06/21/18: ELEAGUE is bringing in some new faces for the return of CS:GO

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It’s Thursday June 21, 2018 and this is your weekly early morning Esports briefing. 


ELEAGUE will once again set its sights on CS:GO this summer, announcing plans for the ELEAGUE CS:GO Premier 2018 starting July 21 at 2p, with content on both its Twitch channel as well as on B/R Live. In addition, live coverage will be available through ELEAGUE’s Game Command mosaic video player, which gives viewers access to thousands of different in-game viewing angles. A multi-part feature series revisiting the tournament’s best moments will be presented starting August 24, on TBS. The $1 million purse will see the top eight teams for the title compete, including Astralis, FaZe Clan, Natus Vincere, mousesports, FNATIC, Liquid, Cloud9 and SK Gaming. Teams will be split into two groups of four teams each, and will play best-of-three matches in a double elimination bracket. The top two performing teams from both groups will advance to the single elimination Playoffs, held Saturday and Sunday, July 28-29.
 
Talent is set to include Jason “Moses” O’Toole and Janko “YNk” Panuovic with Anders Blume returning as a commentator, joined by James Bardolph and Daniel “DDK” Kapadia. Alex “Machine” Richardson will make his ELEAGUE debut as host of the CS:GO Premier 2018, and Sue “Smix” Lee will provide the latest from the ELEAGUE Arena stage during the Playoffs.
 
 
COMPETITION and VENUES


Speaking of Richardson, ESL revealed its faces for ESL One Cologne from July 3-8, with Richardson tapped to host the analyst desk, along with Chad “SPUNJ” Burchill, Janko “YNk” Paunovic and Duncan “Thorin” Shields. OJ Borg serves as stage host, while Matthew “Sadokist” Trivett and Henry “HenryG” Greer call the action with Jason “Moses” O’Toole and Lauren “Pansy” Scott.
 
PUBG Corp. opened ticket sales for the first-ever PUBG Global Invitational 2018 tournament pitting 20 top professional PUBG teams from around the world competing for a piece of the $2 million prize purse. PGI 2018 will be held at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin, Germany from July 25-29, with all ticket tiers set to include one-day admission to PGI 2018 and the Wasteland Collection, a set of PGI-exclusive in-game items, consisting of the Reaper Mask, Doomsday Hoodie, Survivalist Slacks, and the Pan of Judgment. Meanwhile, 20 of the top professional PUBG esports teams from North America square off starting Friday at the PGI North America Qualifier finals tournament.
 
Formula 1 announced the 40 online racers who have qualified for the next stage of the F1 Esports Series 2018, the Pro Draft. July 9 will see representatives from the nine F1 teams participating in the F1 Esports Series use the Pro Draft to select which drivers in London, with contenders coming out of four online qualifying rounds and 66,000 players who competed. Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport, Red Bull Racing, Hype Energy eForce India F1 Esports Team, Williams, Renault Sport Team Vitality, Haas F1 Esports Team, McLaren, Toro Rosso Esports Team and Sauber F1 Team will all be offering positions in their driver line-ups as part of the series. Every team must select at least one of its drivers from the Pro Draft.
 
The 2018 Hearthstone Championship Tour is set to play host to its first seasonal championship at the Blizzard Arena Los Angeles as 16 players compete for their share of the $250,000 prize pool and a seat at the HCT World Championship. Casting duties will see Cora “Songbird” Georgiou host with casting duos: Dan “Frodan” Chou with Brian Kibler, Simon “Sottle” Welch and Darroch Brown; and TJ “Azumo” Sanders with Nathan “ThatsAdmirable” Zamora. Play starts June 28 with the Group Stage.
 
The H1Z1 Pro League announced its prize pool for the season and payout breakdowns with $300,000 on the line overall. Tonight sees the 75 battle royale players compete for the top spot as the first split of the H1Z1 Pro League’s inaugural season comes to a close with $75K awarded to the top five teams at the end of each split, and a $150K grand prize will be up for grabs at the end of the season.
 
Disney Channel and Nintendo are partnering for a new take on competitive gaming, announcing the Nintendo Switch Family Showdown, which will be showcased on the Disney Channel and Disney XD, and streamed on the DisneyNOW app this summer. The series will pit families against each other on a colorful Nintendo-themed set as the group compete in a series of challenges in Nintendo Switch games, like searching for collectibles in Super Mario Odyssey, competing in head-to-head matchups in Mario Tennis Aces and participating in dance-offs in Just Dance 2018.

Legendary motor race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and its organizer the Automobile Club de l’Ouest formed a joint venture dedicated to esports with Motorsport Network for the Le Mans esports series. The online series will be launched online on August 18 to coincide with the FIA World Endurance Championship round at Silverstone with offline qualifying events at WEC rounds in Fuji, Japan in October (Asia qualifier), Autosport International Show, Birmingham in January (Europe & Middle East qualifier) and Sebring, Florida in March (US & Lat Am qualifier). “We are delighted to be able to launch this new esports series at our British round in August,” says Gerard Neveu, CEO FIA WEC. “We know from the worldwide fan survey we carried out last year that we have a growing number of younger fans following us on social media. This series allows us to create and grow an esports community of gamers specific to endurance racing.
 
Blizzard Entertainment is launching the Korea StarCraft League, an official Blizzard-operated StarCraft league based in Seoul. Korea StarCraft League will become Blizzard’s flagship esports tournament for the real-time strategy game, with online qualifiers starting June 28 and a prize pool of around $150,000. 
 
Red Bull announced plans for Red Bull Rise Till Dawn, a dusk to dawn Fortnite Battle Royale duo competition on July 21, taking place on the 99th floor of Chicago’s famed Willis Tower. The tournament will start as soon as the sun sets at 8:21p and continue throughout the night as teams battle to accumulate the most points possible before the sun rises over Lake Michigan at 5:35a. One hundred teams of two will embark on their overnight mission competing for points based on end game placement and eliminations of other players and feature streamer, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins and a teammate of his choice.
 
The NBA 2K League, which began its inaugural season on May 1, has set a deadline of June 29 for NBA teams looking to participate in the league’s 2019 season. The league’s initial 17 teams for its inaugural season have paid $750,000 and committed to a three-year participation. No further details on whether the buy-in will be larger going into the second season, according to reports.
 
Call of Duty esports could soon be adding franchising to its arsenal. Multiple outlets reported this week that Activision Blizzard plans to “launch team sales for the Call of Duty professional league” later this year, according to the company’s 2017 annual report, and first spotted by Dot Esports. “Later this year we intend to expand the number of Overwatch teams and launch team sales for the Call of Duty professional league,” the annual report reads. “Over time we believe our esports initiatives could rival traditional sports for audience interest, advertisers, sponsors, ticket sales, and merchandise sales (both virtual and physical).”
 
Objective unlocked and the clock’s ticking! Entries are NOW open for the 2018 Tempest Esports Business Awards, honoring the industry’s most innovative companies, personalities, campaigns, and executives. With categories that span production, marketing, talent and technology, your team’s work in the space will not go unnoticed. Enter before July 19 to save. Awards will be presented at the Esports Business Summit on Oct. 2.
 
Riot Games unlocked a multi-year deal to bring the League of Legends Oceanic Pro League Finals as the headline event for the inaugural Melbourne Esports Open at Rod Laver Arena. The deal spans through 2022 with the Finals taking place this year on September 2.
 
NBC Sports carries the 2018 NHL Gaming World Championship, held Tuesday night at Esports Arena Las Vegas, with NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app premiering the digital broadcast on June 25, while a special one-hour television broadcast airs on NBCSN on June 28 at 8p. Meanwhile, Sportsnet carried the event in Canada with a broadcast on June 26 at 4p, while Viasat will debut the event on TV3 Sport on June 27.
 
 
INSIGHTS


Last week, the Fortnite Pro Am tournament gave Twitch viewers a taste of what Epic Games has in mind for esports. This week, Stream Hatchet’s insights focus on the growth of the Battle Royale genre in streaming and esports using a year’s worth of historical data.
  • While the popular of MOBAs and MMORPGs have remained mostly static throughout the year, Battle Royale increased in popularity by 300 percent in Q2 of 2018.
  • PUBG and Fortnite account for 97 percent of the time watched of Battle Royale Last week Realm Royale, the Hi-Rez Battle Royale, surpassed PU:BG with 100,000 more hours watched.
  • The Fortnite Pro Am, the first official tournament organized by Epic Games, has surpassed the hour consumption of 4 of the top PU:BG tournaments this year.
For a further breakdown of the Battle Royale genre and its impact on game streaming, and esports, visit our blog at: blog.streamhatchet.com
 
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ACTIVATION


Coming off a championship for Overwatch League’s stage four, the LA Valiant are now focusing on the playoffs for season one, courtesy of a “Live the Legacy” campaign. The OWL squad is teaming up with fellow city teams the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings and MLS’ Los Angeles Galaxy to release co-branded merchandise, ticket specials for watch parties, promotional support, and fan experiences. The playoffs run July 11-21.
 
Counter Logic Gaming inked a partnership with high-speed internet provider Spectrum, which will now deliver Fiber Optic Internet service to the CLG performance center and become a presenting partner of the venue’s Spectrum Gaming Lounge. Spectrum will also be showcased on CLG social media channels and live streams.
 
Public relations, events, sports marketing and content marketing agency KemperLesnik is now adding esports to its suite of business services. The agency previously worked with Riot Games on its 2018 League of Legends College Championship. The agency provided media relations, on-site media operations support and player media training. KemperLesnik’s esports division will produce esports events, connect would-be sponsors with esports assets, consult with esports game developers and lead brand activation for esports sponsors.
 
HyperX tied up a deal with Shroud, the PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Twitch streamer with the No. 2 highest subscribed Twitch channel. He will join the HyperX brand ambassador team using HyperX gaming headsets, keyboards, mice, and mouse pad accessories during his streaming sessions. As an ambassador, Shroud will include HyperX branding on his Twitch stream, participate in video content creation and make public appearances at gaming events and expos. He will also lend HyperX his unique gaming expertise, acting as a consultant for future products within the mouse category.
 
Evolved Talent Agency, an agency that focuses on repping esports players and content creators, is teaming up with ICM Partners in a joint venture partnership that will see ICM Partners provide “ancillary opportunities and strategies” for clients of Evolved, according to Variety.
 
Comcast and Activision entered a partnership to offer a chance to play the new Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Multiplayer before its official release October 12. “This year, Xfinity has elevated the consumer experience by offering Call of Duty fans a chance to play Black Ops 4 through the Xfinity store sweepstakes before its official release on October 12,” said Tyler Michaud, Vice President, Product Management at Activision. “Gamers will get a sneak peek at the engaging gameplay and depth of content that makes Black Ops 4 a blast to play together with your friends, and we thank Xfinity for the continued support in celebrating gamers throughout the U.S.”
 
 
CONSUMER SNAPSHOT


Last week, FanAI looked at how OWL sponsors have benefitted from their relationship with the league. This week FanAI analyzed how many of a sponsor’s followers became interested in the Overwatch League, as a proportion of the sponsors’ own initial followings, to understand the brand fit between the league and those sponsors.
 
Sour Patch Kids, a new non-endemic sponsor provided stellar proportional gains while Toyota’s 724K all-encompassing follower base did not have as much interest. Omen by HP’s 63K followers saw the top percentile crossover, but the actual follower increase is lower than that of computing juggernaut Intel because of Intel’s much larger 4.85M follower base.
Source: Source: FanAI.io
 
 
PLATFORMS


The CS:GO Asia Championships 2018 from Shanghai this week saw PGL implement its new Augmented Reality features for CS:GO broadcasts. Perfect World partnered with PGL to offer the English broadcast of the event on Twitch, serving AR in-game 3D graphics produced with in-house tools. “We’ve invested a lot of time and resources in order to improve the viewer experience, with the addition of in-game Augmented Reality graphics,” says Sebastian Honciuc, main show producer.

GAMURS raised $2.2 million in funding from angel investors and Allium Capital. The Esports media network plans to utilize the new influx of capital to target a series of initiatives, including the expansion of Dot Esports, the website it operates for coverage of competitive gaming.
 
GINX Esports TV announced a new show dedicated to Fighting Games, titled The DOJO. Presented by Samad Abdessadki, aka Damascus, the new production is the first series dedicated to “versus fighting” on GINX Esports TV, a category focusing on one-on-one combats between players. The six-part series will offer weekly episodes each Tuesday on GINX Esports TV.
 
 
INDUSTRY


Newzoo revealed its annual Global Games Market Report to subscribers, stating that there are now more than 2.3 billion active gamers in the world this year which saw 46 percent spend money on games. The games market will reach $137.9 billion in 2018, with digital revenues accounting for 91% of the market, For the first time, mobile gaming will contribute more than half of all revenues, with smartphone and tablet gaming growing 25.5 percent year-on-year to $70.3 billion.
 
Twitter wrapped up its E3 coverage with a blog post detailing the most-discussed games from this year’s festivities. Overall, there were nearly 15 million #E3 related Tweets last week and leading the pack among newly-announced games was Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, followed by Kingdom Hearts 3, Fallout 76, The Last of Us, and Death Stranding.
 
PUBG Corp reports that PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has now sold more than 50 million units combined on PC and Xbox One. Combined with the players of PUBG Mobile, there are now over 500 million registered players for the game worldwide with more than 87 million people playing PUBG every day across all platforms, according to the company. “We’re genuinely humbled by PUBG’s ongoing success and growth, and we’re incredibly optimistic about the game’s future,” PUBG Corp said in a blog post. “We’re going to keep working on new content and improvements for all versions of the game. We know there’s still so much we can do to make PUBG a better game for our players. Thanks so much to all of you for joining us on this wild ride.”
 
A new report by Sensor Tower states that Fortnite now lays claim to more than $100 million in its first three months of availability on iOS platforms as a mobile game.
 
Razer reportedly led a $4.4 million round of investments into Australian-based company Esports Mogul. The org oversees the Mogul Arena platform which organizes tournaments for games like Dota 2, CS:GO, Vainglory and League of Legends and will use the money to further develop Mogul Arena.
 
Becker College detailed plans to add a varsity esports program with League of Legends serving as the inaugural title. Becker becomes the first college in Massachusetts to offer scholarships to varsity esports student-athletes.
 
 
ROSTER MOVES

Activision Blizzard named Jack Harari as its new VP of International Partnerships. Harari joins from the NBA where he served as associate VP of international business development and global partnerships.

A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
CALL FOR ENTRIES NOW OPEN
Presented by Cynopsis, Chief Marketer and Event Marketer
The Tempest Awards celebrate the brands, teams, leagues, players and business leaders driving the competitive gaming industry, with categories that span production, marketing, talent & technology.
 
Winners will be announced live on stage during the Esports Business Summit at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas Tuesday, October 2.
 
 

ON THIS DAY in 2006: EA acquires Mythic Entertainment.
 

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