10/04/18: The Tempest Awards delivered kudos to esports biggest brands

It’s Thursday October 4, 2018 and this is your weekly early morning Esports briefing. For additional longer-form esports news plus jobs, a team directory, glossary, calendar and data, check out our new esports hub updated daily: http://cynopsisesports.com.

Congratulations to all of our finalists and winners at the Tempest Awards, which took place last night at Esports Arena Las Vegas. Overwatch League and ELEAGUE led the pack as multiple winners with Overwatch League laying claim to Best TV Broadcast, Best New Esports Competition – Season or Series, Ambassador Award for On-Air Personality of the Year for Chris Puckett, and Executive of the Year for Nate Nanzer. ELEAGUE, meanwhile, took home Best Tech, Best Esports-themed Program (non-competitive), and Best Esports Competition – Single Tournament or Event. Ninja emerged as the victor for Streamer of the Year, while Fortnite was named Best New Esports Game. Team Liquid emerged took home the trophy for top Esports Team Organization of the Year, while Dell/Alienware won Brand of the Year, and Riot Games laid claim for Outstanding Esports Competition – Season or Series for its League of Legends Championship Series. The evening also honored a special recognition of two legends of the industry who were inducted into the Tempest Hall of Fame: Kevin Lin (Co-Founder of Twitch) and Hector Rodriguez (Founder of OpTic Gaming), along with our Watch List honorees. Other winners:
  • Best Social Experience: Infinite Esports & Entertainment for Houston Outlaws – Band Together.
  • Best Brand Activation: ESL for ESL and Mercedes-Benz
  • Best License & Merchandising Activation: Red Bull for Red Bull Conquest
  • Venue of the Year: Allied Esports for Esports Arena Las Vegas
  • New Esports Competition: Single Tournament: FIFA eWorld Cup Grand Final 2018
  • Outstanding Collegiate Esports Team or Program: The University of California Irvine

ELEAGUE unveiled plans to showcase Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, the upcoming title from Activision’s Call of Duty series, as the culmination of the Call of Duty Endowment’s three-day charity livestream celebrating the game’s release. ELEAGUE’s fan-focused streaming event will pick up the action immediately after the close of the CODNATION Challenge livestream, spanning Oct. 11-13. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 x ELEAGUE CODNATION Challenge for Vets will be held at ELEAGUE Arena in Atlanta on Oct. 13, beginning at 5p, with live coverage presented on Twitch. The event will feature 12 popular influencers from the Call of Duty community. Players will form three teams of five and face off in several Black Ops 4 multiplayer games, highlighted by the anticipated “Blackout” battle royale mode. Each team will consist of a mix of community figures and professional Call of Duty players, with casters as captains.

ELEAGUE also unveiled new ties with Nintendo. The company states that they will be partnering to showcase Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – leading up to its December 7 release – offering fans a three-part, episodic series under the banner of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Invitational 2018 presented by ELEAGUE, exclusively airing on TBS in November 2018. ELEAGUE’s telecasts will present content captured during the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Invitational 2018 tournament held at E3 earlier this year.

Mike Morhaime is stepping down as president of Blizzard Entertainmentafter 27 years, and will be succeeded by World of Warcraft executive producer J. Allen Brack. “After many years of working with some of the industry’s most talented people to create games and worlds for you to play in, I’ve decided it’s time for someone else to lead Blizzard Entertainment,” said Morhaime. “I will now serve as an advisor to the company I so love and admire.” As for the future, “I truly believe that this amazing community has the potential to be a shining light to the rest of the industry by setting a positive example of inclusivity, tolerance, and acceptance toward others,” said Morhaime. “In the words of one of Blizzard’s core values: remember to always play nice; play fair. I know this community is capable of changing the world.”

Expressing gratitude to “wise and patient mentor” Morhaime, Brack announced two changes to the Blizzard team: Ray Gresko, a 10-year veteran of Blizzard who helped create both Overwatch and Diablo III, is now chief development officer, and Allen Adham, Blizzard’s original founder and lead designer of World of Warcraft, will join the executive team while continuing to oversee development of several new games.  One thing that won’t change going forward, said Brack, is “Our deeply held commitments that are core to who we are as a company: to gameplay first, to quality in everything we do, and to listening to and partnering with our community.”

Electronic Arts rolled out a new slate of competitions for EA SPORTS FIFA 19 Global Series that aims to give PlayStation 4 players an exclusive way to compete and expand access to esports around the globe. Play begins on Oct. 6 and will allow players to compete online to qualify for the all-new Continental Cup 2018 Presented by PlayStation, marking the first official EA Sports FIFA 19 Global Series tournament of the season, which will take place at Paris Games Week from October 26 – 28. PlayStation will run up to 30 exclusive PS4 live and online events in countries around the world as part of the EA SPORTS FIFA 19 Global Series. In addition, PlayStation will also be the presenting sponsor at several additional EA SPORTS FIFA 19 Global Series events throughout the 2018 – 2019 season.

Activision announced that CWL Vegas will make history as the first esports event to take place in the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas. The event runs from Dec. 7-9, and marks the inaugural CWL event of the Black Ops 4 season as well as the debut of the new 5v5 Call of Duty in a competitive LAN environment.

Esports Championship Series has revealed the full lineup of teams set to compete in ECS Season 6. Six new teams are joining the roster, among them MiBR, CompLexity Gaming, OpTic Gaming and North. These teams will compete for a chance to earn a trip the grand finals at Esports Arena Arlington and a piece of the $750,000 prize pool.


Blizzard locked in its schedule for the Overwatch World Cup, which returns on Nov. 2. The first match will take place at 3:15p, followed by matchups at 5:15p, 7:15p and 9:15p. The quarterfinals will feature Team France/Team Canada, Team China/Team Finland, Team USA/Team United Kingdom, and Team South Korea/Team Australia. Semifinals launch Nov. 3 at 12:30p and 2:30p, with the bronze medal match at 4:30p and the finals at 6:45p.

The World Finals for the inaugural season of the Clash Royale League are slated to be held on December 1 at Japan’s Makuhari Messe. During the full-day event, the top Clash Royale team from each of the League’s global regions will compete, with only one team reigning victorious, earning the Golden Crown Trophy. Earlier this year, 25 million players competed for a chance to participate in the inaugural year of Supercell’s Clash Royale League, a global esports league with 44 teams across the world’s best esports organizations.
The Toronto Maple Leafs and WorldGaming Network announced Leafs Gaming League, an online ladder for EA SPORTS NHL 19 fans and competitive gamers. Registration opens today and players will have until December 2018 to qualify for the Grand Finals taking place on January 3, 2019 at Scotiabank Arena. From October 3 through to the 2018 holiday season, NHL 19 gamers can compete 1-vs-1 online to earn points and climb a virtual ladder. Ladder rankings will determine qualification for various tournaments and will give gamers access to perks and rewards throughout the league. The Leafs Gaming League will also host Leafs Gaming Day on October 21 at Real Sports Bar and Grill in Toronto.
The Katowice, Poland city council is extending its ties with IEM, voting to “co-organize and promote” the world championship taking place at the huge IEM Katowice event operated by ESL, according to multiple reports. The city’s current deal with ESL expires after its 2019 show, causing the city to approve about $3.5 million to help promote the event up to 2023 with the 2018 action hosting 169,000 spectators. Next year will now see IEM Katowice serve as the 14th Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major.
The Major League Baseball Players Association is going full swing into esports, announcing a partnership with UMG Media Corp. to launch the first-ever esports series of competitions for Major League Baseball players. Both active and retired players will compete against each other in esports play. The action begins with the MLBPA Fortnite Challenge with online matches on Monday and culminates with a live Championship in Las Vegas in December. Fans will be able to follow their favorite baseball players through the Challenge Series as the matches will be streamed through www.twitch.tv/umgevents. UMG also partnered with Caesars Entertainment and The Wall Gaming Lounge to host the Live Championship Finals where the Live Final will host 16 teams of Major League Players competing for the MLBPA Challenge Series title as well as cash prizes.
A report from ESPN states that applications from Splyce as well as for a joint venture between H2K Gaming/Paris Saint-Germain were declined for permanent slots in the European League Championship Series as Riot narrows down potential partners for its franchises. Around 24 applicants were invited to Berlin to meet with league owner and game dev Riot Games over the course of July, August and September. Splyce and H2K will now depart the league and both will be compensated with an exit payment based off the number of splits they’ve competed in the league, according to the report.
Overwatch League franchises London Spitfire and Houston Outlaws became the latest tandem to launch an off season rivalry event, announcing the Overwatch Gilded Gala. The event will feature two show matches, including one taking place in London on October 20th with the second in Houston in January. The event will see each franchise serve up three or four players to battle in game modes that include 1v1s, mystery heroes, and playing with fans.
The Los Angeles Valiant revealed the four schools that will clash as part of the festivities for the Overwatch California Cup, hosted by the Valiant and the San Francisco Shock. The event will feature collegiate esports teams representing UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, and UCI Esports with the showcase beginning Oct. 20 at Santa Ana.
DreamHack is partnering with Rotterdam Ahoy to launch DreamHack Rotterdam, running Oct. 18-20, 2019 during Rotterdam Games Week. The event will feature a DreamHack Open championship for CS:GO along with with a prize pool of $100,000, a gaming expo with a lot of interaction, cosplay competitions, panel meetings and a ‘bring your own device’ LAN party.

In addition to tracking the top games across multiple streaming platforms, Stream Hatchet provides analytics on game publishers. This week, we take a look at the top five publishers on Twitch during September:
  • Platform viewership is highly concentrated at the top: the top five publishers accounted for over 50% of the total Twitch platform share, or total hours watched in September.
  • The impact of esports: Although Valve was ranked the third top publisher, it was the only publisher to generate a Peak CCV over 1 million viewers, a majority of which were generated during the FaceIt CS:GO Major.
  • Focusing efforts on one title vs diversifying a portfolio: The Epic Games audience is almost entirely focused on Fortnite. Despite having 10 games in its portfolio, 99.9% of the publishers total hours watched were generated by
For more information, insights, and analysis, visit us at: blog.streamhatchet.com.
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Samsung continues to go all in on Ninja, released a new esports-themed spot based on the mobile version of Fortnite, featuring a young woman who dreams of becoming an esports star. She later plays with rapper Travis Scott before being recruited to the national team to play with Ninja.
NGAGE Esports, owner of Overwatch League’s Houston Outlaws, announced a deal with SquadUP to become the exclusive ticketing provider for company esports initiatives throughout Texas. The partnership will commence immediately with the two organizations working together to build the custom components for ticket sales around NGAGE’s look and branding for the launch of the 2,500 seat Esports Stadium in Arlington later this year. They will also work together on future venues that NGAGE will be managing in 2020.
Fullscreen unveiled 10 new signings from leading creators and brands to the agency, with the combined additions bringing in more than 30 million followers in combined social reach across YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Twitch. Names include FaZe Tfue, Nia Sioux, Ireland Boys, Andrea Espada, SLAM, Ivanita, Joel and Lauren, Rikki Rocket, Jonas Bridges and Hollywire to the slate. “As social entertainment is evolving for fans and creators alike, our team is dedicated to building an incredibly diverse roster of emerging and established creators, as well as brands that are at the forefront of creativity and innovation within their categories,” said Beau Bryant, general manager of Talent.

Last week provided a unique opportunity for FanAI to investigate whether or not traditional sports broadcasts would resonate with the esports audience on Twitch. This question has been previously very hard to answer since sports and esports are typically not aired on the same platform. However, on September 27, 2018 the NFL marked their first (legal) streaming of Thursday Night Football on both Twitch and Amazon Prime Video. As others have reported, the broadcast on Twitch earned nearly 130K viewing hours during the 4.5 hours of airtime. FanAI provides a deeper look at how this compares to other audiences on Twitch. As an example, the 2018 FACEIT London Major Finals aired the weekend prior to the NFL stream, providing an opportunity to compare CS:GO viewers with TNF viewers. In total, 1 in 7 people who tuned in to Thursday Night Football also tuned in to the FACEIT London Major Finals. This demonstrates a significant overlap in viewership interests between to very different genres of entertainment.  As more sports turn to streaming it will be interesting to see what brands take advantage of this audience overlap, and how these types of trends might extend to other games and other platforms.

FACEIT launched PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds online competitive league, allowing players and organizers the opportunity to create competitions, tournaments, and leagues that feature customization options. “The FACEIT integration offers our community a uniquely competitive framework to play PUBG at a level they haven’t experienced before,” said Hyowon Yoo, Head of Business Development and Operations for NA/EU at PUBG Corporation. “The closed beta proved the value of our partnership, and we can’t wait to watch the competitive scene develop further.”

Now that ESL One New York is wrapped up, Modern Times Group reportedly upped its take in Turtle Entertainment and its ESL division, increasing its investment from 74% to 82.48%, according to TEO.
Google inked a new partnership with Ubisoft to test the company’s new video game-streaming service. The deal will allow select players in the US to stream Assassin’s Creed Odyssey through Google’s Project Stream for free starting Oct. 5. Following the announcement, Ubisoft saw a 1.9% spike in share price, according to Reuters.
Sony confirmed that fan-fest PlayStation Experience will not take place this year. On the PlayStation Blogcast, Worldwide Studios Chairman Shawn Layden stated that the company didn’t have “enough” to bring in the crowds and leave them feeling satisfied with the event.
Walmart is formally launching a retail collectibles space, partnerships with Loot Crate, McFarlane Toys, Funko, and CultureFly for a brand new in-store “collectibles destination,” according to IGN. The report states that Walmart will be the exclusive “brick and mortar retail home of Loot Crate,” with 6 different crates available beginning Oct. 15,
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ON THIS DAY in 1990: Nintendo sends letters to its licensees, informing them that they are now free to manufacture their own game cartridges for the Nintendo Entertainment System, and to publish games on competitors’ consoles.
Trivia: Agent 47 is the main character in which video game franchise? (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: Two characters in the Mortal Kombat franchise, Raiden and Shang Tsung, each received design inspiration from this 1986 John Carpenter film about the adventures of Jack Burton and Wang Chi battling the ancient sorcerer David Lo Pan. What is the name of that movie? Answer: Big Trouble in Little China. Kudos: Stephen Kelly-9 Story/Dublin; Chris Davies-Virgin/London; James Fisher-Comcast Spotlight/NY; Luke Watson-Essential TV/NY; Ara Finlayson-Fuse/Burlington; Rob Felton-Threadbird/Nashville; Matt Sautter-WideOrbit/Harrisburg; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Jaymz Wooden-Bottelsen American Dart Lines/Santa Maria; Brian Foster-N3twork/LA
For more news and coverage, check out: http://cynopsisesports.com (updated daily).

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