Esports organization Cloud9 has reportedly raised $19.7 million in equity financing from investors, with plans to secure an additional $5.3 million, per Dexerto.
Lagardere Sports added another jewel to its esports crown, signing Splyce to the client list where the agency will oversee the team’s sales and help deliver new sponsors and developing individual marketing campaigns for the team. The agreement will focus on Europe and Asia as well as global opportunities. “Our partnership with Splyce enables us to demonstrate our activities and strengths beyond the borders of Europe, within the Asian market. We very much look forward to this collaboration and to increasing the number of games titles in our portfolio, for instance Starcraft 2 and Rocket League”, added Moritz Altmann, Senior Director of esports at Lagardère Sports.
Ligue 1 staple Paris Saint-Germain is going all in on Rocket League, announcing a three-person team that will compete professionally for the esports title. Making up the team will be Dan ‘Bluey’ Bluett, Thibault ‘Chausette45’ Grzesiak, and Victor ‘Ferra’ Francal.
OpTic Gaming has eyes on Dota 2, announcing the signing of The Dire, which consists of named that include Peter “ppd” Dager, Ludwig “zai” Wåhlberg, and Rasmus “MiSeRy” Filipsen.
T-Mobile signed on as North American sponsor of the 2017 League of Legends World Championship where they will serve as the presenting sponsor of a new segment during the Worlds 2017 broadcast – entitled The Best of the Rift – that bookends each week of Worlds, spotlighting the most anticipated players and celebrating the best performances.
Astralis has reportedly locked in a sponsorship deal with Coco Fuzion 100, valued at ‘a seven figure sum’ according to The Daily Mail. Philip Lindgaard, Head of Sales for C7 Brands Scandinavia who supply Coco Fuzion 100, told the site that the drinks can help esport players, stating: “In esports, it’s not about 4×15 or 2×45 minutes, the players need to stay sharp and perform over many hours, and this is exactly where Coco Fuzion creates an edge for the Astralis team.”
Allied Esports is tapping Premier Partnerships as the official sponsorship agency of record for Esports Arena Las Vegas at Luxor Hotel and Casino, scheduled to open in early 2018. “Esports Arena Las Vegas presents an unparalleled opportunity for multiple brands to get in on the ground floor of what we expect to be the global destination for championship esports events,” said Jud Hannigan, CEO of Allied Esports International. “Premier Partnerships has the relationships and the experience to bring this first-of-its-kind platform to market and find partners that understand the unique vision we have set forward.”
The Nevada Esports Alliance is co-hosting the third Future of Esports in Nevada Summit on Oct. 16 at UNLV’s William S. Boyd School of Law. Presented by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, and co-hosted by the NVEA and the Esports Integrity Coalition, the event will focus on where esports fits in the Las Vegas landscape and how the esports and the casino resort industries can collaborate for mutual benefit. “In the continuing evolution of Las Vegas, esports is one of the fastest growing event segments and will be a big part of the future landscape of the destination,” said Lisa Motley, director of sports marketing and special events for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA). “The LVCVA is excited to sponsor the Future of Esports in Nevada Summit to bring together the top minds in the industry to lay the foundation for becoming a major player in the esports arena.”
Good news on the SAG-AFTRA front as the union reached a tentative deal with game publishers that would end a nearly year-long strike, pending ratification of the terms. Members are now free to work with companies that include Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Take 2 Productions, WB Games and more. The deal sees SAG-AFTRA video game voice actors receiving a 3% increase in base wages, plus bonuses that include: $75 on the first session up to a total of $2,100 if you work 10 or more sessions.
Superdata reports that the worldwide digital video games market grew 11% year-over-year in August to hit $7.9 billion. In the US, digital games revenue grew year-over-year, underpinned by a rise in free-to-play digital revenue. Meanwhile, PUBG had another successful month, bringing total life-to-date sales close to 9 million units through August.
Razer announced that the company would launch a dedicated gaming smartphone to the market by 2018. CEO and co-founder Min-Liang Tan appeared on CNBC to discuss company plans, noting that “One of the most hotly rumored things about Razer is that we’re coming up with a mobile device. And I can say that we are coming up with a mobile device specifically geared toward gamers and entertainment.”
British esports tournament organizer Gfinity announced that the company raised $9,399,600 in their latest rounding of funding. The new round comes months after they raised $8m in May and an additional $5m in July. Chief executive Neville Upton said: ‘Gfinity has made significant progress in the last 6 months, with highlights including: the successful launch of Elite Series in UK, announcement of a partnership with HT&E Ltd to launch Gfinity Esports Australia, our acquisition of CEVO, Inc in United States and a number of events delivered all round the globe for several prestigious clients including major game publishers and Formula One. ‘Following on from these achievements, I am delighted to be able to announce this conditional placing, the funding from which will enable us to sustain our momentum to becoming a global leader in esports.’
Casino Scouts and UMG Media Corp. entered a partnership that makes UMG the exclusive provider for all of Casino Scouts’ client esports tournament needs. “The convergence of esports and casinos is a reality,” said Stephen Crystal, CEO of Casino Scouts. “Casinos want to offer content that appeals to the future generation of players, and will be consumed in the casino setting. UMG offers, by far, the best content and technology solution on the market today for esports.”
POWER PLAYERS – Brendan Donohue
With the clock officially ticking until the launch of the upcoming NBA 2K League, the organization will see a roster of 17 teams take part in the inaugural season which see leverage the league’s partnership with Take-Two Interactive, with players receiving a proper contract and sponsorship deals. Among the teams getting ready to rumble will be the Celtics, Mavericks, Pistons, Pacers, Grizzlies, Heat, Bucks, Knicks, Magic, 76ers, Trail Blazers, Kings, Raptors, Jazz and Wizards, with many of the teams already embedded in the esports world.
In an interview with Cynopsis, Brendan Donohue, Managing Director of NBA 2K League, discussed the league’s plans as well as its advantages to sponsors for the upcoming launch.
Donohue on taking on the role: This was really a blending of my two worlds. I spent the last 21 years working on the NBA but I also have a passion for gaming and have an 11-year old son and on the weekends we are on our gaming chairs getting after it.
On the state of the league: We have 17 teams that are committed for the 2018 season and we are now looking at tryouts starting in February. We’re look at mid-March for the draft. We are looking at players in market by April with the season starting in May. The season we are looking at will be 17 weeks long. The regular season will be 15 weeks long, with two weeks for the playoffs and finals. When it comes to competition, the only thing we know for sure at the point is that we are going to fly the players in on a consistent basis to play in a central studio. A lot of that will be assisted by our media rights conversations.
On working with teams: We obviously have deep relationships with all of our teams, and I personally have most of the NBA team presidents on my cell because I am friends with them. Our team marketing and operations group has been working with them consistently in helping them with the hiring process, building out the infrastructure, and preparing them for success in their respective markets.
On sponsors: It’s going great. I would expect that we will be announcing deals here soon, but the conversations have been fantastic. They are very excited about working with us for a couple of reasons. One being that we have very good relations with our current NBA partners and we are trying to help them potentially enter the esports world. Secondarily, brands have a comfort level with us and trust us to work with them on how to activate and engage. We have a couple of advantages in having a global understanding of basketball which gives us an advantage. People all around the world know what basketball looks like and that makes it easier for us to engage with the esports audience.
In addition, it is very easy for us to activate partners. If you are watching the game, it would probably feel more strange if there wasn’t courtside signage that if there was. One thing that benefits us is that we are rated “E” for everyone. That makes brands feel very comfortable as well.
Twitch named Maker Studios’ Kendra Johnson as the company’s new general manager of global content and development and emerging markets. She will now be charged with the social video platforms’ global content acquisition efforts while growing its business in both the Latin America and Asia Pacific regions.