01/14/21: AT&T locked in a new sponsorship deal with 100 Thieves


Medias First Morning Read


Thursday January 14, 2021

Good morning! This is your weekly Esports Brief.
AT&T is dialing up a big deal with 100 Thieves, serving as an organization-wide sponsor for 100 Thieves as well as the presenting sponsor for 100 Thieves’ VALORANT esports team, which won the VALORANT First Strike North American Finals. The deal sees 100 Thieves work with AT&T to deliver original gaming content and live events highlighting 5G and AT&T Fiber. In addition, AT&T will create the AT&T VALORANT Training Room at the 100 Thieves Cash App Compound, equipped with AT&T products and services and will also be featured on all team jerseys.

“AT&T has been elevating the culture of gaming and esports with some really unique and inclusive programs, which is a perfect match for 100 Thieves. We can’t wait to do amazing things together,” said Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag, 100 Thieves Founder & CEO. “We know our VALORANT team is the best team in North America, thanks to our First Strike championships win. Being able to work with AT&T and utilize their products and services will only elevate the team’s play going forward.”

“100 Thieves continues to push the envelope in the gaming industry with an unmatched blend of esports and gaming tastemakers,” said Shiz Suzuki, assistant vice president, AT&T – Sponsorships and Experiential Marketing. “Their approach to content and elevating and supporting women in gaming is something we share as a brand. We can’t wait to power their efforts as a network while also creating cultural moments together, putting the fans at the center of everything we do.”

The Call of Duty League locked in plans to open the new season beginning with the Kickoff Special, slated for Jan. 23-24 with all 12 teams in action. The top three regular-season teams from last season in Dallas Empire, Atlanta FaZe, OpTic Chicago will host online polls to determine which team they will face-off against at the event. Then, Atlanta FaZe will host the very first event of the regular season in their online Home Series from February 11-14 with the top two teams from last year in Dallas and Atlanta reportedly selecting the other’s brackets and opponents.

As a new season of League of Legends esports prepares to get underway this week, Riot Games confirmed that the League of Legends World Championship will return to China in 2021, with Shenzhen hosting the Grand Final, following a prospective multi-city tour across the country for the tournament. Last year saw the publisher also host the event in China, taking place in Shanghai, but attendance was limited due to restrictions from the pandemic.

The Arena World Championship returns tomorrow, with the first of four Cups begins with teams from North America and Europe battling to earn points towards advancing to the Season 1 Circuit. Over 200 teams have signed up to compete in open tournaments each week, with the top twelve teams from each region making it into the Cup for a shot at the prizing and points. Competition runs Jan. 15-March 7, with broadcasts at 10a led by casters Gillian “Eiya” Long, Mohamed “Ziqo” Beshir, Sid “Supatease” Compston and Elliot “Venruki” Venczel.

Formula E is launching a six-round esports competition titled Formula E Accelerate, that will be made up of a grid of the 12 teams from the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. Potential racers will have the chance to showcase their speed in the Formula E Accelerate Qualifiers before teams get an opportunity to select from at least three of the fastest qualifiers.

Who is ready to be taken to school? The Esports Business Summit is revving up for EBSU, taking our unique touch and insights to the university esports ecosystem, with a fully dedicated conference that will feature some of the biggest names in university sports and esports rallying to build the community. See ya in March!

HyperX and Allied Esports announced the renewal of their exclusive naming rights agreement for Allied Esports’ global flagship property, HyperX Esports Arena Las Vegas, located at Luxor Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. In the multiyear deal, HyperX will continue to receive prominent branding and signage inside and outside of the venue, as well as across all arena promotions, content and social media platforms. HyperX and Allied Esports will continue to partner on a variety of co-branded experiences and events at the arena focused on growing their gaming and esports communities. “HyperX has been an incredible naming rights partner for our flagship property, bringing authenticity and credibility to the most recognized esports venue and production facility in the world,” said Jud Hannigan, CEO of Allied Esports. “We are thrilled to extend this landmark alliance as we work together to continue delivering exciting experiences and content for customers and partners alike.”

TSM locked in a partnership with Cadillac, marking the first time the automotive brand has partnered with an esports organization. Cadillac serves as the exclusive automotive partner of TSM with the campaign kicking off with the unveiling of the all-new TSM jersey featuring the Cadillac logo. “Cadillac is excited to enter the esports space as part of the TSM family,” says Bryan Steele, Manager of Emerging Media and Partnerships for GM. “Whether on the road, or on the Rift, our organizations place an incredibly high value on innovation and craftsmanship. Given our shared values, and the pedigree of Cadillac and TSM, it was a natural fit to team up with one of the most decorated esports teams in the world.”

LG Electronics cemented a deal with Gen.G Esports with the pair set to collaborate to further develop the esports scene internationally with the help of LG’s UltraGear gaming monitors. “With a young and dynamic brand such as LG UltraGear as our partner, we look forward to providing the ultimate gaming experience to not just professional players but to gaming fans across the globe,” said Chris Park, CEO of Gen.G Esports. “Based on our common objectives and values, I’m excited about the diverse possibilities this collaboration will deliver to our fans and customers.”

In addition, Gen.G and McDonald’s Southern California franchisees are partnering for a slate of regional esports initiatives that will include a multi-week play-in tournament for employees only as well as a three-day NBA 2K21 All-Star tournament to determine the best young players in Southern California. “We know many Southern California McDonald’s crew members are avid gamers at home, so we wanted to offer new ways for them to connect, have fun and show off their talents in what they’re passionate about,” said Chris Rowe, McDonald’s Southern California franchisee and owner of eight McDonald’s restaurants in San Diego County. “We’re doubling down on our commitment to enhancing the employee experience for our restaurant crew and couldn’t be more excited to partner with Gen.G on our first own esports initiative.”

Speaking of SoCal, Immortals Gaming Club announced that the Southern California Toyota Dealers Association signed on for a second year of partnership as the Official and Exclusive Automotive Partner of Immortals, IGC’s League of Legends and Valorant brand. As part of this renewed agreement, the Toyota Dealers Associations will receive prominent logo placement on all Immortals LCS players’ jerseys, collaborate on new and exciting content videos for Immortals fans. In 2021, the Immortals Valorant team and in-house content creator Sheila “Pterodaclysftw” Weidman will also be part of the deal, promising to bring into the partnership new esports audiences.

This week, Stream Hatchet released the top games of 2020 across Twitch, YouTube Gaming, and Facebook Gaming. League Of Legends is one of the most popular games globally and was able to safely secure the top spot, beating Fortnite by about 300M hours watched. Games with prosperous esports leagues and an abundance of streamers playing the game tend to rise to the top of the list. For example, League Of Legends has one of the best esports ecosystems and Fortnite and PUBG Mobile boast some of the highest unique streamer counts and overall airtime. While game launches are often highly anticipated, only one game from 2020 made the top ten (VALORANT) while the others created value through new updates, cosmetics, and in-game items.
· Released by Riot Games in 2009, League of Legends is the most popular game over a decade later with almost 2B hours watched in 2020.
· Riot Games is the only publisher to produce 2 of the top 10 games with the inclusion of VALORANT, released in April 2020, further proving the power streaming platforms have in audience acquisition.
· Mobile gaming continues to grow on western streaming sites as both PUBG Mobile and Garena Free Fire landed in the top 5 most watched games. However, their presence is mainly found on YouTube Gaming and Facebook Gaming.

Stream Hatchet’s full 2020 Yearly Report containing more insights about the live streaming and gaming industry is available for download through the link below: https://insights.streamhatchet.com/stream-hatchet-2020-yearly-report-1

Your Competitors are Applying…Are You?
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The 9th Annual Cynopsis Sports Media Awards applications are rolling in.

Do you have what it takes to be a part of the industry’s most trusted resource for the most innovative and successful players and their work? Start your application now to find out. Boost your exposure, gain industry-wide recognition, and earn bragging rights.



Spanish streamer TheGrefg smashed multiple Twitch records this week, including most concurrent viewers on a single channel. His livestream, in which fans watched the reveal of his Fortnite skin, delivered nearly 2.5 million live viewers. The record was previously held by ELEAGUE Boston Major 2018 Finals, with 1,088,063 concurrent viewers.

VENN inked a strategic partnership with BLAST to mark VENN’s first major expansion into the esports market where the two companies will look to “expand their global footprint and premier position within the professional esports industry through new content offerings and enhanced audience engagement.” The initial team-up will be on the upcoming BLAST Premier Global Final next week. VENN will produce multiple segments from the VENN Playa Vista, Los Angeles studio. The Global Final is the culmination of a 12-month Counter-Strike tournament series during which the eight best teams and challengers battle it out for a $1M prize pool.

Riot Games announced the return of Fantasy LCS this season with new partner Sleeper. LCS fans can now draft a team of their favorite pros, play season-long, head-to-head match-ups, and compete with friends and family within the Sleeper app, which will include drops like keys, chests, and legendary skins, awarded for playing the game.

Twitter revealed its final 2020 top lists, noting that there were more than 2 billion Tweets about gaming throughout the year, up 75% from 2019, with a 49% increase in unique authors. In the esports side of the industry, the most talked about esports events were led by League of Legends Worlds 2020, with the top five rounded out by EVO Japan 2020, CBLoL Split 2 Finals 2020, Call of Duty League 2020 Championship, and Overwatch League Grand Finals 2020. The most tweeted about esports teams were led by FaZe Clan, followed by G2 Esports, mibr, Fnatic, and paiN Gaming.

WNBA Champion Aerial Powers’ newest team is esports organization Team Liquid, where she will serve as a streamer and brand and diversity ambassador. She is one of the most popular gamers in professional sports, and joins Liquid’s steaming network, providing content from her various Powerzsurge channels. She will also chair the organization’s recently formed Team Liquid Diversity & Inclusion Task Force, providing strategic counsel on ways to drive meaningful change at both the organizational and industry-wide levels. “Early last year, I had the privilege of playing in Team Liquid’s Valorant Pro-Am, which was an exciting introduction to the organization,” Powers said. “Our relationship has continued to grow since then, a result of shared values and ambitions. I’m beyond eager to take this next step and collaborate with the organization to impact the culture.”

Evil Geniuses announced the start of its partnership with Cxmmunity in a move designed to forge a relationship with the student populations at Morehouse College, North Carolina Central University, Oakwood University, Johnson C. Smith University, and 16 other prestigious Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the United States. In accordance with this newly established relationship, Evil Geniuses is committing 25% of their ‘Genius League’ professional internship program candidacies towards applicants from HBCUs that are reached through this relationship. “In my experience with HBCUs, often the most prominent hurdle is access to viable employment opportunities within emerging industries,” said Chris Peay, co-founder of Cxmmunity. “Evil Geniuses is the perfect organization to surmount the opportunity gap for these talented candidates and help them translate their passion for the industry into a lasting career.”

Dignitas locked in a new partnership with financial technology company Zytara, a digital banking platform and payment network designed for gaming and esports enthusiasts. Zytara will work with bank partners to offer various banking products and services, targeted at gaming and esports enthusiasts including a checking and savings account, a virtual and physical debit card, and access to investment tools. The Dignitas-branded debit cards and mobile app skin will feature the new logo and style of Dignitas’ recently announced rebrand.


The Pokémon Company International is officially celebrating the game’s 25th anniversary and unveiled plans to celebrate through a lineup of music partnerships that is headlined by Katy Perry. To help fans kick off this celebration, a live-action video, uniquely highlighting moments in the brand’s 25-year history and a journey through the Pokémon world’s many regions. “Pokémon has been a constant in my life from playing the original video games on my Game Boy, to trading Pokémon TCG cards at lunch, to the adventures of catching Pokémon on the street with Pokémon GO. I’ve even visited the Pokémon Café in Japan while on tour! It is an honor to be chosen to help celebrate a franchise that has given me so much joy in the last 25 years, and to be able to watch it evolve in the ways it’s provided that kind of electric joy for the kids in my life and around the world,” said Perry.

Dolphin Entertainment announced the acquisition of B/HI (formerly Bender/Helper Impact), the entertainment agency that specializes in corporate and product communications programs for interactive gaming, esports, entertainment content and consumer products organizations. As part of the acquisition, B/HI will operate as a division of entertainment PR powerhouse 42West with Dean Bender and Shawna Lynch serving as Co-Presidents.


NBA 2K League’s Brendan Donohue was promoted to president of the organization. He previously served as Managing Director of the league, assuming the role in April 2017. Season four will tip off later this year.

Save the Date!
Our Best of the Best Awards are coming up…

Join us on Thursday, February 25 for our virtual celebration of the industry’s Best of the Best.

Finalists will be announced later next week!

1987: Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is released.

In the Batman universe, Dr. Pamela Isley is better known by what name? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
Which game was pictured last week? Answer: StarCraft II.

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