s got an impressive venue:  London’s Twickenham Stadium, which typically hosts rugby matches.Qualifiers in North America and Europe will be held in the lead-up to the event. At the LAN event held from August 17 to 18, 32 teams will compete. Alongside the event, a small two-on-two tournament for Halo 5 will be held.
 
The developer is still figuring out how Halo esports events will move into the future, and 343 Industries said that it’ll keep an eye on the results and feedback from the community to determine how European events are held in the future. “Looking further ahead, it could mean that more events will be jointly-operated and jointly-funded, which would potentially mean more support and activity in more regions, and in a manner that’s sustainable for all parties involved while continuing to provide the great experience fans and players expect from Halo esports,” the developer said on its blog.
 
 
INDUSTRY

Echo Fox owner Rick Fox will stay with Echo Fox after reports of him considering leaving the organization earlier this year. Speaking on The GG Podcast, Fox said he will “fight to get this person out of Echo Fox.”
 
 Last month, Fox told TMZ Sports that he would stay with Echo Fox if the organization dropped a racist investor who used racial slurs in emails. The team confirmed that the minority investor did indeed use the racial slurs in emails and in-person. Later in May, League of Legends developer Riot Games directed the organization to “take appropriate corrective action” to remove the investor from the company or face consequences from the league.
 
 
TRENDS
 
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.”
 
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ACTIVATIONS
 
German health insurance provider Techniker Krankenkasse will serve as esports event organizer ESL’s “official health partner,” the companies announced in a press release. The two-year partnership will see the companies hosting a Techniker Krankenkasse namesake tournament for students, which will end in a finals match at gamescom 2019 in Germany. “As more and more people dive into the virtual world, it is up to us as a health insurer to bring up the health aspects of the esports trend in the discussion,” Techniker Krankenkasse CEO Jens Baas said in a statement. “Physical fitness and a balanced diet clearly influence performance in esports: good esports athletes train as much offline as they do online.” Other activations, like education events, will be held during ESL One Hamburg.
 
BITKRAFT has partnered with Roundhill Investments, a registered investment advisor and ETF sponsor, to launch the Roundhill BITKRAFT Esports & Digital Entertainment ETF (NYSE ARCA: NERD). As the world’s first Esports specific ETF, The Roundhill BITKRAFT Esports & Digital Entertainment ETF (“NERD ETF”) is designed to offer investors exposure to Esports and digital entertainment by providing tracking, before fees and expenses, to the performance of the Roundhill BITKRAFT Esports Index (“NERD Index”) The NERD Index consists of globally-listed companies who are actively involved in the competitive video gaming industry, including video game publishers, streaming network operators, video game tournament and league operators/owners, competitive team owners, and hardware developers. Roundhill’s methodology first screens all potential companies and confirms that they meet minimum market capitalization and liquidity criteria.
 
Jens Hilgers, Founding Partner of BITKRAFT Esports Ventures, commented, “Together with the Roundhill team we are taking an important step forward in making esports more easily accessible on the public financial markets. The Roundhill BITKRAFT Esports & Digital Entertainment ETF enables institutional investors as well as individuals to participate in the long-term growth of esports and the underlying entertainment trends. Essentially, this ETF enables esports fans to invest in the field they love and believe in.” 
 
Said Will Hershey, CEO of Roundhill, “More than just launching and operating the ETF, the Roundhill team is taking a next-generation approach on marketing and storytelling of the product tailored to a digitally-native target audience that is increasingly seeking out ways to invest in investment themes they see shaping their world.”
 
Another day, another deal for Cloud9, which announced a partnership with Microsoft designed to “co-innovate new technologies in esports.”  The multi-year agreement will see the two brands l dedicate resources to develop new tools and technologies that will enable Cloud9 players and staff to uncover game-changing insights across a variety of titles in which Cloud9 competes.
 
“Using a range of Microsoft’s commercial and consumer products and services, we will work with Cloud9 to build tools that will help them train more efficiently and determine their best strategies to win.” said Mike Downey, Director of Sports Technology at Microsoft. “Pairing the technological expertise of Microsoft with some of the world’s best gamers and coaches, we have an opportunity to develop some really innovative technology.”
 
With this agreement, Microsoft becomes an Official Technology Partner and the Official Performance Analytics Partner of all Cloud9 branded teams, including the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) team and the Counter Strike: Global Offensive team. “As our organization looks at reaching new heights this year and next, we are incredibly excited to use the power of Microsoft technology to help get us there,” said Jack Etienne, Cloud9 CEO and Owner. “At Cloud9, we are all about giving players the tools they need to succeed, and with Microsoft leading the way for us, we’re going to have the competitive edge.” The two companies say fans can look forward to seeing new stats, more engaging and interactive content, and deeper analysis to better understand their favorite players.
 
“Teaming the leading technology company with the number one esports organization further elevates our competitive edge for the long term.” said Jordan Udko, Cloud9 Executive Vice President of Commercial Partnerships. “The partnership represents the natural evolution of an existing commitment of being a players first organization. Providing our players with best in class support is core to who we are.”
 
Detroit-based Rocket Mortgage continues to leverage esports opportunities, this time locked in a deal bring one of the biggest esports events in North America to Detroit at Little Caesars Arena on August 24 and 25 to experience the 2019 League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) Summer Finals presented by Rocket Mortgage.
 
“We are doubling down on esports by supporting one of the biggest tournaments in the sport and bringing it to our hometown. The esports community strongly aligns with what we stand for as the nation’s largest FinTech lender– industry disruption and groundbreaking innovation,” said Jay Farner, CEO of Quicken Loans. “This is the latest in a long history of big innovative events to connect with passionate fans – from the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic and the Billion Dollar Bracket to the Rocket Mortgage Homestretch Sweepstakes – so bringing one of the biggest esports events to Detroit is the exciting next step.”
 
In addition to bringing the 2019 League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) Summer Finals presented by Rocket Mortgage to Detroit, Rocket Mortgage is also an active sponsor of 100 Thieves and their LoL team, which will participate in the tournament.
 
“We’re proud to partner with Rocket Mortgage as they become the first-ever presenting sponsor of the LCS Summer Finals,” said Chris “Chopper” Hopper, Head of Esports for North America at Riot Games. “We always strive to bring League of Legends to new locations around the region and are excited to offer one of the top esports events in North America to the passionate fans in Detroit for the first time.” Ticket information for the 2019 LCS Summer Finals Presented by Rocket Mortgage will be released on June 18 on lolesports.com.
 
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