09/20/18: Call of Duty World League announced format changes that include 5v5 and a $6 million purse

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The Call of Duty World League laid out its battle plan for the new season and the introduction of Call of Duty Black Ops 4 into the mix. New format changes for the upcoming season will include a transition to a five-versus-five format while the prize pool swells to $6 million. Meanwhile, region restrictions have been removed from all LAN events, allowing players from around the world to come together to compete at CWL events. The first major event of the 2019 CWL season will be CWL Las Vegas, from Dec 7-9, serving as a multi-stage competition featuring an Open Bracket, Pool Play, and a Championship Bracket.
 
The CWL Pro League, meanwhile, returns in February with the top four teams from CWL Las Vegas automatically qualifying for the league while teams placing from 5-32 will fight for the remaining 12 CWL Pro League spots, at a qualification event that will take place in January at the MLG Arena in Columbus. Those 16 Pro League teams will then be split up into two divisions, but there will no longer be a relegation period nor two separate stages. This year, there will only be one stage with 12-weeks of play, including inter-divisional play. All CWL Pro League matches will be broadcast on Monday through Thursday live from the MLG Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Activision will be opening a new dedicated circuit for amateur players.
 
In addition, the company is introducing the CWL Finals, giving the CWL Pro League Playoffs its own dedicated event, featuring the best teams in the world competing for a prize pool and trophy. At the same event, top amateur circuit teams will compete in their own playoff event which also serves as the Last Chance Qualifier for the end-of-year Call of Duty World League Championship. The CWL Championship will feature the sixteen Pro League teams and the top sixteen teams from amateur circuit.
 
 
COMPETITION and VENUES

Esports Stadium Arlington, poised to open as the largest esports arena in North America, locked in its first event, announcing that the Season 6 Finals of FACEIT’s Esports Championship Series will be hosted at the new venue. Running Nov. 22-25, the four day ECS Season 6 Finals will see the world’s top Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams converge to compete for the title of ECS Champions. ECS Season 6 coverage will stream exclusively on FACEIT’s official YouTube Channel.
 
Intersport is pairing up with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment to launch the 2018 Injustice 2 Pro Series Grand Finals Presented by Samsung and SIMPLE Mobile. The second annual event will take place on Nov. 13 out of Chicago to wrap up a four-month online and offline Injustice 2 Pro Series regular season program which determines the top 16 players from around the world. The 16 finalists across North America, Europe and Latin America will advance for a chance to win a share of $100,000 with the Grand Finals running live on Disney XD and ESPN3 on the ESPN App on Nov. 13 starting at 9p. In addition, the top 16 player matches will be streamed on Twitch at 11a.
 
Plans for the Capcom Cup 2018 tournament are cemented, taking place from Dec. 14-16 at Esports Arena Las Vegas. In mid-December, the action will be heading to Las Vegas. The event will see 32 of the best Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition players in the world square off for at $250,000 as part of the tournament in addition to an additional DLC prize pool. The 32 competitors will be based on worldwide standings on the Capcom Pro Tour website.
 
World Cyber Games inked a Memorandum of Understanding with Qujiang New District of Xi’an, China to hold the WCG 2019 finals from July 18-21, 2019, with Xi’an as the venue.
 
Get your tickets for the Esports Business Summit! Haven’t caught the latest session updates? Then you’ve missed additions that include:
  • Success in Esports: Growing Alongside Your Partners, with Bryan de Zayas – Americas Director of Gaming & Esports, Alienware, Steve Arhancet– Co-CEO & Owner, Team Liquid, and Nathan Lindberg – Director, Esports, Twitch
  • State of the Union: NBA 2K League, with speakers Jeff Eisenband – Senior Editor, The Post Game, Bryan de Zayas – Americas Director of Gaming & Esports, Alienware, Dayne “OneWildWalnet” Downey – Center, Blazer5 Gaming, Aaron Ryan – SVP, Business Operations, NBA 2K League, and Donald Stirling – Chief Revenue Officer, Utah Jazz.
  • Seeking Immortality: K-Swiss And The Esports Lifestyle, featuring Ari Segal – President and COO of Immortals and Indi Adams – Senior Director, Product for K-Swiss.
  • From Athlete to Entrepreneur: How Sports Figures Play a Role in Startups that Change the World, featuring Ryan Howard – MLB All Star and Partner at SeventySix Capital, Wayne Kimmel – Partner at SeventySix Capital, and John Fazio – CEO at N3rd Street Gamers
 
Riot Games offered a peek at its new venue in Seoul for the 2018 League of Legends World Championship. Dubbed LoL PARK, the arena will hold up to 500 spectators, house locker rooms for competing teams, and more with a soft opening slated for the World Championship play-in stage in October.
 
Blizzard laid out details of the Hearthstone Championship Tour Fall Championship, running Oct. 11-14, and featuring  two days (Oct. 11 and 12) of broadcast only, followed by two days (Oct. 13 and 14) of broadcast with a live studio audience on the Hearthstone Twitch channel. Live audience experiences are set to include games against developers, playing a pro and a Fireside Gathering against other attendees.
 
UEFA is exploring options for the launch an official esports tournament that will take place during EURO 2020, requesting expressions of interest from firms who could “create, develop and operate an official esports tournament,” according to Inside World Football. “The selected organizer (if any) would be responsible for all aspects of the E-Sports Tournament including (but not limited to) defining the tournament format and rules, running the online qualification tournaments, organizing the physical event and managing all on-site operations, providing a live feed for broadcast of the tournament, and capturing and analyzing data.  The relevant advertising, marketing, promotion and operation of the E-Sports Tournament will be subject to UEFA’s approval and guidelines,” said UEFA.
 
Upcoming esports event OP Live Dallas locked in its lineup of teams that will battle in the collegiate Overwatch tournament on Sept. 22. The tournament will progress through opening rounds, quarterfinals and semifinals, before culminating in the tournament finals and awards ceremony later in the day. Teams are set to include: Baylor University; Colorado State University; Mississippi State University; New Mexico State University; Oklahoma State University; Oklahoma University; Southern Methodist University; Texas Christian University; Texas Tech University; Texas Wesleyan University; University of Arkansas; University of Louisiana at Lafayette; University of Mississippi; University of North Texas; University of Texas Arlington; and University of Texas at Dallas.
 
Grass Valley announced that its live video production solutions will power the new Esports Stadium Arlington. Grass Valley’s solutions will provide professional grade broadcast production, delivering live gameplay and competition action to audiences around the globe via online channels, such as Twitch and YouTube. The $10-million, 100,000-square-foot space will host premier, high-action experiential events for thousands of fans each year from leading gaming companies.
 
 
INSIGHTS

This fall, two AAA titles seek to disrupt the Fortnite craze with their own take on the battle royale genre. Both Battlefield V and Call of Duty Black Ops 4 have released public betas, enabling Twitch streamers to critique the games, providing feedback to potential customers. This week’s insights breakdown the releases:
  • Black Ops 4 was more popular to Twitch viewers than Battlefield V. Both the total game hours watched, and game peak ccv was 6 times greater than BFV.
  • Black Ops 4 was also more popular among Twitch streamers. It was streamed on twice as many channels, and peaked with nearly 4K more channels than BFV.
  • Shroud was the top stream for both games and generated more than 3 times as many hours watched for Black Ops 4 as the top five streamers for BFV combined.
For more information, insights, and analysis, visit us at: blog.streamhatchet.com.
 
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ACTIVATION

Mastercard unlocked a multi-year partnership with Riot Games to become the first global sponsor for League of Legends esports. This first-of-its-kind global agreement signifies Mastercard’s support of the esports community and further diversifies the technology company’s world-class sports and entertainment portfolio. As the exclusive global payment services partner for League of Legends global esports events, Mastercard will focus on three annual global tournaments – the Mid-Season Invitational, the All-Star Event, and the pinnacle of all esports events, the World Championship. Mastercard will curate Priceless experiences and offers across onsite event activations, priceless.com and through other various promotions to bring fans closer to their passion and everything they love about League of Legends events. The first live-event activation will take place at the League of Legends World Championship this fall in South Korea.
 
German squad PENTA Sports entered a partnership with 20th Century Fox in a deal that will see the team promote upcoming movie releases. According to the team site, films will include titles such as Alita: Battle Angel and the X-Men movies. Furthermore, 20th Century Fox branding will be applied to a segment of the PENTA Sports Performance Center in Berlin.
 
The past week saw more sponsor activation involving Ninja. Samsung will promote the Galaxy Note9 and the Galaxy Tab S4 through a new contest and promotion for fans of Fortnite. The promotion will see Ninja look for someone new to join him on the Galaxy squad in Fortnite with the grand prize winner getting to play the game alongside him and receive the “ultimate Cross-Platform Gamer Pack.”
 
Meanwhile, TwitchCon 2018 will see Doritos in the trenches, with the announcement of the Doritos Bowl on Oct. 27 in San Jose. The event will feature top gamers competing in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’s new battle royale mode, Blackout, anchored by Ninja, Shroud, CouRage, and DrLupo. Team Ninja will see him joined by JoshOG, Gold Glove and Fearitself. Shoud’s group will include Just9n, Chocotaco and Chad. Team CouRage will add Karma, TeePee and Hysteria. DrLupo’s squad will bring Anne Munition, Mad Ruski and Ninja with no L to the table.
 
Red Bull Media House is renewing ties with Acer for the duo’s content partnership, according to TEO. The agreement will include exclusive content production, product placements, event partnerships, and media activations. In addition, two documentaries, Prism and part two of Part of the Game are also in the works.
 
 
FanAI SNAPSHOT

This week FanAI digs deeper into the relationships of different communities within the esports audience. Previously it was found that genre-based esports communities were separated in distinct audience segments, with 81% of Twitter followers only following their preferred genre. Unsurprisingly, it seems this same pattern is found in the audiences of popular streamers. Three top streamers who specialize in different titles also have highly distinct audiences. Shroud is known for CS:GO, PUBG and other FPS, FaZe’s TFue plays Fortnite, and Imaqtpie is a former League of Legends pro player and fan favorite. Only 0.3% of their combined twitter audience follows all three streamers. The most overlap is seen with Shroud and TFue who both specialize in the FPS genre. For brands looking to sponsor, engage in product activations, or otherwise market through streamers this data shows that to maximize the reach of a campaign a variety of personalities should be involved.
 
 
PLATFORMS

YouTube announced an upgrade for YouTube Gaming. The standalone app for gamers will now be shifted to the main YouTube experience. In a blog post, the company announced a new home for gamers on the platform at youtube.com/gaming, offering personalized gaming content based on what a user prefers to watch. In addition, users will see top live games and the latest gaming videos from subscriptions, in addition to building dedicated shelves for live streams and trending videos. Fans of a particular game can now find gaming videos from all over YouTube, related to that specific game on new game pages. These include popular videos, live streams, and other games from the same publisher or developer.
 
Skillz announced today that the company has doubled its revenue run-rate from $200 million in February to $400 million as of the end of July. The company now runs over two million tournaments a day, double the volume from its last financial announcement in April, with competitions for 13,000 game studios and more than 18 million players. 
 
FACEIT continues to spread its wings ahead of the London Major, teaming with ODEON cinemas and Barcraft United to allow CS:GO fans around the world to watch the finals of the FACEIT London Major. On Sept. 23, fans across the UK can experience the event in a cinema, with 14 locations around the country carrying the Grand finals. In addition, FACEIT is also teaming up with viewing party organizers Barcraft United. In addition, Sky Sports is picking up rights to carry the FACEIT London Major in the UK and will broadcast the final matches from the UK’s first CS:GO Major. The partnership marks the first time Sky Sports has ever broadcast competitive CS:GO.
 
Millennial Esports Corp. announced that the company’s Stream Hatchet business unit locked in deals with three esports/gaming brands in PUBG Corporation, management agency Machinima, and influencer agency Bent Pixels. “Companies like PUBG and Machinima are on the cutting edge of their industries, which means that we also need to stay ahead of the competition if we are to continue to bring them value,” said Stream Hatchet co-founder Eduard Montserrat. “That is why we put such an emphasis not only on the quality and uniqueness of our product, but on our personalized approach that ensures we are giving each client the specific metrics they need to be successful.”
 
OpTic Gaming is teaming up with Singapore-based JET8 to launch OpTic Snap, described as a mobile social media app designed to connect OpTic’s fan community, aka the Greenwall. The OpTic Snap app allows the team’s fans to share their favorite moments in picture or video format across major social media platforms, and offers rewards for doing so, as they earn JETS currency for in-app likes, comments, and shares, which can then be redeem discount vouchers up to 20% off and official OpTic Gaming merchandise, including an OpTic Pro Hoodie, Player Jacket, Pterodactyl Scallop Tee, and more.
 
NRG is going deeper into the streaming realm, announcing a deal to bring The Click Crew under its umbrella. The group is a collection to top streamers that include Muselk, Loserfruit, Crayator, BazzaGazza, Prestige, Lazarbeam, and Lachlan, who will all now stream under the NRG banner. Terms of the deal were not disclosed
 
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Come celebrate the latest and greatest in esports from over the last 12 months as we recognize over 60 frontrunners from across the esports ecosystem. Network with some of the industry’s elite over cocktails, dinner and at our after party—all while being inspired by the work our honorees produced. View finalists here .
 

ON THIS DAY in 2011: Microsoft releases Gears of War 3 for the Xbox 360.
 
Trivia: This classic 1982 movie about the search for the Ark of the Covenant became the first licensed video game to be based on a film. What is the movie? (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: What is the name of the world that encompasses the various kingdoms and lands in most Mario games? Answer: Mushroom Kingdom. Kudos: Julie Schell/NY; Will James-Midan Marketing/Mooresville; Allison Weiner – MMSI/Warwick; Jason Morro-Toyota/Houston; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA
 
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