07/20/17: ELeague’s International plans; Publishers brace for Comic-Con; Ultimate Media makes the Grade

It’s Thursday July 20, 2017 and this is your weekly early morning eSports & Gaming brief.

TBS is getting in on some Dota 2 action, announcing plans to televise a new four-episode series – ELeague | Road To The International Dota 2 Championships starting Aug. 4 at 10p. The feature-length series produced by ELeague follows pro players and teams vying for esports’ largest prize pool (more than $21 million) in one of its most prestigious events. In addition, ELeague will introduce the game to TBS viewers with a special presentation of Valve’s Free To Play documentary on July 28 at 10p. Initial episodes of the series will focus on team life and drama as the best players in the world train for the event while later episodes will explore teams’ “experiences, triumphs and failures” during the tournament itself.

ESPN2’s coverage of the EVO 2017 Street Fighter V finals brought in an average of 180,000 viewers for the battle on Sunday, according to Nielsen, off-pace from last year’s average of 201,000 viewers on the network. While numbers don’t include additional viewership on Twitch, the contest averaged around 136,900 viewers on TV in the 18-49 demo. Meanwhile, the telecast-only run of Disney XD’s coverage of EVO’s Super Smash Bros. Finals handed the channel with 184,000 total viewers on Sunday. 
Meanwhile, ESL One Cologne saw record-breaking digital engagement for this year’s event in addition to record attendance. The league reports that the CS:GO event drew a sold out crowd with over 15,000 fans on each of the event days with more than 30 million unique social media platform users generating over 209 million impressions. Online and linear viewership came in at over 62 million sessions with more than 13 million hours of consumed content. ESL One Cologne was also streamed in Virtual Reality, where over 180,000 unique viewers tuned into broadcast through SLIVER.tv.
Speaking of ESL, the company has opened brackets for the inaugural VR Challenger League presented by Intel and Oculus, dangling a $200,000+ prize pool across The Unspoken and Echo Arena. Regional offline events will lead to the World Championship at Intel Extreme Masters Katowice in 2018 featuring players from Europe and North America.
Salt Lake City is set to host is first pro-grade esports competition in Sept., according to organizers of The GameTyrant Expo, running Sept. 29-Oct. 1. The event will dangle $100,000 in prizes for titles that include League of Legends, Hearthstone, Rocket League, the newly-released Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite, Tekken 7 Street Fighter V and Injustice 2 in addition to Super Smash Bros. and Super Smash Melee.
CNBC hosted new Overwatch League team owners New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and New York Mets COO Jeff Wilpon to discuss their new investments in the upcoming league. “We see in the NFL that the millennials and the ‘Z’ generation are consuming things differently through their mobile device,” Kraft said. “They’re playing games hours and hours a day, and not watching sports the way we did. So we wanted to go with the best and try to participate in what’s happening in this whole new field.”
ESL revealed details for its pair of original television series that will air on D|XP, part of the new gaming block on Disney XD. The new shows will include ESL Brawlers and ESL Speedrunners, set to debut on July 20 and in August respectively. ESL Brawlers “tests the limits of some of the most skilled Street Fighter V players to determine the best player over the course of six action-packed episodes.” Meanwhile, ESL Speedrunners serves up a race against the clock to complete each game in the shortest amount of time.
Feature length documentary CoDumentary is poised to make its debut at Dreamhack Atlanta, with two screenings on Friday at 6p and Sunday at noon, showcasing the world of Call of Duty, filmed in the USA, UK, France including the DDay beaches with esports, teams, players, coaching, and tournaments in the spotlight.
EVO Japan has its game lineup locked in, with the action taking place in Tokyo from Jan 26-28. At play will be seven titles, including: Arms, BlazBlue, Central Fiction, Guilty Gear Xrd, King of Fighters XIV, Tekken 7, Super Smash Bros. 4 and Street Fighter V.
The Universal Open, presented by NBC Sports Group, in partnership with FACEIT and Psyonix, is off and running, with the US Open Qualifier underway. Meanwhile the Mid-Atlantic and Philadelphia Qualier will kick off today, followed by the New England Qualifier on July 25, the Chicago Qualifier on July 26 and the Northwest and bay Area Qualifiers on July 27. 
Red Bull will host this year’s Capcom Pro Tour North American regional finals at its Red Bull Battle Grounds event for Street Fighter V players. The action runs Nov. 18-19 at The Castle in Boston and marks the second year in a row that Red Bull Battle Grounds will serve as the North American final host.

What’s hot in the weeks ahead…

DreamHack Atlanta will include The DreamHack Astro Open, the 6th of 9 CS:GO Opens to be held in 2017. A total of eight teams from around the globe will compete for $100,000 on stage in front of thousands of fans in this tournament. Meanwhile, The International 2017 is the single largest DOTA 2 tournament of the year, featuring nearly 200 of the world’s top teams competing for esports’ highest prize pool yet – $21,717,711 and growing.
Provided by: Esports One & Esportspedia: Revolutionizing Esports Data

Nintendo launched a new smartphone app titled Nintendo Switch Online, designed to serve as a companion platform for its new console. The app will allow users to customize the app for specific games in addition to the ability to voice chat, send invites, etc. One of the first games to use the app will be the upcoming Splatoon 2, which launched tomorrow with the game’s submenu allowing gamers to interact directly with various aspects of the game, see stats, but items for their character, etc. The company plans to charge $20 per year to access multiplayer modes and download classic games starting next year.
ESL Play reports that the platform now boasts seven million members in its grassroots drive to over tournaments and ladders across multiple games and skill levels. Since 2002, over 10,000 ESL Play Go4 cups have awarded more than $2,000,000 in prize money to online competitors with over 80,000 open tournaments conducted through the platform. “We at ESL are passionate in hosting Go4 tournaments for over 15 years and are proud to have fostered global gaming talent through ESL Play,” said Stefan Weber, Director of Community Management, ESL. “Esports would not be where it is today without the grassroots efforts of players and fans, and we aim to continue laying the foundation for future professional gamers through our online cups.”
The Philadelphia 76ers officially opened the doors to The Sixers Innovation Lab Crafted by Kimball, an 8,000 square-foot lab space located at the base of the Business Operations Facility at the Philadelphia 76ers Training Complex and officially recognized four divers inaugural companies attached to the project. Included will be esports training platform U GIT GUD, an online, hyper-improvement training platform providing professional, amateur and beginner esports players with (patent-pending) dynamic analytics and personalized recommendations with videos from some of the top esports players in the world. The startup will debut a beta private platform in late July, supporting League of Legends.

GameCo entered into a license agreement with BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment to jointly develop a skill-based gambling video game based on fighting games, SoulCalibur II. The video game gambling machine is expected to debut in casinos in late 2017 and feature a faster-paced take on the classic 3D fighting experience of the series. The game will take approximately 45 to 60 seconds to play.
Bloomberg reports that Razer Inc. is “shooting for a Hong Kong initial public offering that could value the gaming gear maker at as much as $5 billion and help fund development of its own mobile phone.” The company is in the process of developing a mobile device tailored for its consumer base of hardcore gamers, according to the report, with a target to list around October. According to the report, Razer’s IPO would rank as one of the largest tech debuts in the Asian financial center in years.
After teasing a new console at E3, Atari is now offering more details about the Ataribox, designed to offer gamers both “classic gaming content” and “current gaming content.” In the reveal, the company said that “We know you are hungry for more details; on specs, games, features, pricing, timing etc. We’re not teasing you intentionally; we want to get this right, so we’ve opted to share things step by step as we bring Ataribox to life, and to listen closely to Atari community feedback as we do so.”

Expect another heavy dose of gaming at Comic-Con, which starts today. Nintendo is setting up a lineup of activities that include a playable version of the Super Mario Odyssey game at the booth while the San Diego ballroom of the Marriott Marquis & Marina will be transformed into a Nintendo paradise. Fans can also participate in competitions sponsored by Nintendo for a chance to win prizes, catch a glimpse of the upcoming Super NES Classic Edition hardware and celebrate the launch of Splatoon 2 with special game-themed activities. “Bringing our games and experiences directly to the fans is very important to us,” said Doug Bowser, Nintendo of America’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “Since San Diego Comic-Con is full of so many Nintendo fans of all ages, it’s the perfect place to let everyone enjoy many of our upcoming games.”

Blizzard hits San Diego with new items as well as an Overwatch panel. Activations will see fans able to visit the Lich King’s Ice Cream Citadel at the Petco Park parking lot. In addition, a Hearthstone Tavern event is lined up for Saturday from 6-10p PT at the Knotty Barrel in downtown San Diego, with appearances by cosplayer Jessica Nigri, Hearthstone developer Yong Woo, and members of esports team Tempo Storm.
Square Enix takes on Comic-Con by offering the first-ever hands-on with Tokyo RPG Factory’s sophomore title Lost Sphear and preview Final Fantasy XII the Zodiac Age and Dissidia Final Fantasy NT, which will also see two tournaments at the booth throughout the weekend. Square Enix will also present a Life is Strange: Before the Storm panel on Friday at 6:30p in Room 24ABC with host Andrea Rene.
HyperX laid out plans to team with six famed cosplayers to host a cosplay scavenger hunt during Comic-Con 2017. Event attendees will be able to compete for HyperX gaming gear prize packs – by exploring the show floor and finding any of the six D.Va cosplayers sporting custom painted HyperX Cloud Revolver S headsets. Attendees who locate any of the six D.Va cosplayers around the convention floor, take a photo with them and post it to Instagram or Twitter will be eligible.
The Overwatch League could face legal trouble over the likeness of its new logo, which bears some similarities to that of Major League Baseball. MLB has requested an extension from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to file an opposition to the logo, which was approved in March, according to law firm Morrison Lee.
Xbox signed on to become the official console partner for Real Madrid as they prepare for the team’s Summer Tour in the US. The deal will see the brand activate through coding clinics with Real Madrid players at Microsoft Stores in addition to free FIFA 17 tournaments. 
POWER PLAYERS – Jonmichael “JB” Bukosky

Since launching with a vision “to enhance and advance the esports community through innovations of value that fill voids in underserved areas of the market” in the esports industry, Ultimate Media Ventures has now evolved with major investments into two operating divisions: Weapons Grade Studios (content) and ULT (elevated lifestyle & technical products).
Following the recent launch of its esports-dedicated studio in Huntington Beach, the company is now lining up a roster of sponsors dedicated to the space. Offering 22,000 square feet of video game and lifestyle inspired space, the venue now serves as the largest dedicated esports studio, broadcast and training center in the world with zones that include: private LAN center (54 stations), dedicated main stage (up to 6v6 team battles), Twitch influencer pods (4 shipping containers that act as sound-proof broadcast centers for streaming), 3 custom-built sound booths and more. Cynopsis Esports asked company CEO and Founder Jonmichael “JB” Bukosky about the company’s shifts since launch, its sponsors and what we can expect down the road.
Bukosky on the launch of Weapons Grade Studios: Over the last year, many new players have entered into the esports space. We are life-long gamers and have cut our teeth in gaming & entertainment industries for decades. We believe in leading by example and doing vs. talking; we are the first entity to offer optimized infrastructure for content creators, leagues and publishers to define and/or hone-in their messaging to the community. Many of our friends and partners in our industry are creating public esports arena facilities with a focus on a public viewing audience, which is not what our studio is. Creating content can be quite expensive, as such we have built the studio to reduce costs, reduce time and create compelling content for the community.
Due to the fact that 100% of our facility is owned and operated by UMV with esports in mind, we have successfully reduced the high cost of doing content for constituents in our industry. We are not a MCN, we are a focused studio around esports and the associative community. Weapons Grade Studios is a ‘one stop shop’ for all things esports content and production related. No job is too big or too small for our studio team, led by some of the best and brightest minds in the space.
On brands: We are honored to be working with ‘best in class’ brands in the esports and gaming community with the likes of Linksys/Belkin, DXRacer, Razer, and Origin PCs… with more to be announced soon.  Look for more from those partnerships over the next year, as our model extends beyond the studio into activations and events as well.
On lessons learned: Our studio is an accumulation of lessons learned over the past few years from all types of content creation, to producing large scale arena esports tournaments for leagues. Through our lessons learned, we have created an infrastructure that enhances the traditional 360 media model where we can do as much as 100% of a production or as little as directing a broadcast. We control the infrastructure from sets, to training, to equipment, to broadcast… 100% of our operation is under our control.

Skillz added Kent Wakeford to its board of directors. He had previously served as Coo of Kabam. “Skillz solves two of the most challenging problems facing the $46 billion mobile gaming industry, monetization and discovery, by enabling competitive play,” said Wakeford. “eSports are one of the fastest growing segments in the video game industry, and Skillz is leading the way on mobile by powering competitions for thousands of indie developers as well as iconic franchises like Street Fighter.”
Casey Husdon is returning to BioWare as its GM, while current GM Aaryn Flynn will depart the company. Flynn has been at BioWare for 17 years.
ESL locked in a pair of key global executive hires, naming Rodrigo Samwell as Chief Marketing Officer and Martin Hubert as Chief Revenue Officer. “This is an exciting time for the global esports industry with ESL at the heart of this massive ecosystem,” said Ralf Reichert, Global CEO and President, ESL. “These new executive hires reflect the company’s global focus to better service our growing roster of partners, publishers and sponsors, and add expertise in key areas such as marketing and sales. We are excited to welcome Martin and Rodrigo to the team.”
Meanwhile, Echo Fox is turning to former NBA veteran Jared Jeffries as the team’s new president. Jeffries will join the organization and assume responsibility for Echo Fox operations including player recruiting and team development. “Jared Jeffries is a proven winner and fierce competitor on and off the court,” said Rick Fox, 3-time NBA champion and VVP partner. “We cannot be more excited to have someone with his pedigree as a professional player and front office executive help lead Echo Fox as it continues its ascension to the number one esports organization in the world.”  
Newest Strategies for Branded Content
Branded content has enormous potential to really move the needle (if done correctly), which is why we’re excited to share the latest and greatest branded content strategies with you. Listen in on Tuesday, July 25, for Cynopsis’  Newest Strategies for Branded Content   webinar as we do a deep dive into winning branded content strategies with content experts at The New York Times, IFC and Branded Entertainment Network.

2005: Grand Theft Auto San Andreas had its ESRB rating changed from Mature to Adults Only.


Trivia: Art imitates life in this episode of Seinfeld, which sees George Costanza try to preserve his high score in which classic game? (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: Name the game pictured last week. Answer: Missile Command. Kudos: Chris Davies-Virgin/London; Rob Casalaina-ITN/NY; Danny Araque/NY; Scott Jenkins-Gracenote/NY; Joe Olson/DC; Glen Ross/DC; Marc Mugnos-Stadium/Chicago; Dan Hanson/Vail; Hal Isaacson-The Charity Network/LA; Jamie Shortill-Park Lane/Santa Monica; JC Rodrigo-Nintendo of America/Redmond; Andy Babb-Super League Gaming/Santa Monica

Later — Chris
Roberta Caploe
Diane K Schwartz
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JOB OPENING: DIRECTOR, STRATEGIC CONTENT & NEWS PARTNERSHIPS/CNBC/Englewood Cliffs NJ: Drive pioneering growth initiatives & partnerships for CNBC Bus. Day, Events, & Digital.  5+yrs exp at a news organization or other major media enterprise. Full info/apply HERE (7/28)

JOB OPENING: MANAGER, SALES ADMIN/NBCU/LA: Review and interpret deal summaries and license agreements in order to enter and maintain license terms in contract/availability management and inventory system. Full info/apply HERE (7/27) 

JOB OPENING: PRGRM ACQUISITIONS MGR/Films Media Group/NY: 3+yrs exp acquisi.; factual prgmng knwlg; solid ind contacts; exp: educ & learning; self-starter & deal-maker; BA/BS req, Res to: RESUMESFMG@INFOBASELEARNING.COM EOE (7/26)

JOB OPENING: SR MANAGER, DIGITAL AD PRODUCTS/A+E Networks/NY: Help diversity A+E Networks ad product line up, by creating ground breaking ad products, certifying new partners, devices and points of distribution, and owning the product education, maintenance, and specification process. Full Info/Apply HERE (7/26)

JOB OPENING: PRODUCER, NEWS/NYC: Plan & coord production of NewsHourWeekend – story dev thru post-prod & delivery; min 4yrs multimed exp, incl exp in dealing w/a wide range of contemporary issues; news exp a must. Exceptional written/verbal comm & presentation skills. Full info/apply HERE (7/26)

JOB OPENING: SR ANALYST, TV RESEARCH/CAA/LA: Produce written analysis & presentations for represented properties for brdcst/cbl/synd/OTT programs. Min 3 yrs exp TV rsch related to synd TV pref’d. Brdcst/cble ntwk exp a +. BA deg required. Full info/apply HERE (7/26)

DIRECTOR PRESENTATION DESIGN & CREATIVE SERVICES/CBS/NYC: Design, produce & edit sales materials. Min 6 yrs industry exp. Ability to communicate media research. Advanced skills in PowerPoint, Photoshop, Illustrator & InDesign. Full info/apply HERE (7/25)

JOB OPENING: SR. PICTURE EDITOR/Photography/A+E/NY: Develop & evolve the photographic direction across all editorial platforms. 5+ yrs exp in either the photographic, design or art industries. Proficiency in Adobe Creative Suite. Est’d vendor relationships & contacts. Apply: HERE (7/25)  

JOB OPENING: MANAGER, INTEGRATED SPONSORSHIPS & SALES/PAC-12/LA: Drive team performance and sales of AE’s the LA office. You will also be an evangelist for, and successfully sell, all of Pac-12 Networks properties including national and local TV, digital, and sponsorships. For full posting/apply HERE (7/25)  

JOB OPENING: SR BUSINESS ANALYST/WIDE ORBIT/NYC: Gather requirements from customer re: new features. Create documentation and user stories. 5+ yrs of exp cable ntwrk ind w/focus in pricing & plan’g, and sales. Full info/apply HERE (7/22)

JOB OPENING: MGR, BUSINESS & LEGAL AFFAIRS/AMC Networks/NYC: Draft & negotiate high volume of content license agreements & interpreting contractual rights. 2+ yrs legal exp in-house or law firm drafting IP contracts. J.D. degree is pref. Full info/apply HERE (7/22)

JOB OPENING: DIGITAL AD OPERATIONS SENIOR ASSOCIATE/A+E Networks/NY: Coordinate detailed implementation for complex online campaigns across all A+E Networks non-linear properties, including desktop, mobile/tablet, OTT and STB-VOD. Full Info/Apply HERE (7/22)  

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 (7/22)

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 (7/22)
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 (7/22)

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)


Perform discovery and vulnerability scans on networks and validate findings through penetration testing.
Senior Security Engineer
Chicago IL
Maintaining and developing relationships with custom licensees to help meet their engine support needs.
Developer Support Account Manager
Epic Games
Cary NC
Driving performance of the Unreal Engine 4 on Sony platforms, primarily PS4.
Console Engineer – Unreal Engineer
Epic Games
Cary NC
Strive to effectively design project plans based on priorities, set clear/measurable objectives.
Senior Product Manager, Social Casino
Austin TX
Mentor the design team in the creation of new feature and content plans that best support the game vision.
Design Manager
Seattle WA
Architect and implement an automated testing platform for a large-scale MMO client/server infrastructure.
Lead Test Engineer
Seattle WA
Concept functional and visual design of game user interface and information systems.
Senior UI/UX Designer
Carbine Studios
Aliso Viejo CA
Creating challenging multiplayer game content in Unreal 4 and the Blueprint system.
Senior Technical Designer
Carbine Studios
Aliso Viejo CA
Self-sufficient in creating stunning in-game visuals; by making assets for abilities, environments & content.
Senior VFX Artist
Aliso Viejo CA
Conceptualize and create production quality art (banners, social media images, etc.) for Marketing and Community needs.
Associate Graphics Designer (Marketing)
GungHo Online
El Segundo CA
Develop, coordinate, and manage public relations campaigns and related activities that sustain a specific image for our core games
Senior Public Relations Manager
Trion Worlds
Redwood City CA
Work within the overall game vision and existing design while becoming owner and point man on one or more core game systems.
Senior Systems Designer
Trion World
Redwood City CA
Present results to game teams and work with them to develop improvements based on research results.
Senior User Research Manager
San Mateo CA
Attends business meetings and takes and distributes meeting notes and action items.
Operations Specialist Licensing & Esports
San Francisco CA
Develop and writes, precise, maintainable and portable code.
Game Programmer – Unreal Engine
San Francisco CA

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