Top streamer Ninja locked with a deal with clothing company PSD Underwear to launch a line of boxer briefs inspired by the Twitch competitor, announcing the partnership yesterday. The collection will be unveiled next month. PSD Underwear is a company owned by NBA stars Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler and Chandler Parsons.
Intel is celebrating the hunt, inking a deal with The PUBG Global Invitational 2018 to become worldwide sponsor of the event. The company will now power all of the tournament’s PCs with the 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8700k processors to help fuel the largest tournament ever for the title. “We’re delighted to join forces with Intel for PGI 2018, the first global PUBG esports tournament hosted directly by PUBG Corp.,” said Richard Kwon, CMO, PUBG Corp per Twin Galaxies. “We believe the commitment Intel is making to the event will help us in further unlocking the potential of PUBG esports as we continue to expand our efforts to audiences around the world.”
HyperX announced that Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver and dedicated gamer JuJu Smith-Schuster signed on to serve as a brand ambassador for the company. Smith-Schuster will exclusively use HyperX headsets during his gaming sessions as part of the deal. As an ambassador, Smith-Schuster will include HyperX branding on his live streams, participate in HyperX marketing campaigns and appear at HyperX fan events. Smith-Schuster recently gained notoriety in the gaming world when he and other notable gamers, including Ninja, Drake and Travis Scott, shattered Twitch viewing records together.
Gaming headset and audio accessory brand Turtle Beach announced another partnership, locking in Australian esports organization Tainted Minds as their official audio partner. The new partnership will see all Tainted Minds pro gaming teams and players use Turtle Beach’s Elite Pro line of professional gaming audio equipment, as well as other Turtle Beach gear and accessories.
Last week’s announcement that Immortals were picking up defunct Brazilian esports brand MIBR carried with it some sponsorship news while the new MIBR team will now boast a roster of former SK Gaming players from Brazil who will relocate to Los Angeles to train on the Immortals Campus. The team revealed it has landed two major sponsors for the new MIBR team with non-endemic brands Tinder and Betway signing on as partners.
This week, FanAI analyzed eight esports teams and their social overlap with high-performance gaming hardware company Razer. Four out of the eight teams analyzed are sponsored by Razer (Gen.G/Seoul Dynasty, Immortals, 100 Thieves, and SK Gaming), while the remaining four are not. The three teams that had the greatest social overlap with Razer are all sponsored by Razer, which suggests that Razer sponsorships have been highly successful in driving team followers to begin following the Razer brand.
Twitch scored a couple of milestone in recent weeks. First of all, E3 saw viewership hit an all-time high on the platform this year, at least on Twitch, with a record-breaking 2.9 million concurrent viewers tuning in on June 10 and topping the previous benchmark of 2.5 million, set in January. In addition, viewers watched more than 1.6 billion total minutes of related Twitch content during the annual event, marking a rise of 106.6% year over year.
Meanwhile, Riot Games became the first Twitch channel to hit one billion views. The company met the milestone during a League of Legends contest between OpTic Gaming/FlyQuest on June 24 as part of the 2018 North American LCS Summer Split.
Documentary Girl Got Game premieres Wednesday, July 18 at 8p on The CW. Follows CLG Red, an all-women team in the world of esports and the first to land a major sponsor.
Big news for staple agency UTA, which is moving into the esports space with the formal acquisition of Press X, an esports talent agency, and Everyday Influencers, a management company, with co-founder Damon Lau set to oversee UTA’s esports division, reporting to UTA Games head Ophir Lupu and UTA Ventures head Sam Wick. The move now formally brings over 90 esports athletes and personalities into the UTA fold. “As we identify and adopt early trends within the digital ecosystem, we recognized that the acquisition of Press X and Everyday Influencers would be a forward-looking opportunity for us,” said UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer in a statement. “The gaming sector is projected to reach over $135 billion this year and esports and streaming are critical components of any strategy for growth. For UTA, these categories are complementary to our existing gaming practice and our business overall.”
Goldman Sachs reports that the esports market will see revenues hit $2.17 billion by 2023 with a compound annual growth rate of 18.6%, according to a Reuters report. The revenue total takes into account a variety of sources for esports income, including media rights, ticket sales, merchan dise, sponsorship, publisher fees, and direct advertisement. “The growth of this market is attributed to the increasing popularity of video games and growing awareness about esports,” the group said. “However, the threat from esports gambling/betting is restraining the growth of the market.” Meanwhile, the report says that esports are on track to reach the same number of viewers in 2022 that the NFL now has today, according to the research.
PUBG Corp. dropped its lawsuit against Fortnite developers Epic Games, according to Dot Esports. Earlier in the year, PUBG Corp., an affiliate of South Korean studio Bluehole Inc., sued Epic Games in a claim that they had copied the PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds format for its Fortnite Battle Royale offering. However, according to the local court system in Seoul, the case has been closed, with PUBG Corp. sending a letter of withdrawal to Epic’s attorneys.
The IOC and the Global Association of International Sports Federations will host an Esports Forum on July 21 at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne in order to “explore synergies, build joint understanding and set a platform for future engagement between the esports and gaming industries and the Olympic Movement.” Invited participants will include representatives from across the esports and gaming ecosystem: players, publishers, teams, media, sponsors and event organizers. GAISF President Patrick Baumann said: “Along with the IOC, the GAISF looks forward to welcoming the esports and gaming community to Lausanne. We understand that sport never stands still and the phenomenal growth of esports and gaming is part of its continuing evolution. The Esports Forum provides an important and extremely valuable opportunity for us to gain a deeper understanding of esports so that we can jointly consider the ways in which we may collaborate to the mutual benefit of all of sport in the years ahead.”
POWER PLAYERS – G2 Esports’ COO Peter Mucha
G2 Esports recently named Peter Mucha to the company’s senior executive team as the Chief Operating Officer and tasked him with managing and strategically growing G2 Esports operations worldwide, including leading the integration of a successful operational structure, defining and implementing business growth strategies, and leading the global operational teams that are crucial to the all-around success of G2. Mucha joined from the Symanto Group and previously held senior positions with Adidas, Microsoft, Universal Music and Activision.
He now takes the helm of a team with deep ties in League of Legends as well as CS:GO, Hearthstone, Rocket League, Paladins, and more. Cynopsis asked Mucha about taking on the role and his plans for the European squad.
Mucha on the G2 Esports opportunity: It was a perfect fit for a few reasons: esports is currently the fastest growing market out there, and it provided me with an opportunity to bring my background in sports, data and entertainment into one position at an organization with a lot of potential. Carlos and I immediately clicked – the cultural fit was just right from the start, and Carlos’s vision for G2 Esports and the industry was very inspirational. He’s also leading an incredibly ambitious and hungry-to-succeed team of people, who are holding themselves to very high standards. I wanted to be a part of that.
On immediate goals: G2 is already on a very fruitful road to competitive and business success, so my immediate goals are centered around supporting them on this path. First and foremost, I want to provide Carlos with a partner he can trust and rely on long-term, so he can focus on the brand, our competitive success, and the strategic direction of the company. That’s a challenge that comes with structuring a lot of operations and setting the organization up for success, building best-in-class structures across the board – from marketing to support for our teams and partners. Additionally, I want to capitalize on the incredibly impressive 3.5 years of unprecedented growth in branding, competitive success and vertical expansion – including increasing merchandising capabilities, expanding distribution channels and building long term, strategic partnerships with endemic and non-endemic stakeholders.
On challenges to teams today: That’s an interesting question because a lot of things that many – myself included – would consider challenges also present a lot of opportunities for growth. Take, for instance, the talent pool: before esports reached “mainstream” status, the talent pool was low. Today, the talent influx coming from other industries forces old-school organizations to adapt or make way. We are an industry with an outstanding growth rate, so we have the challenge of salaries (for players but also other stakeholders) growing unreasonably higher and faster than revenues. The capital influx coming from other industries is the main cause of that, and the stakeholders focused on increasing their market share know that every dollar today is worth 10x as much tomorrow. I also think that outside of the heavily endemic and passionate-about-esports group of people, newcomers will have a hard time finding partners who will educate them – who have the right pedigree, experience and skills. As a result of these likely underwhelming partnerships, some investors and partners alike grow hesitant on the esports opportunity.
On franchising: Long-term partnerships of this type change a lot of things in esports, most notably our quest to find the ideal competitive structure, which simultaneously could be different for each type of game out there. I think the biggest change deriving from that will come from esports’ ability to forge new types of partnerships: the serious, longer-term deals that will make it possible for everyone to make more accurate forecasts and predictions. Those types of partnerships are relatively new in esports, as there’s never been a point in time where teams and players have been able to make more elaborate plans with regards to their contracts and revenue coming in. I think this will be one of the most effective ways to create an ecosystem that allows fans to passionately follow their favorite teams, players and brands for decades to come – just like they do in other entertainment industries.