07/13/17: Blizzard’s OWL controls the map; Record coin in International waters; Disney’s Summer games

CynopsiseSPORTS & GAMING
It’s Thursday July 13, 2017 and this is your weekly early morning eSports & Gaming brief.


Activision Blizzard made its first group of founding teams official, announcing yesterday the sale of the first seven Overwatch League teams with franchises set to be based in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Miami-Orlando, San Francisco, Seoul and Shanghai. New team owners include: Robert Kraft, Chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group and the New England Patriots (Boston); Jeff Wilpon, Co-Founder and Partner of Sterling.VC and COO of the New York Mets (New York); Noah Whinston, CEO of Immortals (Los Angeles); Ben Spoont, CEO and Co-Founder of Misfits Gaming (Miami-Orlando); Andy Miller, Chairman and Founder of NRG Esports (San Francisco); NetEase (Shanghai); and Kevin Chou, Co-founder of Kabam (Seoul).
 
“Overwatch is a game about a diverse group of international heroes who fight for an optimistic vision of the future, and the Overwatch League is an extension of that spirit,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment. “We’re building this league for fans – esports fans, traditional sports fans, gaming fans – and we’re thrilled to have individuals and organizations who are as passionate about professional competition as we are, and who have extensive experience in all three fields, representing our first major international cities in the league.”
 
“We have been exploring the esports market for a number of years and have been waiting for the right opportunity to enter,” said Robert Kraft, Chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group. “The incredible global success of Overwatch since its launch, coupled with the League’s meticulous focus on a structure and strategy that clearly represents the future of esports made this the obvious entry point for the Kraft Group.”
 
The Overwatch League is set to launch later this year, and detailed plans to “create value for team owners through advertising, ticketing and broadcast rights revenues, with teams receiving an equal share of all league-wide net revenues” while franchises also all local revenues generated through their home territory and venue up to a set amount each year.
 
 
COMPETITION


It will be yet another record for The International this year, as the Dota 2 tournament will officially dangle another record prize pool of at least $20,773,957, per Mashable, topping last year’s record-setting tally, with more than a month to boost the numbers. This year’s International will run from Aug. 7-12 in Seattle. 
 
WESA announced that, starting with the upcoming Season 6 of Pro League, the league will now cover travel and accommodations for seven members that choose to travel with their team manager. In return, managers would then take on additional responsibilities on-site, including: coordinating and managing all aspects of player travel; signing sessions; media appearances; practice schedules; sponsor activations and other player-related activities and obligations. “Today’s announcement is an important step for the continued support of professional esports players,” said Ken Hershman, Executive Chairman and Commissioner, WESA. “Player support and development will always be a primary focus of what we do, and today’s initiative aligns with that vision. The teams came to us with this proposal and worked with WESA and Pro League to reach a solution that we believe works for all stakeholders.”
 
Blizzard’s World of Warcraft esports is expanding into the world of Mythic Keystone dungeons, detailing plans for the Mythic Dungeon Invitational and $100,000 at stake. Teams aspiring to battle on the global stage must first push themselves through a gauntlet of Mythic Keystone dungeons, taking on “increasingly difficult Mythic Keystones and earning the best scores on the Proving Grounds.” 32 teams will then square off, with eight from the Americas, 8 from Europe, 8 from China and 8 from Asia-Pacific, with invited contenders facing off in Sept.
 
ESPN2 is booking a return trip to Evo 2017 this year, offering fans televised coverage of the Street Fighter V World Championship live from Las Vegas, beginning at 10p on Sunday. The competition will also be available to stream live via the ESPN app. “It’s great to be back at the Evo Championship Series Final with Street Fighter V this year,” said Kevin Lopes, director, ESPN programming and acquisitions. “This final will provide no shortage of compelling competition, and we look forward to delivering this event to fans.”
 
Need to muscle up your esports chops? Think that Laser Kittens vs. Immortals is a children’s sci-fi movie? Do ask the doctor to give you a Nadeshot? Does “spamming the point” sound like an issue for IT? Then you can’t miss our Cynopsis Esports Boot Camp, in partnership with ESL, taking place at Barclays Center ahead of ESL One, where we map out the esports industry for you in our master classes! Class begins on Sept. 15 with a lineup of terrific speakers and a behind-the-scenes tour of ESL One. Save the date and don’t miss out as space is limited! Click here for more info.
 
DreamHack is partnering with The American Video Game League and Twitch to launch college esports grudge matches at DreamHack Atlanta this year. The partnership will mark the first of its kind to feature collegiate esports at a major gaming event, according to the release. Participating universities include: Clemson University, University of Georgia, Georgia Southern, Georgia State University, North Carolina State, and University of North Carolina at Charlotte with matches live streamed from 10:30a-5:30p on July 21 and 22.
 
Gears of War Esports locked in two brand-new summer tournaments, with the North American tournament – the CMG Offseason Open – running Aug. 5-6 in Corona, CA and 16 teams competing. Meanwhile, the EU equivalent will take place in Nottingham from Aug. 19-20 with 24 teams in play.
 
 
INSIGHTS


Source: Superdata
 
 
PLATFORMS


Nintendo Switch is poised to land its first video streaming service today, although the outlet will be Japanese video platform Niconico. Users will be able to upload their own videos, as well as add special effects, polls, etc.
 
Bluehole is teaming up with Facebook to livestream exclusive content for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds on Facebook Live. Content will run four times a month with each live video showcasing different elements, starting with games hosted by one of Bluehole’s community managers. The weekly livestreams will then alternate hosts between content creators from the PUBG community and Bluehole’s community managers.
 
Beyond Entertainment and UMG Media Corp. locked in a Halo esports media partnership. “We are excited at Beyond to partner with UMG as they continue to expand their support into the Halo eSports scene – and very much look forward to working with UMG as both companies strive to provide additional stability for the Halo eSports community at large,” said Joseph Bentley, Founder, Beyond Entertainment. Dates on UMG Gaming will launch tomorrow with Halo 5: Guardians FFA at 5p.
 
 
INDUSTRY

Big news in tech, as Logitech announced plans to acquire ASTRO Gaming in a deal worth $85 million. Combined, according to the announcement, the merged entities rank as the number one maker of headsets, mice, keyboards and streaming webcams for both PC and console gamers. “ASTRO is the leading player for premium console headsets and is the preferred headset for console esports athletes,” said Ujesh Desai, vice president and general manager of Logitech G. “It’s a perfect complement to Logitech G’s focus on PC gaming and we couldn’t be more excited; we love the team, the brand and the products. Together, we want to make game play even more fun for gamers everywhere.”
 
Riot Games is suing Chinese mobile game developer Shanghai Moonton Technology for allegedly reproducing copyrighted material from League of Legends. The lawsuit was filed in California, focusing on mobile titles that include Magic Rush: Heroes, Mobile Legends: 5v5 MOBA, and Mobile Legends: Bang bang. Esports Insider writes that Riot noted copies of elements that included “LoL’s characters, artwork, map designs, and unit and monster designs.”
 
Denial Esports CEO Robby Ringnalda is teaming up with Scott Kelly, Founder and CEO of Black Dog Venture Partners, to launch esports and egaming consultancy dubbed Black Dog Gaming. The new org will over services that include: business development sales and training; branding, publicity and social media marketing; corporate strategy and management development; and venture capital and funding consulting.
 
Games for Change announced the finalists for the 2017 Games for Change Awards, which celebrate the year’s best games for social impact. The 14th Annual Games for Change Festival will feature keynote speakers that include Megan Smith (former White House Chief Technology Officer), Gabo Arora (Founder and Creative Director of LightShed), Luke Crane (Head of Games at Kickstarter) and Anjali Bhimani (Actress/voice of Symmetra in “Overwatch” and Nisha in “Fallout: 4”). The winners will be announced on the evening of July 31. Gameplay contenders this year include Minecraft, Sea Hero Quest and Tracking Ida.
 
The Walt Disney Company unveiled its eleven 2017 Disney Accelerator companies that will be connected with the “creativity, imagination, and expertise of The Walt Disney Company,” with companies this year that include esports heavyweight aXiomatic, along with Epic Games, creators of Unreal Engine technology.
 
 
MARKETING


HyperX detailed plans to host an esports tournament at its headquarters in Orange County, anchored by titles that include Street Fighter V, Super Smash Bros. Melee and ARMS. D’Ron ‘D1’ Maingrette, Stephen “Sajam” Lyon, Terrence“TKBreezy” Kershaw, and Steve “Tasty_Steve” Scott will handle microphone duties, with the action starting on July 18 at 2p.
 
Ahead of EVO, Toshiba signed on to partner with Panda Global in a deal that will see the team’s players use Toshiba tech in tournaments and during streams. “Panda Global is proud to bring Toshiba into the esports space,” said Panda Global CEO Alan Bunney. “The Toshiba-OCZ Series SSDs is a perfect fit for the esports enthusiast so it’s a natural fit for us.”
 
PanzerGlass locked in a one-year partnership deal with Astralis. The deal was brokered by Lagardere Sports, will include team-branded screen protectors as well as a PanzerGlass CS:GO trading card.
 
 
POWER PLAYERS – Marc Buhaj, Disney XD Worldwide


Saturday will see Disney dive deep into the world of gaming and esports with the debut of D|XP, a daily summer programming block dedicated to the industry that runs from 9p-3a on Disney XD, showcasing a diverse lineup of games, publishers, events and personalities across the landscape of both entertainment gaming and esports, courtesy of content produced in collaboration with ESPN, Disney Digital Network and its Maker creators, IGN, Attack Media, Warner Bros. Television Group’s Blue Ribbon Content, Banger Films, ESL and VICE’s Waypoint. Series are set to include: Polaris Primetime, a weekly one-hour playthrough gaming and variety show hosted by Jimmy Wong and Strawburry17; Parker Plays hosted by Parker Coppins; and Polaris: Player Select, a “greatest hits” compilation series featuring top videos from YouTube stars from Disney Digital Network’s bench of Maker creators, including Jacksepticeye, Luzugames, Strawburry17, LordMinion777 and LDShadowLady.
 
Cynopsis spoke with Marc Buhaj, SVP, Programming / General Manager, Disney XD Worldwide, about reasons behind the move, the big picture for the test run, and what we can expect from the lineup.
 
Buhaj on launching D|XP: We are very excited about this as it represents an opportunity for us to reach beyond our target demo while still staying on brand. Everybody plays games. So we are looking at this as a test and I can’t wait to see what sticks as we embrace the gaming scene. The challenge for us, in this case, has been to lock in rights to use the IP, music, etc., which is something some other outlets don’t have to do. That said, we have been successful and I think gaming and esports fans will be extremely happy with the results and we’ll have more news to announce over the next couple of weeks that will make them even happier.
 
On programming: We’ve got some really interesting formats in the mix, from the relatively unknown to rising stars. Parker Plays, for example, is one that I am looking forward to seeing how our audiences react to, while another show, The Attack – from the folks who used to work on Attack of the Show over at G4 –  will offer a live, streamed feel. I’m also curious to see how some of our leagues and teams do, as we’ve got some interesting IP there. Over the next 24-48 hours, we’ll be able to reveal some of the details about who we are linking up with, but we’ve got some of the leaders in their categories.
 
On goals: The goal for me is to continue to expand the genre. I want to make sure we’ve got some diverse storytelling coming out. I want to make sure that people understand that games aren’t straight-ahead first-person shooter games. That is important to me. This all evolved because of us picking up one or two pilots but we very quickly realized that you’d be on an island if we just had a single show here or there. Gaming isn’t an island, so it was important for us to create a destination for viewers instead.
 
 
ROSTER MOVES

Gfinity announced the appointment of Mark Brittain as the company’s new CCO. Brittain joins from SYCO Entertainment where he was Global Head of Commercial overseeing all commercial and revenue generating activity for company’s core brands, formats and represented talent.
 
Twitch named Kate Jhaveri as its new SVP of Marketing where she will be charged with overseeing global marketing and communications for the company. She joins from Twitter.

A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Are consumers not engaging with your Brand?
July 25th I 1:30 PM ET
Marketing to a new demographic can be challenging and more often than not, companies fail to reach an audience with their advertisements because consumers are not interacting with the brand. Join us on July 25th for the Cynopsis webinar on how to properly use Branded content in ways which will yield results! Don’t miss out! Click here to register today!
 

ON THIS DAY in 2010: EA Sports releases NCAA Football 11 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in the US.
 

Trivia: Name the game pictured above. (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: This celebrity scored two of the five best-selling videogames in 2000 with Pro Skater and Pro Skater 2 ranking second and third on sales charts for the year. Who was he? Answer: Tony Hawk. Kudos: Chris Davies-Virgin/London; Luke Watson-Essential TV/NY; Lindsey Bradley-THREE/NY; Will Cutrone-Weber Shandwick/NY; Brian Traynor-WME/IMG/NY; Rachel Donlin-THREE/Raleigh; Gabrielle Pedro Fredrick-National Geographic/DC; Heather Allen-WWE/Stamford; Jorge Tatto-Wasserman/Toronto; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Carly Dasso-Saatchi & Saatchi/Oakbrook Terrace; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Tony Reyes-Stoopid Buddy Stoodios/Burbank; Andy Babb-Super League Gaming/Santa Monica

Later — Chris
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JOB OPENING: COMMUNITY PRESS MANAGER/NBCU/San Diego: Act as primary liaison to community groups and internal liaison with both NBC 7 & Telemundo 20 news, sales and promotion departments on community projects. Full info/apply HERE (7/21)
 
JOB OPENING: BRAND MARKETING COORD/NBCU/SYFY/NYC: Assist in the execution of all off-air marketing efforts and brand initiatives, including multi-platform media campaigns and cross promotions.1-2 yrs exp. Full info/apply HERE (7/21)
 
JOB OPENING: COORDINATOR/SR COORDINATOR/Sirius XM Radio/NYC: Assist Acct mgrs in maintaining client relationships. Research prospective clients & ad sales opps upon request. Min 2 yrs exp working in a sales or media/entertainment envir. Strong interest in sales & strong comm skills a must.  Full info/apply HERE (7/21)

JOB OPENING: ACCT EXEC, DIRECT RESPONSE/DIRECTavenue/Carlsbad CA: Build deep understanding of each client’s bus. & category needs. DR exp, pref Short Form. 10+ yrs exp mktg/Advrtsng DR TV pref’d. Job based out of San Diego office. Full info/apply HERE  (7/21)

 
JOB OPENING: MGR, CONSUMER MARKETING/NICKELODEON/NYC: Responsible for leading the marketing strategy, tactics and audience engagement for Nickelodeon series, tentpole events and TV movies. 3-5 yrs exp. Interest in Ent/TV, Marketing/Advertising, Children’s media. Full info/apply HERE (7/21)


JOB OPENING:
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER-DIGITAL CONTENT/Spectrum Networks NY1/NYC: 5-10 yrs digital content leadership exp. Preferred exp with website (re) launch and rebranding process, newsroom exp and a strong track record working with sales/creative/finance to drive a digital strategy forward. Full info/apply HERE http://bit.ly/2uJCnAy (7/20)

JOB OPENING: SR ANALYST DIGITAL ANALYTICS/CNBC/Englewood Cliffs NJ: Collect/analyze user data across platforms (website, app, synd, social platforms) to grow digital audience, better understand user segments, & identify bus. opps. 3+ yrs exp digital analytics &/or data analysis. Full info/apply HERE (7/20)

JOB OPENING: SALES PLANNER/MARATHON VENTURES/NYC: Join team-oriented leader in national direct response TV ad sales. Attention to detail, min. 2-3 yrs experience in TV traffic or sales support required. Wide Orbit a plus. Resumes: careers@mvmediasales.com (7/20)

JOB OPENING: MUSIC PRODUCT MANAGER/Discovery/LA: Resourceful self-starter resp for all digital music asset and metadata mgmt for in-house production library of 110K+ tracks. Extensive exp w/Soundminer req’d. 3+ yrs exp working w/production libraries, pltfrms or TV music dept. Full info/apply HERE (7/20)

JOB OPENING: VP MARKETING & BRANDING/NBCU/NECN/BOSTON:  Lead creative svc providing overall creative services, mktg strategy & brand direction to drive viewership for NBC Boston, necn & Telemundo. Min 10 yrs relevant, successful  & progressive creative services &/or mktg exp. Full info/apply HERE (7/20)

JOB OPENING: SR RESEARCH ANALYST/TV ONE/SILVER SPRING MD or NYC: Assist Sr. Rsrch, Dir w/interpreting media rsrch results & effectively communicating results. Strong knwlg Nielsen software & 3rd party systems. BA/BS deg & 2+ yrs rsrch expe @ media co., agency or advertiser. Full info/apply HERE (7/20)


JOB OPENING: SENIOR ANALYST/A+E Networks/NY: engage in audience discovery, data management, & data activation to support addressable media strategy for A+E brands. Full Info/Apply HERE http://www.aenetworks.com/careers/jobs (7/18)

JOB OPENING: MGR CONTENT SVCS/UPTV/ATL: 5 yrs exp. in broadcast envirmt. Exp. managing non-linear content. Working knowledge of prod. ops & proced. Prior exp. managing staff. Familiar w/post prod (tape/digital), editing, transcoding, digital media formats & workflows. Send res: recruiting@uptv.com (7/18)

JOB OPENING: DATA EVANGELIST/NeuLion/Long Isl: Use SQL+BI tools to own design of analytics dashboards/visualizations/reports. Query+analyze data to produce actionable findings. eCommerce/AdOps experience a plus. Min 3 yrs Analyst role+quantitative/analytical degree. Resume to: careers@neulion.com  (7/18)

JOB OPENING: MGR RESEARCH & ANALYTICS/SPE/NY: Consumer/Industry/Program insights for SPT Research; supports sales, production and distribution across all platforms of television: Network, Cable, SVOD & Synd. Exp. In TV Research, Nielsen & MS systems. Resume & cover HERE (7/14)

JOB OPENING:
VP, CULTURE & CREATIVE INSIGHTS/VIACOM/VELOCITY/NYC: Lead cross-disciplinary working teams dedicated to dvlpng specific project deliverables.10+ yrs consulting, strategy, rsrch, mktg/advertising (acct mngmnt or brand plan’g w/5 yrs mngmnt exp.) Great interest for mentoring jr employees. Full info/apply HERE (7/14)

JOB OPENING: INTEGRATED MKTG MGR/ONE SOLUTION /NYC: Work on strategic/creative dvlpmnt/mngmnt of revenue-generating mktg solutions for clients. Respond to RFP, RFI and general Sales Requests. Min 5-7 yrs at agency media co or sales/mktg organization w/cross-platform exp. Radio exp a +. Full info/apply HERE  (7/14)

JOB OPENING: DIRECTOR AD SALES MARKETING/Discovery/LA: Lead Ad Sales Marketing team, managing concept through execution of Auto/Studio/Tech custom solutions, sponsorships, and value earned marketing opportunities across all platforms. Must have proven managerial experience. 8-10 yrs mktg exp. APPLY (7/14)

OTHER JOBS OF INTEREST

 
Work collaboratively with the Product and Development Teams in the management and execution of all design related deliverables.
Senior UX/UI Designer
Ziff Davis
NYC
 
Apply technical knowledge to adapt and update templates and forms effectively and efficiently as needed to meet creative vision for product within defined forms.
Graphic Designer
Buffalo Games
Buffalo NY
 
Responsible for creating complex data processing and presentation tools that integrate tightly with some of the largest franchises in the games industry.
Senior Software Engineer
Agora Games
Troy NY
 
Design, implement, and support tools and process to automate and improve infrastructure visibility and supportability.
DevOps Engineer
Agora Games
Troy NY
 
Create inspiring and highly detailed, realistic production friendly concept art that stays on style with the aesthetics already established in our game.
Senior Concept Artist
Zenimax Online Studios
Hunt Valley MD
 
Lead the mobile engineering under the guidance of the Technical Director and Sr. Product Owner, Mobile.
Lead Mobile Engineering
Zenimax Online Studios
Hunt Valley MD
 
Responsible for accurate and consumable documentation for projects and root cause analysis.
Senior Network Engineer
Electronic Arts
Austin TX
 
Work closely with the gameplay animation director to lead the gameplay animation team, keeping the team engaged, aligned and inspired throughout the development process.
Lead Gameplay Animator – Star Wars
Electronic Arts
Austin TX
 
Bring a wide range of both tested and innovative research methods to your work.
Senior Design Researcher – Xbox
Microsoft
Redmond WA
 
Drive the development of new innovations across Xbox Live, Mixer, and Universal Store. 
Senior Program Manager
Microsoft
Redmond WA
 
Work with a team of engineers to build large scale data services and features.
Senior Software Engineer, Blizzard Analytics
Blizzard
Irvine CA
 
Analyze and extract key insights and patterns from Blizzard’s rich collections of petabytes of gameplay and operational data.
Senior Data Scientist, Business Intelligence
Blizzard
Irvine CA
 
Develop and integrate new solutions for IGN’s desktop/mobile/apps display and video ad offerings.
Software Engineer, Ad Technology
Ziff Davis
San Francisco CA
 
Work closely with the Game Director and Audio Director to help shape our game’s Dialogue vocabulary, style, and standards.
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Research and development. Troubleshoot technical issues in Maya and game engine, keeping details records/documentation of tool creation.
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