01/23/20: Fortnite is partnering with PlayVS for high school and collegiate play



Thursday January 23, 2020

Good morning! It’s Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020 and this is your weekly Esports Briefing.
Epic Games is looking to cultivate new generations of Fortnite players, courtesy of a partnership with PlayVS designed to bring official competitive series to high schools and colleges around the country. It’s the first time Fortnite will have an official competitive series at the high school level, and the first time the game will have an officially sanctioned collegiate format with a season-capping national championship. The high school competitive circuit will consist of six conferences assigned to the six time zones of the United States — Eastern, Central, Mountain, Pacific, Alaska and Hawaii — while the collegiate circuit will feature one all-encompassing conference.

The Rocket League Championship Series returns next week with season nine, moving to ten-team leagues for North America and Europe for the first time and lengthening the season to eight weeks. Teams will play a total of nine matches over the course of the season. Fans can catch all of the RLCS action on both Twitch and YouTube all season with play running live on Saturdays and Sundays from Feb. 1 – March 22 while the Rival Series kicking off the weekends on Fridays.

With new seasons comes a bevy of talent news…
· Salome “Soe” Gschwind has been named the new desk host for the Overwatch League’s third season. She announced the news on Twitter, shifting from her previous position of desk analyst. “A new year, a new role… exciting times ahead,” Gschwind said. “Looking forward to another year in the Overwatch League – I’ll try my best to make y’all proud as I’m taking on some new responsibilities for the upcoming season. Thank you for your continued support.”
· Previous Overwatch League desk host Chris Puckett, meanwhile, is returning to the action as MC for the New York Excelsior’s inaugural homestand events. The team’s events are slated for Feb. 8-9 and May 30-31, taking place at Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City.
· Katie Bedford, who had been the face of Call of Duty Esports as host, will not be returning with the launch of Call of Duty League this weekend, announcing that that league didn’t renew her contract, although she was in talks with teams to work their homesteads later this season.
· Names who are confirmed to be taking part in Call of Duty League are set to include Clint Evans, aka Maven, who will be partnering with Joe “MerK” DeLuca as the main casters for the upcoming inaugural season of the league, which launched tomorrow in Minnesota.
· Former Overwatch League caster Auguste “Semmler” Massonnat is heading to BLAST Premier Spring Series where he will serve as desk host. He will join analysts Chad “SPUNJ” Burchill and Duncan “Thorin” Shields, along with casters that include Anders Blume and Jason O’Toole for the event.
· Former OWL commentator Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles inked a new partnership with Cloud9, and will be creating content with the team as well as partner with the esports organization to design new competitive products.

Riot Games continues to see a lane through franchising, and will open franchise slots for Brazilian competition CBLoL, echoing the LCS, LEC and LPL. The application process for interested organizations will take place this year with an eye to having the new system in place in 2021. Riot Games also revealed that its three main sponsors have all re-signed for the 2020 season: Gillette, Dell, and Red Bull.

DreamHack is turning toward a familiar face to handle its collegiate esports competitions, naming Collegiate StarLeague as the Official and Exclusive Collegiate Esports Provider for all DreamHack North America events over the next two years. Running at DreamHack events throughout North America, the new CSL-hosted tournaments will feature a slate of variety of competitive titles, from League of Legends and Magic: The Gathering, to Gears 5. The first event with CSL will take place at DreamHack Anaheim from Feb. 21-23. DreamHack will produce the events, as well as provide broadcast talent, stage setups and additional marketing support. CSL will run any and all collegiate-based gaming activations at North American DreamHack events.

Festivities during Super Bowl weekend will include Twitch hosting a Twitch Rivals Fortnite tournament that will pit teams of Fortnite streamers and NFL athletes live in Miami. The Twitch Rivals Streamer Bowl will feature 16 different duos. Teams will be competing for a charity prize of $500,000, which Twitch will donate to a charity of the winners’ choosing. The competition will be live from the NFL Players Association party in Miami and streamed on Twitch on Jan. 30 at 5p with a pre-game show, with the action starting at 6p.

The NHL hosts the Chel Gaming Challenge during NHL All-Star Weekend. The pro-am event, featuring players, athletes, content creators and esports luminaries competing in the NHL 20 video game as well as a slate of hockey-themed challenges, will take place on Jan. 25, carried live on twitch.tv/nhl, with the hashtag #NHLGWC on social media. Hosted by Paul ‘BizNasty’ Bissonnette and Blues reporter Angella Sharpe, the Chel Gaming Challenge will drop the puck on Season Three of the NHL Gaming World Championship. NHL All-Star players Jack Eichel, Seth Jones, Matthew Tkachuk and Hilary Knight will headline the event with WWE Superstar Xavier Woods, Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cole Irvin, Gaming Hall of Famer Johnathan ‘Fatal1ty’ Wendel and the NHL Gaming World Championship’s Andrew ‘Nasher’ Telfer.

Save the date and get in now as slots are already being filled! Be a part of the 2020 Esports Upfront, taking place this year on April 21, 2020 at CNVS New York. Last year saw some participants score millions in new business as a result of presenting, so don’t miss your opportunity to lay out your plans in front of an invitation-only audience of leading brands and agencies. Contact [email protected] for details.

ESL is heading back to Birmingham, UK for the third straight year, lining up an ESL One Dota 2 event that will kick off on May 26. $300,000 will be on the line for the 12 teams in attendance, with the event also acting as the grand finale of the inaugural ESL Academy

ESL, DreamHack, and the Counter-Strike Professional Players’ Association cemented a partnership to establish the participation framework for professional CS:GO players in the ESL Pro Tour. The deal marks the first-ever framework agreement of this sort in esports, “modeled on the basis of similar agreements in successful traditional sports” and covers all competitions within the ESL Pro Tour, which links every ESL and DreamHack competition globally through a series of over 20 events, culminating in Intel Extreme Masters Katowice and ESL One Cologne. CSPPA will work with ESL and DreamHack on the governance of the tournament circuit, participation in business revenues, defining player rights and obligations at live events as well as making the current ESL tournament conditions the standard across tournaments. Further, CSPPA parties will cooperate on the ESL Pro Tour events calendar and the summer and winter player breaks.

As mobile gaming is becoming increasingly popular, mobile esports events have followed suit. Although North America is lagging in adopting mobile gaming into the mainstream esports landscape, the viewership is still very prominent across NA streaming platforms. This week, Stream Hatchet examines the top ten mobile esports events of 2019.
· The top 10 mobile events of the year accumulated over 75 million hours watched with an overwhelming majority of that viewership coming from YouTube Gaming.
· PUBG Mobile was responsible for 3 of the top 5 events and 4 out of the top 10 in total. Combined, PUBG Mobile generated about 43% of the total hours watched across the top mobile events of 2019.
· While Twitch dominates non-mobile esports viewership in North America, it falls short when it comes to mobile. YouTube Gaming has been the predominant platform as Facebook also generates sizeable audiences both domestically and globally.
For more information regarding mobile esports viewership, please visit www.streamhatchet.com.

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Bud Light’s latest endeavors in esports will see the brand serve as the newest LCS partner and the official beer of the league as it prepares to open a new season. Dealpoints will see Bud Light offered at all LCS events (including at LCS Arena and Split Finals) via mobile bars and beer gardens, of course, while Bud Light will be delivering “How I LCS” themed viewing parties, presenting one of the most celebratory moments in LoL, the “Ace Moment,” on LCS broadcasts, and supplying our new post-show after Monday Night League, which will be streamed across the LCS and Bud Light’s Twitch channels. In addition, LCS and Bud Light will collaborate on a bespoke “after hours” post-show, name forthcoming, airing exclusively on Bud Light’s Twitch channel, complete with LCS talent, special guests, and easter eggs throughout the season.

Riot is also gearing up for the new LCS season with two new deals: a renewal with Mastercard and a new partnership with GreenPark Sports. On the Mastercard front, the partnerships will see the LCS launch a Mastercard-powered LCS Player of the Week (POTW) Award, to be broadcast Monday nights after the new Monday Night League games, presented as a custom commemorative statue with a 3D model of the player, and fans who predict the POTW on Mastercard’s social channel will have a chance to receive the same trophy as their winning pick. Meanwhile, the LCS is also partnering with GreenPark Sports to launch an all-new gaming platform – featuring LCS pros and teams – that “allows fans to show off their passion for their teams, compete with each other, and win prizes.”

Gen.G forged a partnership with beauty brands Benefit Cosmetics, in a move designed “to connect the communities of beauty and gaming while encouraging female gamers to find their Game Face.” The deal marks one of the first cross-industry campaigns between beauty and gaming, reaching more than 15 million women, and will include a weekly video series capturing the beauty routines and real stories of four professional female gamers and streamers on Benefit’s Instagram and YouTube channels. The five women featured for this campaign are: Eleanor Barnes, @Snitchery, (host); Kristen Valnicek, @KittyPlays; Gina Darling, @MissGinaDarling; Nicki Taylor, @nickitaylor; and Jayden Diaz, @Your Princess.

The LEC, meanwhile, named AKRacing as the league’s newest partner and official chair supplier this year, Riot Games announced. “We are beyond ecstatic to be making our entry into the world that is League of Legends via our 2020 LEC Season partnership,” AKRacing’s partnership manager Chris Katzer said. “Together with Riot Games, we’re able to share our passion for gaming and comfort as we bring our premium chairs to the players of the European Championship.”

Nerd Street Gamers announced a partnership with Rothman Orthopaedic Institute, a world-leader in orthopaedic care, to promote healthy habits for gamers of all ages and skill levels. This strategic partnership is being launched alongside the Philadelphia Fusion, who has named Rothman Orthopaedics as their Official Team Doctor. Under the terms of the partnership, Rothman Orthopaedics will sponsor Nerd Street Gamers Summer Camp series. Rothman Orthopaedics physicians will also hold seminars on gamer health at the camps and at Nerd Street Gamers’ Localhost venues in the Philadelphia area.

Nike is partnering with esports org T1 to wear Nike footwear and apparel during competitions. Nike will also assist with training programs designed to boost T1 players and the team’s athletic capabilities. Training facilities will be built at the T1 headquarters based in Seoul later this year.

The Overwatch League stitched up a first-of-its-kind collaboration with Jeff Staple, to “reimagine, design, and create an authentic player kit for esports.” The new kits were designed with Overwatch League player feedback feature elevated fabrics, premium graphic applications, new side gussets and a fit that is cut and sewn to increase quality and wearability while gaming. Each of the 20 Overwatch League teams will have their own unique home and away kits during the 2020 season, which launches on Feb. 8.

Team Vitality cemented a multi-year partnership with CORSAIR, which will now equip the team’s players with keyboards, headsets, mice, and other products.

Turner Sports’ ELEAGUE and Twitch are teaming up for a “first-of-its-kind, community-driven live show” titled ELEAGUE Super Punch powered by Twitch. The series will look to serve up the week’s biggest moments in and around gaming and esports, along with the creators and communities that drive them, and will be hosted by Twitch streamers and gaming personalities Ify Nwadiwe, Kelly Nugent, J.D. Witherspoon, and Alex Corea. Super Punch will be formatted as a fast-paced and dynamic take on the late night talk show format with real time engagement built into the live show. The series will air on both Twitch and TBS starting in February, running Monday-Friday beginning Feb. 3 at 11p in addition to streaming live on a dedicated Twitch channel. Each Friday, beginning Feb. 21, will also see a special live showcase on TBS from midnight-1a.

Riot’s LCS and LEC are picking up China’s Huya as a broadcast distribution partner and will now showcase all four of Riot’s major leagues in China. Fans can find all of the LEC and LCS action on Huya when the Spring Split kicks off for Europe on Jan 24 and North America on Jan 25. “After our most successful LEC season yet, we’re looking forward to offering fans more of the kind of innovation and entertainment that our European League is known for,” said Alban Dechelotte, Head of Business Development and Sponsorships for EU Esports, Riot Games. “Our partnership with Huya means that it’s even easier for fans worldwide to follow the LEC teams and pros that captivated them at the World Championships.”


100 Thieves has a new hideout, unveiling the team’s headquarters and training facility in the 100 Thieves Cash App Compound. The venue boasts 15,000 square feet in Los Angeles and offers up areas for team training, as well as streaming, content production, and more. “The 100 Thieves Cash App Compound is the product of our vision to build a new category of company – a lifestyle brand born from gaming,” said Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag, Founder & CEO of 100 Thieves. “Los Angeles is the epicenter of esports, entertainment, and fashion, which are the three pillars we founded the company upon, so this is the perfect home for innovating on what an esports organization and lifestyle brand can be. I can’t wait for our fans to experience the Compound.”

Global esports organization Gen.G unveiled the team name, logo and social media channels for its new NBA 2K League squad, titled the Gen.G Tigers of Shanghai. In September, the NBA 2K League and Gen.G announced that the Tigers of Shanghai will be joining the league for the 2020 season, becoming the league’s first team outside of North America. As part of its continued effort to engage with a growing worldwide fan base, the NBA 2K League launched the league’s official Weibo channel in China.

Tricia “megumixbear” Sugita was named as the new Chief Executive Officer of FlyQuest. “As CEO, I have the invaluable privilege of executing my vision,” she said in the announcement. “To kick off 2020, we are launching our first initiative – Go Green. We believe everyone has the ability to affect real change for our planet, and we want to facilitate ways for us to address important environmental issues together.” As such, the team unveiled its new facility, titled The Greenhouse, with over 7,000 square feet of dedicated space that includes practice rooms for both LCS and Academy teams, coaching/review rooms, and content studios.

The Dallas Fuel and Burleson Independent School District are partnering to host an esports event in North Texas. The Esports Winter Invitational will feature amateur competition in video games including Fortnite, Rocket League, Super Smash Bros., and Minecraft and includes admission is a single day pass to the Dallas Fuel Opening Weekend, which features two live Overwatch League matches held on Feb. 8.

Niantic unveiled its initial lineup of locations for Niantic’s global live events in 2020 in addition to revealing details on the economic impact of its 2019 events. Niantic reports that its live events have had a direct positive economic impact on the cities that host these real-world events, driving an estimated $249 million in tourism revenue across Chicago, Montreal, and Dortmund in 2019 via the Pokémon GO Fest 2019 Chicago, Pokémon GO Fest 2019 Dortmund and Pokémon GO Safari Zone Montreal. 2020 will see Niantic build upon its real-world games Pokémon GO, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite and Ingress with immersive interactive experiences unique to each game in all-new locations around the world, which will include Liverpool (April 17-19), Philadelphia (May 8-10) and St. Louis (March 27-29) in addition to the Taiwan Lantern Festival in Taichung from Feb. 6-9.

Skillshot Media, formerly owned by game publisher Hi-Rez Studios, announced the completion of a management buy-out by two former Hi-Rez executives where Skillshot will now operate as an independent, publisher-agnostic esports solution provider and agency, while Hi-Rez Studios no longer will have an ownership interest in the company. Hi-Rez Studios Co-founder Todd Harris and former Vice President Nabil Ismail will exit Hi-Rez and serve as CEO and COO of Skillshot Media, and in strategic partnership with INAP will develop an esports operations center and production studio in downtown Atlanta. This new Esports Media Center, operated by Skillshot, will be located at 250 Williams Street NW in Atlanta, co-located within INAP’s flagship Atlanta data center facility.

DreamHack is teaming up with A-Kon, North America’s longest-running anime and Japanese Pop Culture Convention, where both will be at Dallas’ Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in May 2020, joining together to offer bundle pass. The bundle pass is $140 for the weekend.

Greenlit Content locked in a partnership with Wizard World to bring a lineup of Esport Lounge events to its pop culture conventions throughout 2020, according to Twin Galaxies, starting with Wizard World Portland. Competitions will offer cash prizes across various titles with additional stops that will include Cleveland, St. Louis, Chicago and more. “The Esports Lounge at Wizard World is a great opportunity to provide attendees with a true esports experience,” says Bryan Dawson, the Head of Esports at Greenlit Content. “With both competitive and casual gaming environments, including hourly tournaments with prizes, there’s plenty of fun to be had for everyone.”


Beasley Media Group named Lori Burgess as Chief Operating Officer at Beasley Esports. Burgess most recently served as Chief Digital Content Officer at Beasley Media Group. Previously, she worked as an integrated marketing strategy consultant on behalf of the company. In her new role, she will be responsible for overseeing the day to day operations of the company’s esports business.

Beasley Media Group also hired Herb May to serve as the Director of Corporate Partnerships for the Houston Outlaws. He joins the franchise after a run as Head of Growth at Roundhill Investments.

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in 1999: Super Smash Bros. is originally released.

Slippy Toad, Peppy Hare, Fox McCloud and Falco Lombardi are originally characters in which game franchise? (Note: Answer is not Smash Bros.)
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Jesse, In the movie The Last Starfighter, what was the prize for beating the game? Answer: Rode in Centauri’s car/became a real Starfighter. Kudos: Matt Sautter-WideOrbit/Harrisburg; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank

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