07/25/19: Echo Fox will sell its slat in the LCS to Kroenke Sports & Entertainment

 

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After being unable to get a shareholder accused of racism to divest from the company, Echo Fox is now set to sell its spot in the North American League of Legends Championship Series with Kroenke Sports & Entertainment emerging as a buyer. Tuesday saw the official Twitter page of League of Legends esports tweet out the news that Echo Fox had submitted a proposal to sell their slot in the LCS, with ESPN reporting that the Kroenke Sports & Entertainment bid would fetch $30.25 million, pending approval from LCS. The group already owns Overwatch League squad the LA Gladiators in addition to Arsenal Football Club and the Denver Nuggets.
 
 
COMPETITION AND VENUES

 
Epic Games named global agency IMG Media to produce and distribute the inaugural Fortnite World Cup, with the finals set to run starting tomorrow in NY. All content will be delivered via a digitally encoded stream from the IMG Studios production hub in the UK. Sport 24 Extra, IMG’s in-flight sports channel, will also present the Fortnite World Cup live during international flights on selected airlines.
 
Meanwhile, The International will keep its title as the single tournament with the biggest payout, which the Fortnite World Cup threatened with its $30 million prize pool. Valve’s Dota 2 tournament, set to begin on Aug. 20 in Shanghai, features a prize pool largely crowdfunded by its battle pass with this year’s tally surpassing $30 million earlier this week. Last year’s event, which took place in Vancouver, featured a then-record $25.5 million purse.
 
Evo solidified its final order of events for this year’s festivities, and will – for the first time – feature a title other than Street Fighter to close out competitive play. Instead, Super Smash Brothers Brawl will take the final spot on Aug. 4, as the brawler led entries among titles, hitting nearly 3,500 registrants. Meanwhile, opening day will be anchored by the Soulcalibur VI finals, with Sunday featuring Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st], Dragon Ball FighterZ, Samurai Shodown, and Mortal Kombat 11. Sunday will be anchored by BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle, Street Fighter V, Tekken 7 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
 
QuakeCon is back this weekend, with Quakecon Year of DOOM spanning July 25-28 in Dallas. The event will officially kick off with a keynote presentation and competitive plat featuring the Legends Masters Series and Quake Pro League pitting competitive gamers.
 
Red Bull gave wings to the return of Red Bull Conquest, lining up a tournament circuit featuring fighting titles Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition and TEKKEN 7, as well as newcomer Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st]. Qualifiers are set to take place across eight cities, beginning Aug. 24, and culminating with the Red Bull Conquest 2019 National Finals in November. This year will see a shift to eight qualifiers for Red Bull Conquest 2019. Events include: Orlando (8/24), Chicago (9/21), Philadelphia (9/21), Los Angeles (10/12), Houston (10/12), San Francisco (10/19), Seattle (11/9) and Minneapolis (11/9).
 
Don’t say we didn’t warn you! Rooms are going fast for the Esports Business Summit from Sept 10-12 and only limited amounts remain! Get your ticket and book your stay for the industry’s biggest esports business event, Take in days of networking, outings, play, awards and a bevy of C-level executives and global brands sharing their insights into opportunities in competitive gaming. Click here for more information and get your tickets now!
 
DreamHack announced that it will return to Jönköping, Sweden for 2019 DreamHack Winter. The gaming lifestyle festival will celebrate its 25th anniversary during DreamHack Winter to honor the date of the very first DreamHack festival on December 9, 1994 with the festival running Nov. 29-Dec. 1. “We are thrilled to officially kick off the celebration DreamHack’s 25th anniversary with some of our closest supporters and fans at DreamHack Winter,” said DreamHack Co-CEO Marcus Lindmark. “This will be our longest festival ever, offering 80 hours of BYOC, which will open the night before the festival kicks off. We will also feature a live music concert with a women-led metal night, and fans will experience the largest gaming expo in Sweden. With many more celebratory events and commemorations planned, this will truly be a not-to-be-missed event.”
 
The industry was shaken by the news that StarCraft 2 and esports personality Geoff “iNcontroL” Robinson passed away on Saturday. Robinson was 33 years old.
 
 
TRENDS

 
In February 2019, Electronic Arts released the free-to-play title, Apex Legends, their take on the Battle Royale genre. Alongside the release, EA deployed a massive influencer marketing campaign. The AAA tapped some of the largest names in game streaming, including Ninja and Shroud. This week, Stream Hatchet examines the streaming popularity of Apex Legends among its top influencers. Here are the insights:
  • Top Influencers for Apex have churned: Out of the top 10 streamers playing Apex Legends during its launch week, Shroud and Gotaga are the two remaining in the top 10 hours watched from the week of 7/8 – 7/14. 
  • Apex viewership among the top streamers has decreased: Although Shroud is still streaming Apex Legends 5 months after launch, his hours watched (week of 7/8) decreased 56.63% since launch week. 
  • Top Influencers are bringing less traffic to the game: Apex Legends has done worse than Shroud’s Apex content with a total decrease of 69.40% in hours watched on the top 10 Apex Legends channels when comparing the week of 7/8 to launch week.
For more detailed analysis, including a comparison between Ninja and Shroud’s Apex Legends viewership, visit our blog at: Blog.StreamHatchet.com
 
 
ACTIVATION

 
aXiomatic Gaming sees big things for AoE Creative, a startup agency supporting brand strategy and marketing within the esports ecosystem, and announced an investment into the company, which was founded by Simon Bennett and Markel Lee. In a statement, Leo Hsu, director of Business Strategy for aXiomatic, noted that In the future, when the current breathless hype surrounding esports eventually subsides, I believe the industry’s staying power will ultimately be determined by teams’ and brands’ ability to develop strong, multigenerational fanbases and to successfully monetize against these deep connections.”
 
AT&T continues to dive deeper into esports, announcing new agreements with both ESL and DreamHack. The ESL partnership sees the brand bring new experiences to ESL’s marquee North American events, including Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) Chicago and ESL One New York, as well as the expansion to new regions of the ESL Mobile Open presented by AT&T. The deal continues AT&T’s designation as the Official Telecommunications Partner for ESL North America, and broadens ESL and AT&T’s commitment to making esports accessible and inclusive.
 
Meanwhile, the new partnership with DreamHack will see AT&T take on a “key role” in DreamHack’s North American events, including the recent CORSAIR DreamHack Masters Dallas in June and the upcoming DreamHack Atlanta in November. AT&T will now serve as a key part of DreamHack Atlanta, which will take place Nov. 15-17 at the Gerogia World Congress Center. In addition to being a festival supporter, AT&T will also be a head sponsor of all DreamHack esports tournaments at DreamHack Atlanta, including the DreamHack Open and DreamHack Fighting Game Championships.
 
T-Wolves Gaming, the NBA 2K League affiliate of the Minnesota Timberwolves, named Raynor Group as its Official Gaming Chair Provider. Raynor Group will equip T-Wolves Gaming players and front office executives with T-Wolves Gaming-branded gaming chairs. “After completing our state-of-the-art T-Wolves Gaming Training Center in Mayo Clinic Square, we knew we wanted to provide our players with the most high-caliber chairs for optimal performance,” said Timberwolves, Lynx and T-Wolves Gaming Chief Strategy Officer Ted Johnson. “Wellness and comfort are paramount to player performance and this partnership fits in line with providing fantastic amenities for T-Wolves Gaming players.” Raynor joins Minnesota Lottery, SCUF, Hyper-X and Dell Alienware as T-Wolves Gaming partners.
 
Speaking of which… the NBA 2K League and Snickers cemented a new partnership that makes Snickers the Official Chocolate Bar of the NBA 2K League. The esports league will now select the Snickers “Hungriest Player to Watch” each game night for the rest of the 2019 season, including the 2019 NBA 2K League Playoffs and Finals, which tip off July 24.
 
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PLATFORMS

 
The Overwatch League is launching League Picks Beta, a broadcast game allowing fans to predict match outcomes in order to earn Overwatch League Tokens. Beginning July 25 with the start of Stage 4 for all matches, fans watching on OverwatchLeague.com on desktop and mobile web or on Twitch during live broadcasts will see a League Picks panel on the right side of the player on desktop, and below the player on mobile web. each match, there’ll be a series of five questions to answer, which will be match- or map-specific based on the teams playing. The League Picks Beta is comprised of a series of 26 challenges, ranging from making their first pick to getting 500 predictions correct. When players correctly make predictions and complete a challenge, they will receive 25 League Tokens. Challenges can be tracked in the Challenges Tab inside the League Picks panel. A full product launch will be announced at a later date.
 
NBC Sports, iRacing and NASCAR are teaming up to showcase the first-ever eNASCAR live-event on television as part of Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America at 5p on NBCSN. NASCAR America’s Krista Voda, Parker Kligerman, and AJ Allmendinger will host along with iRacing team owners Steve Letarte and Jeff Burton, who will join for pre-and post-race commentary from the NBC Sports Charlotte studio. Kligerman, also an iRacing team owner, will be racing from the NBC Sports simulator in Stamford in the eNASCAR iRacing All-Star event.Following this week’s event, iRacing will subsequently return to NASCAR America on NBCSN on the last Thursday of every month for a four-race series.
 
The NBA 2K League announced that Tencent Holdings Limited will serve as the league’s first distribution partner in China. Tencent, a leading provider of comprehensive Internet services in China, will stream condensed 2019 NBA 2K League Playoff and Finals games to its hundreds of millions of daily users across Tencent Sports, Tencent Video and Tencent News. Tencent’s coverage will include select, condensed 2019 NBA 2K League Playoff games as well as all of the 2019 NBA 2K League Finals games. The 2019 NBA 2K League Playoffs will tip off July 24, with the best-of-three quarterfinals and semifinals taking place over three days of gameplay.
 
 
TEAMS

 
Global esports organization Gen.G announced the official opening of its new facility in Los Angeles where Gen.G’s US content creators, Call of Duty, Apex Legends, and Fortnite teams will be based, along with a US staff of 15 employees. The 13,000 square-foot facility features 10gb fiber internet in three scrim rooms, a master film review room, and six soundproof streaming rooms. “Establishing our presence globally has been a priority over the last few years — that included the introduction of competitive US-based teams,” said Arnold Hur, Chief Operating Officer, Gen.G Esports. “Gen.G couldn’t be more excited about the progress we’ve made in the US market. We have an amazing group of players on board and they’re now in a top-notch setting where they’ll continue to sustain a winning culture.”
 
Recording artist Wiz Khalifa is entering the esports industry, partnering with the Pittsburgh Knights where he will bring his “expertise in creative direction, marketing, live events and entertainment.” “It is awesome to partner with the Knights, alongside the Pittsburgh Steelers, on this exciting endeavor,” says Wiz Khalifa. “The Knights are pushing the boundaries in the e-sports space with an experienced team. Being based in Pittsburgh, my hometown, a city known for bringing home championships, I am pumped to be a part of this moment in history kicking off another winning team for the city.”
 
Cavs Legion Gaming Club, the NBA 2K League affiliate of the Cleveland Cavaliers, unveiled plans for an esports center in Cleveland’s Battery Park neighborhood. The center, which is set to open this fall, will serve as the practice facility for Cavs Legion GC and will be open to the public for organized gaming competitions, tournaments and events.
 
 
INDUSTRY

 
June saw an uptick in worldwide digital gaming revenue with a rise of 2% to $9.2 billion, according to Superdata. Mobile blazed the trail, showing a 7% uptick year-over-year for the month, making up for underperformance on Console and PC, which were down 2% and 9% respectively. Highlights from the period included:
  • June ranked as Rainbow Six‘s best month for Monthly Active Users and sixth-best month for in-game spending on the back of the Operation Phantom Sight update.
  • Overwatch surpassed $1 billion from in-game spending.
 
Loaded, the agency specializing in sponsorship sales, creative, and merchandising services for gaming influencers, signed professional gaming influencer and competitive Fortnite streamer, Dennis “Cloakzy” Lepore to its roster of gaming talent. Under the agreement, Loaded will manage the key aspects of Cloakzy’s career including entertainment opportunities, digital distribution, merchandise deals, brand partnerships, endorsements, personal appearances and more. Cloakzy’s ongoing streams earned him over 3.2 million followers across all platforms and over 67 million total views.
 
Members of the National Association of Collegiate Esports approved a number of new bylaws and constitution changes designed to “allow the organization to better enforce its rules and curb the trend of player poaching between schools,” according to ESPN. Among the new rules were laws to allow schools to distribute prize money earned at third-party tournaments to their players regardless of what kind of scholarship dollars a school provides its competitors.
 
CORSAIR acquired custom gaming PC brand ORIGIN PC. “With the gaming PC market continuing to expand as an increasing number of players make the jump from console to PC, we wanted to do more to reach customers in North America that prefer to buy, rather than build, their system,” said Andy Paul, Founder and CEO of CORSAIR. “With ORIGIN PC’s expertise in personalized custom gaming systems and CORSAIR’s strength in performance PC hardware and the iCUE software ecosystem, we’re excited to combine our efforts to create new world-class gaming experiences for PC gamers.” ORIGIN PC will remain a separate brand within CORSAIR, and will continue to operate from its Miami offices.
 
 
READYUP GAMES OF THE WEEK

 
 
ROSTER MOVES

Blizzard co-founder Frank Pearce departed Activision Blizzard with the news announced on the official Blizzard Twitter account. In a statement, Pearce noted that “The time has come for me to step away from Blizzard and pass the torch to the next generation of leaders. My journey as part of the Blizzard community began over 28 years ago. Allen offered me an opportunity to join him and Mike in their adventure and dream to make video games. Video games were a passion that we shared, and I had only a fleeting hope that I would have the opportunity to make games one day. The decision was easy for me – I did not have the benefit of internet searches to help start me down the path. Allen’s offer letter was the best and only chance I thought I might ever have. Looking back, I know how incredibly fortunate I was to have been a part of what Blizzard has become.”
 
FanAI announced two new technology and startup veterans would be joining their executive team — Randy Stude as vice president of sales & marketing and Karim Varela as vice president of technology. “FanAI delivers actionable social and ethnographic data, the likes of which many companies have never seen before,” said Johannes Waldstein, founder and CEO of FanAI. “As we expand our model to reach new markets, our in-house talent needs to grow alongside our strategic business objectives. Both Karim and Randy will be integral to our continued growth, as they truly represent the next evolution of FanAI, both on the backend as well as consumer-facing fronts.”
 
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ON THIS WEEK in 2014: Five Nights at Freddy’s is released.
 
Trivia: Raul Julia’s final film appearance was in which movie, based off the popular video game franchise? (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: Samus Aran is the lead character in which game franchise? Answer: Metroid. Kudos: Jason Valluzzi-Active International/NY; Luke Watson-Essential TV/NY; Allison Weiner-MMSI/Warwick; Gabrielle Pedro Fredrick-National Geographic/DC; Kelsey Schroeder-KemperLesnik/Chicago; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank

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SALES RESEARCH DIRECTOR
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DIRECT RESPONSE, VP>>
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SR COORD PRODUCTION>>
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  Friday, August 16, 2019 Good morning, this is your first early-morning briefing.  Tonight’s Premieres: Travel: Ghost Brothers: Haunted Houseguests at 9p   Saturday’s Premieres: Animal Planet: The Zoo: San Diego – California Tales at 8p   Saturday’s Finales: Great American Country: Texas Flip N Move at 10p   Sunday’s Premieres: Facebook Watch: Ball In The Family […]

Back to School with TV’s Favorite Teachers

By Paula Hendrickson Teachers play a pivotal role in our lives, so it’s natural that teachers also play major roles on TV dramas and sitcoms. We found so many that we had to set parameters to narrow down this list: No animated series, so The Simpsons’ Mrs. Krabappel and South Park’s Mr. Garrison aren’t shown. […]

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