Virtus.pro’s look is getting a shakeup courtesy of a deal with MegaFon. The team revealed new brand colors for its jerseys that will debut at The International 2018. Virtus.pro’s Dota 2 and Counter-Strike teams will both now don green and purple instead of the orange. “Our partnership with MegaFon is a crucial stepping stone for Virtus.pro and the entire Russian esports scene,” VP general manager Roman Dvoryankin said in a news release. “As the level of a professional esports culture rises in Russia, an alliance with the country’s leading telecom company further empowers the rapid development dynamics. I’m pleased to see MegaFon choosing us as the undisputed leaders of the region amidst the ever-increasing global integration in our industry.”
DreamHack renewed its partnership with Bell, which will continue to serve as the headlining event sponsor for DreamHack Montreal 2018. The Canadian telecommunications company returns as their exclusive telecom partner and headline partner for the third consecutive year with the event running Sept. 7-9 out of Olympic Stadium, with competition in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Hearthstone, Shadowverse, Starcraft 2 and Street Fighter V.
G FUEL’s newest activision will be with Team SoloMid’s Fortnite squad, where they will join Chipotle for Fortnite-specific activation. The brand announced the deal on Twitter via video. Several members of TSM then posted their own tweets announcing the new partnership, including pro Fortnite players ‘Daequan’ and ‘Hamlinz.’
Madden NFL 19 unveiled its official ad to celebrate the game’s release on Aug. 10, featuring the likes of Nicki Minaj, Quavo of Migos, Chris Redd from SNL, Lil Dicky, DeAndre Hopkins from the Houston Texans, and Joel Embiid from the 76ers
This week, FanAI looked into the proportion of esports fans that follow each major US traditional sports league, its teams, or players. They found that the NBA has more than double the number of esports fans on Twitter than any other league. FanAI speculates that this is a result of both the NBA’s investments into esports and the NBA’s younger, digitally-savvy audience.
More importantly, this shows that there is interest in traditional sports among esports fans. However, there is less cross-over between esports and the traditional sports leagues than between these leagues. For example, about 32% of NFL fans follow someone in the NBA.
EVO 2018 viewership saw audiences for Dragon Ball FighterZ hit 257,805 concurrent viewers according to GitHyp to rank as the most watched game at the annual event during its first year at the competition. Meanwhile, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Tekken 7, and Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2all hit their own individual game record-breaking max CCV numbers with 190.4K, 176.2K, and 106.5K respectively. Meanwhile, Street Fighter V drew peak viewership of 201.6K to mark the title’s best numbers so far this year. Overall, Evo’s strong Sunday viewership boosted its tally to 2.5M hours watched for the weekend.
In other viewership news, Blizzard reports that the Overwatch League Grand Finals accumulated 10.8 million viewers globally, exceeding the audience for all of the 2018 season’s opening week. Two matches (seven total maps) in two days were played during the event, which drew an estimated live global average minute audience across both days of the Grand Finals of 861,205. In the 18–34 demographic, the average minute audience was 605,013. Adding the average minute audience for rebroadcast views of the Grand Finals to the live viewer average, the estimated total global average minute audience across both days exceeds one million, according to the company.
Gamer Sensei acquired the dedicated League of Legendscoaching website, LeagueCoaching.gg. Through this acquisition, Gamer Sensei’s collection of League of Legends-specific coaches will grow, providing gamers with more coaches to choose from, while also giving existing LeagueCoaching.gg customers access to the robust Gamer Sensei platform. This is the second recent acquisition Gamer Sensei has made of game-specific coaching platforms, with the company previously acquiring DOTACoach.org.
Thunder Gaming announced a partnership with cloud-based gaming service Shadow by Blade Thunder Gaming Esports Center will serve as a beta testing site for utilizing cloud computing technology in a competitive gaming environment. As part of the partnership, Shadow accounts will be activated at Thunder Gaming for guests of the facility.
Rivalry.gg announced a partnership with veteran esports journalist, tournament host and analyst Richard Lewis. The partnership, facilitated by IMG, will promote the importance of responsible and safe betting in esports. Kevin Wimer, co-founder of Rivalry.gg, commented: “Our partnership with Richard Lewis represents our commitment to supporting stalwart members of the esports community who have actively worked to end the unregulated and often predatory betting on esports. We believe Richard more than anyone has worked to uncover and expose the harm done by these sites.”
Nintendo revealed that Castlevania pillar Simon Belmont and King K. Rool from the original Donkey Kong Country games would be joining the swelling list of characters taking part in the upcoming Super Smash Bros. Ultimate game. In addition, the Nintendo Direct also shared additional information on Echo fighters, new stages, new modes and a killer collection of music with more than 900 music tracks and 28 hours of music. The game launches exclusively for Nintendo Switch on Dec. 7.
Riot Games responded to a Kotaku report detailing allegations of sexual harassment and sex discrimination at the company, citing 28 sources who claimed hiring discrimination, unwelcome sexual comments and advancements toward female employees, as well a “bro culture.” According to ESPN, a Riot spokesperson released a statement that read, “This article shines a light on areas where we haven’t lived up to our own values, which will not stand at Riot. We’ve taken action against many of the specific instances in the article, and we’re committed to digging in, addressing every issue, and fixing the underlying causes. All Rioters must be accountable for creating an environment where everyone has an equal opportunity to be heard, grow their role, advance in the organization, and fulfill their potential.”
Daybreak Games officially announced that launch of H1Z1: Battle Royale, which will be a free-to-play game on PlayStation 4 and offer Battle pass Season 1, new weapons and more. “Everyone here at Daybreak Games is thrilled with the overwhelmingly positive response to H1Z1’s debut on PS4,” said H1Z1 Producer Terrence Yee. “Ten million new players in our first month in Open Beta is an incredible milestone, and our entire development team has worked tirelessly to build on that early success. We’re beyond excited to officially launch H1Z1 on PS4 – this is our fully realized vision for battle royale on console.”
Showtime served up a release window for the upcoming Halo television series, locking in 2020 for the debut of the show. Ten episodes have been ordered for the first season.
SPOTLIGHT – The Story Mob’s Nicola Piggott
As the esports industry matures, executives are increasingly stressing the importance of effective esports communications. Enter The Story Mob.The agency is today releasing the “Seven Commandments of Esports Communications,” a whitepaper designed to give a brand, team or business best practices for effective communication in the world’s fastest growing sport. Mantras include: create value; be authentic; be timely; be media savvy; be transparent; be truthful about who you are; and be bold. (Be sure to check out the white paper and its examples at CynopsisEsports.com and via TheStoryMob.com.)
Company co-founder Nicola Piggott told Cynopsis about its guidelines, the evolution of esports PR and tips to engage audiences. For the full interview, visit CynopsisEsports.com.
Piggott on Esports PR: Although games PR has existed for decades, The Story Mob is the first consultancy solely dedicated to esports. With any new sport, it takes time to build up the support services that help it succeed – from lawyers who understand the ecosystem’s complexities to comms pros who are able to help brand speak to its fans. Luckily for us, esports is one of the most exciting and dynamic places to practice communications, largely because the audience is so connected and responsive. With more investment than ever flowing into the ecosystem and teams and brands looking to create stronger bonds with esports fans, now is the time for communications pros with experience to help shape those conversations.
On the whitepaper: We wrote the whitepaper to answer a lot of common questions that we get as esports communications professionals. We’ve been privileged to work in esports for multiple years, and we care about helping the sport to grow and avoiding pitfalls that hold it back. That’s why we wanted to spread the word about a few simple things that we think everyone in the scene should keep in mind when planning out their communications. The commandments may seem obvious – say what you mean, don’t fake knowledge or enthusiasm – but too often we see them being broken. I’d like to think that this is relevant for anyone that’s looking to speak directly to esports fans – whether or not they have the budget to work with an external consultancy like us.
On good PR/communications: As we say in the whitepaper, esports fans are some of the most demanding – and bullshit resistant! – sports fans in the world. This is a sport born into a post internet world, which means fast and plentiful information, close connections with athletes and the potential for crises to explode in the blink of an eye. Having a thoughtful and thorough approach towards your communications is what separates esports teams and brands from their competitors. Automotive or telecom brands aren’t thinking moment to moment – they have decade long brand goals and messaging to help them get there. When we work with brands in the esports space, we encourage the same long view.
On the seven rules: We approached the commandments as a set of universal truths that we wanted to see more awareness of within esports. We could have been more specific and tactical – given a playbook on how to run an AMA or how to work with a pro or team after a crisis – but our goal was to highlight the values that we should all be holding to. Some of the simpler commandments – ‘be truthful about who you are’, for example – felt pretty obvious, but we see so many examples of brands making statements that they don’t stand by, or claiming standards that they don’t apply in their operations. We need to dial things back and help brands articulate who they are, what they bring to the ecosystem and what they stand for. Everything else is window dressing.
ESL is making changes to its executive team, announcing a new, dual leadership approach at CEO level and a new COO. Ralf Reichert, the Founder and CEO of ESL, will now share the CEO position with David Neichel as Co-CEO. The dual leadership allows Ralf to focus on the ESL vision and strategy while David Neichel, who joined ESL in 2017 as COO, will continue to drive product delivery for fans, manage key revenue streams, develop departments and talent within the organization, and strengthen the global footprint of ESL. Meanwhile, Krzysztof Pikiewicz is being promoted from Senior Vice President of Esports Services to Chief Operating Officer.
Former 2K Games president Christoph Hartmann his heading to Amazon Games as its new VP of game studios. At Amazon Games, he will lead the studio’s teams across Seattle, Orange Country, and San Diego in their work on games such as New World, Crucible, and other upcoming titles.
ON THIS DAY in 1992: Midway Amusement Games releases Mortal Kombatto arcades in the US.
Trivia: Easy one. What does Dota stand for? (Note: I don’t mean “Depending on the Artist”) (Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Which Disney character inspired the look of Link in The Legend of Zelda franchise, according to game designer Shigeru Miyamoto? Answer: Peter Pan. Kudos: Julie Reuther/Sydney; Chris Davies-Virgin/London; Marissa Sunio-Columbia University/NY; Danny Araque/NY; Allison Weiner-MMSI/Warwick; Gabrielle Pedro Fredrick-National Geographic/DC; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Jason Morrow-Toyota/Houston; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank