10/12/17: H1Z1 is launching a professional esports league

CynopsiseSPORTS & GAMING
It’s Thursday October 12, 2017 and this is your weekly early morning eSports & Gaming briefing.

 

Daybreak Games is teaming up with Twin Galaxies to launch the H1Z1 Pro League with a mission to “operate with integrity and dedication to players and teams to establish a sustainable ecosystem” by focusing on a “player-first” approach to create a sustainable, first of its kind, professional esports league for the battle royale genre. Participants will receive a Player Bill of Rights that includes minimum compensation (reportedly at least $50,000), revenue sharing, player agreement standards and a governance committee. Teams competing in the Pro League will be announced in early 2018 with the first season starting in the second quarter. Teams interested in learning more can attend a private H1Z1 Pro League briefing taking place at TwitchCon 2017 on Oct. 20.
 
 
COMPETITION


Meanwhile, The Rocket League Championship Series laid out plans for its season four world finals, with the event taking place from Nov. 10-12 in DC with 10 teams competing for the $150,000 prize pool at the MGM National Harbor. Three regions will compete in the tournament, with teams representing Europe, Oceania and North America. In addition, RLCS Regional Championships will take place this weekend with the NA Regionals on Saturday and the EU Regionals on Sunday. You can watch all the action on  the Twitch channel.
 
Konami Digital Entertainment locked in the schedule for the official UEFA Champions League esports competition: the PES League World Tour 2018. Online qualifiers for season 1 kick off on today with players qualifying for the “Asia Round”, which is the first of three rounds of competitions that will lead up to the final round in a move to determine the top Pro Evolution Soccer player in the world. Several offline events will be held, starting with the Asia Round and followed by the Americas Round, and then Europe Round which will be held in Spring 2018.
 
ELEAGUE is poised to hold its second Major Championship in two years featuring Valve’s CS:GO. The ELEAGUE Major: Boston will showcase live competition originating from Boston University’s Agganis Arena – including the Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Championship from Jan. 26-28. Early round competition will come from ELEAGUE’s home in Atlanta at ELEAGUE Arena at Turner Studios in Atlanta. “We’re looking forward to hosting our second ELEAGUE Major in back-to-back years and bringing a CS:GO championship to Boston for the first time,” said Craig Barry, Chief Content Officer, Turner Sports. “Following the record-setting engagement during last year’s ELEAGUE Major, we appreciate Valve’s ongoing trust in us and all of the continued support from the esports community.”
 
Riot Games will reportedly up the stipend for teams participating in the planned European League Championship Series, according to ESPN. The League of Legends publisher will now shift the EU LCS to a single-game, double round robin format that echoes the one recently announced for the North American 2018 season. Riot is also backtracking on plans for a 24 team league broken into regions, according to the report.
 
Developer Critical Force has withdrawn from Amazon’s Mobile Masters esports event taking place this weekend following the mass shooting in Las Vegas. The lineup of mobile esports tournaments will now host titles that include World of Tanks Blitz, Power Rangers: Legacy Wars and Vainglory with winning teams competing for a share of the $80,000 prize pool. Critical Force had been set to bring Critical Ops which sees players take on the roles of counter-terrorists or terrorists in game modes.
 
The British Esports Association joined the UK Interactive Entertainment trade association as a member, joining publishers, developers and esports companies in the body. British Esports has been working with Ukie throughout this year and looking at ways in which the two organizations can collaborate. Ukie said in a statement: “Ukie is delighted to welcome the British esports Association as our latest member, joining other major stakeholders active in esports in the UK today including: esports event organisers ESL, Multiplay and Gfinity; developers and publishers such as Riot Games, Hi Rez, Activision Blizzard and EA; and teams and university leagues, Team Dignitas and the National University Esports League.”
 
DreamHack unveiled its plans as the second stop of the H1Z1 Elite Series taking place at DreamHack Winter in Jonkoping, Sweden. The event will run Dec. 1-4 and also feature titles such as CS:GO, Dota 2, Hearthstone, Smash Bros Melee, and other games. The H1Z1 solo-event will include 60 players battling for a prize pool of $100,000, while teams will vie for a pool of $150,000, with prizing being awarded based on performance over three rounds.
 
ELEAGUE is adding retired CS:GO star Janko “YNk” Paunovic to its commentating lineup for the ELEAGUE CS:GO Premier 2017 Playoffs. YNk will join Jason “Moses” O’Toole as the second former CS:GO pro contributing to ELEAGUE’s live coverage and be part of its panel of Counter-Strike experts including host Richard Lewis and commentators Anders Blume, Daniel “DDK” Kapadia, James Bardolph, Auguste “Semmler” Massonat and reporter Sue “Smix” Lee.
 
Talking Stick Resort is taking on esports, announcing the launch of eSports Arizona: Desert Showdown on Oct. 21. The all-day fighting game competition will feature Super Smash Bros. 4 and Super Smash Bros. Melee. The property partnered with Ultimate Media Ventures to launch the event. “At Talking Stick Resort, we pride ourselves on bringing consistent innovation to our entertainment offerings,” said Ramon Martinez, director of public relations for Talking Stick Resort. “eSports is the future of sports and entertainment and we are Arizona’s home for it.”

 

INSIGHTS

.05% of  Twitch Streamers Earn More Than 50% of all Subscription Revenue
In August, there were 1.6 million claimed subscriptions distributed among the more than 1.8 million Twitch streamers. The top .05% (representing 1,000 streamers) received 52% of the total amount of Twitch subscriptions, totaling approximately $2.2 million in combined subscription revenue.  
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The Cynopsis TV Awards: Looking for the best in TV Programming
Entries Due: Friday, Nov. 10
Winning a Cynopsis TV Award is a symbol of acknowledgement and appreciation from your peers – that your work has risen to the top in entertaining and enriching a broad audience. Honorees will be celebrated at our annual awards reception taking place February 7th at the Edison Ballroom in NYC.

 

PLATFORMS

Hulu is taking the plunge into esports, announcing a deal for new original programming developed and produced by ESL. Overall, four unique series will be created exclusively for the streaming video-on-demand service—Player v. Player, Bootcamp, Defining Moments, and ESL Replay. “Esports is one of the fastest growing areas of media and entertainment, and, through this first-of-its-kind deal with ESL, we can now bring the popular world of esports to Hulu,” said Lisa Holme, Vice President of Content Acquisition, Hulu. “We know our viewers, especially those watching Hulu on consoles, are hungry for this type of content – so we’re excited to offer it on Hulu for the first time.” For more info, see out Q&A with ESL about the deal below.
 
MySports, a new sports channel operated by UPC in Switzerland, is set to bring the country’s first eSports format to Swiss TV audiences. Starting Oct. 23, episodes of the Arena esports show will be carries exclusively on the channel, serving up news on developments in the industry and reports on esports events.
 
 
TEAMS


Overwatch League unveiled its second team name and first in the US with the introduction of the Dallas Fuel. The Texas-based squad, from Team Envy, will continue the Boys in Blue tradition with colors that include blue, gray, and black with a logo that features an iconic blue flame set against a bold typeface announcing the team name. “We’re thrilled to bring a championship-caliber franchise to the area with the Dallas Fuel,” said Mike Rufail, the Texas-born owner and CEO of Team Envy. “In choosing a name, we wanted to speak to our Texas roots, connect with the legacy of our partners Ken Hersh and the Hersh Interactive Group, and provide a rallying cry for local fans as esports continues to grow. Fuel accomplishes that, and the Dallas Fuel is a team we’re proud to permanently plant in Texas.”
 
After trying and failing to secure a franchise in the upcoming Overwatch League, Rogue announced that it would be disbanding its Overwatch roster so that they could pursue opportunities with official teams. On September 20th the first twelve teams were confirmed for the league with Rogue not among the new team owners. Subsequently, the squad released a statement on Sunday, noting that “We did everything we could to get the team a spot in OWL, including procuring the buy-in money and going through the whole approval process. Unfortunately, we were not accepted for Season 1 and had no option but to break up the most accomplished Overwatch team in the game’s history so that the players could accept offers. We will continue to pursue putting together more great teams in the future and hope next time to be able to keep what we’ve worked so hard to build.”
 
Meanwhile, esports franchises continue to bulk up on PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds bodies. The latest transaction sees FlyQuest Sports, an esports organization owned by Fortress Investment Group co-founder and Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Wes Edens, expanding into the title, picking up a new roster that will consist of Jonathan “Hetror” Bent, Dylan “Comet” Boden, Joseph “SomeThang” White, and Chris “Blue” Cofield. All formerly played under the name Off Constantly in both the Auzom and PUBG Online leagues. “We couldn’t be more excited to officially expand our reach to the most played game on Steam,” said FlyQuest General Manager Ryan Edens. “The sheer growth of the scene and the announcement of a large scale tournament at IEM Oakland is a sign of things to come. We feel the boys of Off Constantly give us the best chance to succeed while also giving back to the community as a whole.”
 
At least four teams from the Australian Football League are mulling a jump into esports, according to a FOX Sports report with Greater Western Sydney, West Coast, Essendon and Carlton all looking into opportunities, as is Port Adelaide. According to the article, research conducted by the AFL suggests that 21% of its fan base either has an interest in or watches esports regularly. Meanwhile, the AFL is looking to partner with a major video game publisher and providing expertise in areas like governance, fixturing and management.
 
Fnatic announced a strategic partnership with GamingZone Entertainment, the producers of reality TV show GAMERZ, that will see team members that win the GAMERZ show being placed on Fnatic’s CS:GO Academy team. Fnatic will work closely with GAMERZ, with key team personnel appearing on the show to coach the contenders.
 
 
TEAM SPOTLIGHT – TEAM SOLOMID


Courtesy: Esports One & Esportspedia: Revolutionizing Esports Data
 
 
MARKETING


ELEAGUE locked in Kellogg’s Cheez-It brand as its newest sponsor. The deal will see the snack integrated into ELEAGUE digital, social and TV platforms as well as have a venue presence in arenas during live events. Finally, Cheez-It will also be the sponsor of the ELeague Players’ lounge. “Cheez-It has been a supporter of the gaming community for years now and we know consumers love to munch on Cheez-It while they’re playing their favorite games,” said Jeff Delonis, marketing director, Kellogg. “The partnership with Turner ELeague extends our presence in the world of gaming. Cheez-It Grooves deliver a bold flavor and big crunch that makes for the perfect snack while watching the excitement of esports.”
 
Nintendo is taking Mario on tour to drum up promotion for the upcoming Super Mario Odyssey launch for the Nintendo switch on Oct. 27. After launching this week from Universal CityWalk in LA, the tour will span Dallas, Chicago and Philadelphia before wrapping up on NY on Oct. 26. , Fans will have the chance to meet the Mario costumed character, take photos with him and his decked-out trailer, and get hands-on time with Super Mario Odyssey. Super Mario Odyssey is all about travel, exploration and that feeling you get when you discover something new and exciting,” said Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America’s President and COO. “Mario’s interactive journey in the real world is a great way for fans to get excited for the game’s launch by getting hands-on time, as well as following Mario as he explores and discovers locations all across the country.”
 
Blizzard announced that Muse would be hitting BlizzCon this year to close out the event on Nov. 4. “We’re thrilled to close out our 11th BlizzCon with a performance from one of rock’s greatest live acts,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “Muse has wowed millions of people around the world with their groundbreaking music, and we’re excited that they’re coming to give BlizzCon attendees an epic sendoff.”
 
 
INDUSTRY

Bluehole hit PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has now topped 15 million copies sold despite remaining in early access, per SteamSpy via DualShockers. Earlier this week, GamesIndustry also reported that the title’s concurrent users on Steam had reached nearly 2 million the peak, easily topping Valve’s own Dota 2.
 
Meanwhile, fellow genre title Fortnite Battle Royale has now topped ten million players, according to Epic Games. Fortnite earlier this week peaked at 525,000 concurrent players with a total of 3.7 million active users in one day across all platforms.
 
Nielsen released a new report detailing the most anticipated video games for the upcoming holiday season. According to overall anticipation levels measured by Nielsen Game Rank, the most sought after games slated to hit the market between October and December 2017 cover fan-favorite franchises across a variety of genres. Have a gander below.

 

Ubisoft
is reportedly repurchasing 4 million shares of the company as it seeks to stem off a takeover by Vivaldi. The buyback has already begun and should conclude by Dec. 29th with shares purchased in this manner set to be retired. Vivendi currently hold around 27% of Ubisoft shares, offering roughly 24% voting rights.
 
Egmont Publishing is teaming up with Roblox Corporation, for a partnership that will bring Roblox games, characters, worlds, avatars, developers and the Roblox community as a whole to life in a variety of books for Roblox fans. The first books will be released in the second half of 2018. Emma Cairns-Smith, Head of Global Acquisitions at Egmont Publishing said, “Roblox resonates with its millions of fans in a deep and powerful way and we believe that our outstanding publishing program will build that relationship even further. As the number one publisher of gaming titles for children and young adults, Egmont is thrilled to welcome the largest social gaming platform in the world to its list of partners.”
 
 
POWER PLAYERS – ESL’s Nik Adams


ESL’s recent content deal with Hulu isn’t the only platform turning to the world’s largest esports league for programming. Locking in a bevy of outlets, which also include the likes of Disney Channel, Facebook and Twitter, ESL’s newest quartet of shows are all developed and produced by ESL, and will premiere exclusively on Hulu later this fall. Player V. Player will serve as a gamified debate show with casters and esports influencers facing off over the hottest topics in esports. Bootcamp is a weekly docu-series that follows The Immortals, a top CS:GO team, as they rebuild their roster leading up to IEM Oakland. Defining Moments will “dive deep into the most impactful moments in esports history with passionate casters and analysts explaining what made these moments so monumental. Finally, ESL Replay is a fast-paced, condensed, documentary-style recap of the most memorable moments from four of the biggest multi-day esports tournaments in the world, including in-depth analyses and behind-the-scenes footage not part of the tournament live stream.
 
Cynopsis asked Nik Adams, Senior Vice President of Global Media Rights and Distribution, ESL, about the league’s expanding programming ventures.
 
Adams on Hulu: Hulu is the perfect partner for ESL. Hulu has recently been recognized for their own original programming and is looking to expand into series that extend into new genres of content. Additionally, both Hulu and ESL’s audiences are digitally savvy and range younger than the age demographics of linear television, making Hulu the perfect platform to build out ESL’s varied original content offering.

On expanding content: This latest deal with Hulu, following ESL’s deals with Twitter, Facebook, and Disney from earlier this year, is the next step in continuing to broaden the base of esports fans with original content that appeals to a more mass audience. ESL started producing successful content a year ago, with which we have found great success. ESL’s four original series for Hulu provide new ways of esports storytelling, opening up the industry to new fans.
 
On ESL’s approach: ESL receives many requests for new esports content. We also have a creative team split between our offices in Los Angeles, Germany and Stockholm who is constantly creating new concepts for esports shows and features. The content landscape is highly interested in esports industry programming.  

On ESL Replay and ESL properties: ESL Replay will focus on ESL content, but will feature non-ESL content as well. This new show is centered around our sport—esports—and not our brand.
 
 
ROSTER MOVES

CORSAIR named Jason Glen Cahilly, former Chief Strategic & Financial Officer of the National Basketball Association, to the company’s Board of Directors. In the role, he will also consult with Andy Paul, CEO of the Company, and other senior executives on esports and other strategic initiatives.

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ON THIS DAY in 2004: Majesco releases BloodRayne 2 video game for the Xbox and PlayStation 2.
 
Trivia: Let’s get worked up for Halloween (and Friday the 13th tomorrow). At what location do the majority of Friday the 13th films (along with the video games) take place? (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 Sonic the Hedgehog’s favorite food? Answer: Chili Dogs. Kudos: Julie Schell-Rizal/Sydney; Chris Davies-Virgin/London; Lindsey Bradley-THREE/NY; Joe Olson-Lowe’s/Arlington; Jason Morrow-Toyota/Houston; Daniel Hanson/Vail; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Greg Dudsic/Venice; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA
 
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