06/13/19: Immortals officially announced the acquisition of OpTic Gaming

CynopsisESPORTS
It’s Thursday June 13, 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.
 
 
 

Immortals Gaming Club
made its newest deal official, announcing the acquisition of Infinite Esports & Entertainment, the parent company of OpTic Gaming. The transaction, the largest change of control transaction in esports history, values Infinite at more than $100 million in enterprise value and makes IGC one of the world’s largest esports organizations with four distinct brands – Immortals, OpTic, MIBR and LA Valiant with a presence in both major franchised esports leagues League of Legends Championship Series and the Overwatch League. The transaction has already been approved by both Riot Games and Activision Blizzard and will see the company manage the Houston Outlaws, until its sale to a third party, per the rules of Overwatch League barring ownership of two teams in the league.
 
“Today, we announced a transformative transaction for our organization and a landmark transaction for our industry. Across our family of brands, OpTic; MIBR; LA Valiant; and Immortals, IGC’s total audience size is nearly three times larger than our nearest competitors,” said Ari Segal, IGC’s Chief Executive Officer.  “At the same time, our multi-brand strategy enables us to tailor content, messaging, voice, and experience for distinct communities and audience segments, driving deeper engagement and affinity. Armed with these brands, the best fans in esports, the legacy and tradition of great teams and players, and a newly reinforced and strong balance sheet, IGC is positioned to be a market leader and model organization.”
 
 
COMPETITION AND VENUES

 
The final stages of the Mid-Season Invitational and the MDL Disneyland Paris Major led the pack of tournament audiences in May, according to Esports Charts, with the mobile game tournament featuring Arena of Glory laying claim to the third spot worldwide. Among English speaking audiences only, Overwatch League Stage 2, IEM Sydney and ESL One Birmingham rounded out the top five in viewership.
 
The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) is turning to the United States eSports Federation (USeF) to oversee the development of AAU esports across the US. The AAU is one of the largest, non-profit, volunteer, multi-sport event organizations in the world, with more than 700,000 members across 41 sports programs, and tapping Allied Esports to serve as the production partner for the first AAU esports event at the AAU Junior National Volleyball Championships from June 16-28.
 
DreamHack, in partnership with CORSAIR, Esport-Management.com, and Monster Energy, unveiled plans for the 12th season of the Dota 2 tournament, CORSAIR DreamLeague, running during the debut of DreamHack Rotterdam with a $250,000 prize pool from Oct. 18-20. “It’s exciting to follow up last season’s grand event in Stockholm with shipping the DreamLeague experience to a new country. DreamHack Rotterdam will serve as the perfect setting for CORSAIR DreamLeague Season 12 with thousands of esports and gaming fans gathering at the Rotterdam Ahoy for the three-day festival,” said DreamHack Co-CEO Marcus Lindmark.

Competitive gaming platform FACEIT and Riot Games are teaming up to launch the Scouting Grounds Circuit, opening the door for League of Legends players to enter the pro scene. With a total prize pool of $60,000, the first season of the official qualifying circuit for LCS Scouting Grounds will take part during the months of July, August, and September and will see the top teams from the North American League of Legends scene compete in a multi-stage tournament. The two highest ranked teams will qualify for Riot Games’ LCS Scouting Grounds event in November, one step closer to competing in the prestigious League of Legends Championship Series (LCS).
 
Golden Tee, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, will see ESPN carry the Golden Tee World Championship, showcased as a 30-minute program that will run later this summer. “The World Championship is the perfect culmination of Golden Tee’s 30th anniversary,” said Don Pesceone, IT’s VP of Amusements. “We pride ourselves as one of the original esports, and our collaboration with ESPN speaks volumes to the longevity and competitive nature of our game that has been the driving force for decades.” The event takes place in Las Vegas from June 21-23.
 
Speaking of ESPN, the company created EXP, an event series featuring esports competitions at ESPN-owned events. Through a collaboration with Electronic Arts, Apex Legends will continue the series, which kicked off in May at the first-ever Collegiate Esports Championship, at two ESPN events this summer: the 2019 ESPYS and X Games Minneapolis 2019. EXP competitions will be a mix of professional, collegiate and pro-am formats, with multiple game IP and genres featured across the series. Live event distribution will be via multiple digital platforms including the ESPN app, and a tape-delayed show focused on key moments. The storylines will debut across ESPN/ABC linear networks after each event.
 
Newegg and Allied Esports are launching a new event titled Triple Crown Royale, which will take place at HyperX Esports Arena Las Vegas on June 22, with participants competing in three popular titles: Apex Legends, Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. The competition will be open to the public with the opportunity for select participants to compete against professional players from Counter Logic Gaming (CLG), including Marksman & Psalm from the CLG Fortnite team, and Emy & GooseBreeder from the CLG CS:GO Red team. “This is a great opportunity to bring together the Las Vegas esports community, from fans to the pros themselves,” said Mitesh Patel, VP Marketing at Newegg. “The HyperX Esports Arena has proven to be a popular gamer destination and we have a few surprises in store to make this event truly special.”
 
Capcom’s mid-season finals for the inaugural season of Street Fighter League Pro: US 2019 will be held June 28 at CEO. The Street Fighter League: Pro-US 2019 Mid-Season Final is the culmination of a double round robin tournament series featuring six teams and spanning 10 weeks of action. For the mid-season final, four teams will battle for a prize pool worth $57,000. Additionally, the two top teams will move to Season 2, where they will be joined by four new freshman teams.
 
WorldGaming Network announced the start of its second annual Rocket League esports tournament. Teams of three from the USA and Canada can now register for the Rocket League WGN North American Championship, a tournament that has more than $20,000 in cash and prizes up for grabs. The winner will receive $10,000 and will be awarded a spot to compete in the Rocket League Pro Circuit at Dreamhack Montreal.
 
The Esports Business Summit (www.esportsbizsummit.com) unveiled a lineup of 2019 keynote speakers that include: Ryan Wyatt, Global Head of Gaming Content, YouTube Gaming; Brad Hiranaga, Chief Brand Officer North America, General Mills; and Greg Via, Global Director-Head of Sports, Esports and Entertainment, P&G/Gillette. Themes and topics to be discussed at this year’s program include collegiate esports, women in esports, emerging markets, venues and communities, Team CEO roundtables, state-of-the-union addresses from the leading game publishers, fan engagement and metrics, best brand activations, and global perspectives.
 
 
TRENDS

 
In addition to generating fan engagement in tournaments, esports organizations often have streamers and pro gamers create user generated content (UGC) to further engage with their fanbases. This week, Stream Hatchet focuses on LCS franchises to understand correlations between premium esports content and UGC:
  • Team SoloMid is one of the leading franchises on Twitch: Not only does TSM lead in LCS hours watched (105k greater than the sample average), but the stream team generated 1/3 of the total UGC in our sample. 
  • Teams that perform better in the Rift generate higher streamer hours watched: The top most watched LCS teams (TSM, Team Liquid, and CLG) generated over 3M more UGC hours watched than competitor teams in our sample.
For more information on how esports organizations can be measured both inside and outside competitive arenas, visit our blog at: blog.streamhatchet.com.
 
 
ACTIVATION

 
Respawn, a mental performance drink for gamers, by gamers, announced multiple partnerships, including Subnation and eUnited. The alliance with Subnation is backing the E3 ESPORTS ZONE and LVL UP content series with Alex “Goldenboy” Mendez. “Esports is a global phenomenon, currently being considered as a demonstration sport at the 2024 Olympic Games,” said Sean Driscoll, Product Manager for Respawn. “And with the demands of the gaming community being so unique, we knew that we needed to create a special formula specifically for gamers that help them continuously perform at the top of their game.”
 
The Golden State Warriors and announced a multi-year renewal of their longstanding partnership with Ticketmaster continuing to serve as the Official Ticketing Partner and a Founding Partner of Chase Center in addition to powering ticketing technology as partners of the Warriors Esports affiliates the Golden Guardians and Warriors Gaming Squad.
 
Blood Centers of America are partnering with Team Liquid to drive awareness of the importance of blood donation and to encourage donations. Custom, limited Team Liquid t-shirts will be offered to everyone who donates blood in one of the branded buses or at a participating blood center location.
 
 
PLATFORMS

Emerge Gaming Limited, developer and operator of ArcadeX, inked a Term Sheet with Viacom for the phased international roll out of Nickelodeon-branded esports product NickX. The platform will serve as a kids-focused esports interactive tournament platform showcasing content from Viacom’s Nickelodeon. NickX will “allow Nickelodeon’s target market globally to engage in an interactive esports tournament platform that showcases unique games and content. The platform allows for brand affiliation through extended engagement hours and unique product retention.”
 
Westwood One tied up an alliance with Subnation to bring esports audio content to millions of fans across the country, beginning with a weekly feature in Westwood One’s nationally syndicated Zach Sang Show. The first regular feature will air on June 18 with heavy esports watchers more likely to be heavy AM/FM radio listeners, according to a recent MARU/Matchbox National Community study fielded in February 2019.
 
Super League Gaming acquired Framerate, an independent social video network in esports and gaming, that now boasts more than 100,000 followers and generates millions of video views and engagements per month across Instagram, InstagramTV, Facebook and Facebook Watch. “Framerate will be a major part of Super League’s drive to bring value to gamers through multiple forms of engagement,” said Ann Hand, CEO of Super League Gaming. “The company will be fully integrated into Super League, instantly expanding our audience reach, creating more awareness for our live and digital experiences, and becoming a foundational component of our content distribution network.”
 
Esports Championship Series organizer FACEIT is launching a new show via Caffeine that will serve as an exclusive overtime show during the ECS Season 7 Finals, titled ECS After Dark. The show will be hosted by Freya Spiers and Pala Gilroy Sen.

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TEAMS
 
Sterling.VC, which owns the Overwatch League’s New York Excelsior, established Andbox to oversee its esports initiatives, which will also include the New York franchise spot in the upcoming Call of Duty league to become “the first multi-franchise esports organization to represent New York in the world’s preeminent esports leagues.” Andbox will also focus on hosting additional esports events in and around New York City in addition to launching content and developing original lifestyle and apparel products.
 
Dignitas, the esports organization of the Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment, and Clutch Gaming, the esports franchise owned and operated by the NBA’s Houston Rockets, announced the first ever merger involving a League of Legends franchise in Riot Games’ League of Legends Championship Series (LCS). The merger marks the return to the series for Dignitas, which previously fielded teams in (pre-franchised) League of Legends leagues in both North America and Europe and see Clutch Gaming immediately roll into the existing portfolio of Dignitas teams, which includes a World Championship Rocket League team, a two-time World Champion Counter-Strike:Global Offensive female team, as well as outfits competing in Super Smash Bros. Melee, SMITE, Apex Legends and Clash Royale.
 
 
INDUSTRY

 
The Electronics Entertainment Expo 2019 continued to deliver a bevy of news along with 200 exhibitors for this year’s event. Setting aside game announcements, key headlines surrounding E3 include:
  • Microsoft announcing details for Project Scarlett, its next-gen console planned for launch in holiday season 2020 anchored by halo infinite as a launch title. The company also announced the acquisition of indie developer and publisher Double Fine and that the company purchased Psychonauts 2 from Starbreeze.
  • Ubisoft detailed plans for Uplay Plus, it new subscription service that costs $14.99 a month and grants players access to the “ultimate editions” of over 100 titles, hitting PC in September, and Google Stadia in 2020.
  • Speaking of which, Google announced that that the paid version of Google Stadia, offering 4K, 60fps, HDR streaming, will cost $9.99/month, although subscribers will still have to purchase games at full price to play and own them.
 
ESP Gaming has rebranded to Estars Studios, with the goal of aligning with sister company Estars, an esports engagement platform. It will continue to deliver production for esports events and content, offering a authentic video content production, tournament organization and logistics, venue management, influencer marketing and more. “We are thrilled to announce our new name as we remain committed to creating exceptional productions and events for our fans and partners,” said Estars Studios Co-Founder and President, Jeff Liboon. “We’ve grown beyond the initial vision for the company and believe this alignment with Estars positions us at the forefront of competitive gaming.”
 
The British Esports Association has agreed to participate in a new global investment fund aimed at esports, new media and the wider games industry. David Martin, Investment Director at EGF, said: “The aim is to create a fund not yet seen in the esports fund arena, for us that means using an EU country as the home location, publicly listing the fund on Nasdaq and placing ourselves in view of regulators, all whilst creating an open ended, evergreen, partially liquid fund targeting long term capital appreciation.”
 
 
POWER PLAYERS – Dr Lupo

7-Eleven, a sponsor of E3, tackled this year’s event by working with pro gamer and streaming star Dr Lupo onsite, where he interviewed E3 attendees, and broadcast “Hot Takes” conference news and more to gamers everywhere through livestreams and social. Cynopsis caught up with Dr Lupo to ask him about his experience at E3, working with Rogue and his dedication to leveraging his streams to benefit charity.
 
Lupo on E3 personal highlights: It’s difficult to go any further than beyond what City Project Red did during Microsoft’s presentation. Seeing Keanu Reeves on stage of course was guaranteed to be a hit. Cyberpunk looks extremely cool. It’s a genre me and my brothers are super into. Based on what they’ve done in the past, I have a feeling no matter what comes out of Cyberpunk, It’s going to be a hit. I am very excited for that. I thought I would like Halo the best, but it looked like a tech presentation. I played all of the Halos, but I hoped for a little more. I know they’re waiting for Scarlett’s release, though. Then Nintendo’s teaser for the Zelda: Breath of the Wild – that was the first time I’ve seen a developer do such a short snippet like that. Those three have been my favorite.
 
On the 7-Eleven partnership: With my career taking off in the past few years, I didn’t know how I was going to be able to do everything AND fuel myself while on the road. The 7NOW app covers everything I need in one fail swoop. It’s a no-brainer when you look at my travel schedule. It’s such a solid, easy choice with quality stuff. People relate convenient atmosphere with not great quality, but without a doubt there are so many great, high-quality options on the 7NOW app. They offer really, really good stuff. I’m 32, I have a son, my wife and I try to eat healthy on the road, which is easy with the 7NOW app.
 
On Rogue: Rogue is very much about family. A conversation I had with some higher ups at Rogue recently was about how there are people that you know whether they’re going to be a fit or if there will be conflict and I want people to associate Rogue with the feeling of being like part of the family. At the same time, you can knock business out of the park with them if needed. It’s always been family.
 
On leveraging streaming for social good: It’s going to be an interesting landscape over the next few years. Organizations are seeing what crowd sourcing does. Last year we raised $1.3 million for St. Jude. That’s huge. That puts us on the map for everybody. On top of that, with how prominent certain games are like Fortnite. I think we will see more charity related, integrated events. I think it’s a good opportunity for places like that, Jordan Fisher and I this weekend, whatever our duo wins, 100% of the money is split between St. Jude (my charity) and Jordan Fisher’s charity, United Friends. We will probably see that built into future games. It puts such a good light on gaming. Too often, media sheds gaming in a negative light but that is not the case, gaming does a lot of good and we will see that in the future.
 
 
ROSTER MOVES

Christopher Mann has been named VP of Partnerships with Dignitas. He previously worked at NRG and Endeavor.
 
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ON THIS WEEK in 1983: Capcom is established.
 
Trivia: Who portrayed Guile is the 1994 movie of Capcom’s Street Fighter? (Email chris-sports@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
 
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Which survivor in Left 4 Dead sacrificed himself to save the other survivors? Answer: Bill. Kudos: David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA

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Support the team in executing technical project management responsibilities and mitigating concerns/risk.
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MediaMath
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MediaMath
Chicago IL

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Bioware
Austin TX

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Bioware
Austin TX

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Obsidian Entertainment
Irvine CA

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Blue Isle Studios
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Blue Isle Studios
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Paradox Interactive
Berkeley CA

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Paradox Interactive
Berkeley CA

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inXile Entertainment
Newport Beach CA

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inXile Entertainment
Newport Beach CA

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Psyonix
San Diego CA

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You will build a wide network of external partners to assist the team in delivering the best products possible.
Director – Esports Production Operations
Twitch
San Francisco CA

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Conceptualize original video segments to complement live studio, remote location and gameplay segments.
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Twitch

San Francisco CA
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LiveRamp has entered into an agreement to acquire measurement company Data Plus Math, a media measurement company that works with brands, agencies, cable operators, streaming TV services, and networks to tie cross-screen ad exposure with real-world outcomes. “While TV continues to be the most engaging screen in the household, the landscape is shifting,” said Scott Howe, CEO […]

06/24/19: Cynopsis Media Tech Update

A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM VIDEA It’s way past Groundhog Day… (Or is it?)   If you forecast ratings day after day, your routine may feel like an endless time loop, doomed to Repeat & Repeat & Repeat & Repeat & Repeat.   Videa just closed the loop. Get more efficient, proven, data-driven forecasts.

06/24/19: FOX Sports preps for big Double Play

A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM THE PAC-12 CONFERENCE As the 2018-19 collegiate season ends, the Pac-12 is once again the WINNINGEST conference in the country with 13 NCAA titles   Leading the nation in NCAA championships for 14-straight years and with 526 overall   Combining a history of dominance with a future of excellence , the […]

06/23/19: Cynopsis Jobs

Job of the Week ANALYSTSony Pictures Entertainment TVCulver City CA Operate within a cross-functional research team in LA, as part of the greater US and Worldwide Research team, as it supports of all lines of SPT Businesses. 1+ yr professional exp in media & ent. Strong comm skills w/ability to and work well with others; […]

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