02/27/20: Valve is giving the Dota Pro Circuit an overhaul, launching regional leagues

 

 

 
 

Thursday February 27, 2020

Good morning! This is your weekly Esports Brief.
Valve is looking for some local flavor for the Dota Pro Circuit, announcing the introduction of a new Regional League format designed to keep play schedules more consistent as well as cultivate up and coming grassroots talent. The changes will see the removal of Minor tournaments in favor of Regional Leagues that will compete in three individual “seasons” across a normal DPC year with leagues representing China, Europe, North America, Southeast Asia, South America, and CIS and each regional league offering a prize pool of $280,000 per season.

Each season will lead to a Major, where the best teams from each of the usual six regions will compete for spots at The International along with a prize pool of $500,000. There will be both Upper and Lower Divisions in each region, with eight teams residing in both brackets for a total of 96 teams competing. The bottom two teams in the lower division will be relegated and replaced with two teams from open qualifiers. The bottom two teams in the Upper Division, meanwhile, will be relegated to the Lower Division and replaced by the group’s top two teams.

COMPETITION
With ESL Katowice kicking in this week, ESL announced that it will be conducting health screening to attendees in Poland as a result of the coronavirus, noting that the company was monitoring the situation as it “evaluates the health and safety status of fans, players, and staff on a daily basis.” In addition, the company was working “closely with the local government and health authorities to add additional precautions for everyone attending.”

The coronavirus also continues to wreak havoc on schedules. Riot Games delayed announcing plans for the 2020 League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational due to the outbreak, announcing on Twitter that Riot has had to “adjust plans and delay announcing the timing and location of MSI 2020,” per John Needham, Global Head of Esports.

Meanwhile, the Overwatch League canceled its upcoming Seoul homestand as a result of the coronavirus outbreak in China. Matches were set to run in South Korea between Feb. 29 and March 22, including makeup matches that were moved to the country after homestands were previously cancelled in China due to the virus.

ONE Esports announced the inaugural ONE Esports Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Invitational, slated to run May 2-July 5 with a total prize pool of $150,000. The event will serve as the first of two Mobile Legends: Bang Bang competition series promoted jointly with MLBB developer Moonton. The championship will take place on July 1-5

Rocket League mapped out plans for the Intel World Open, the first-of-its-kind, international Rocket League tournament that will feature the best players in the world ahead of the Summer Olympics, playing as part of nation and territory-based teams. The Final is set to take place in Tokyo as a two-day event showcasing the best eight teams in the world. The event will also feature Capcom’s Street Fighter V: Champion Edition, with $250,000 prize pools for each of the titles. “We introduced Intel Extreme Masters PyeongChang in 2018 and we’re excited to continue raising the stakes for esports with the Intel World Open in 2020. There are more than 490 million esports fans worldwide and the Intel World Open exemplifies Intel’s global leadership in esports and delivers a pinnacle tournament on the world’s biggest sports stage,” said Mark Subotnick, Intel director of gaming and esports business development.

The 2020 TEKKEN World Tour will span the globe, with Bandai Namco announcing that the 2020 season will kick off in April with Tokyo TEKKEN masters and then feature a season that will touch down in such locales as Pakistan, Peru and Africa’s Ivory Coast, as well as California for NorCal Regionals and Lyon, France for The Mixup, moving on to Sweden’s ever-hype Headstomper in addition to Combo Breaker, Chicagoland’s TWT Master Event and EVO. The season will come to an end on December 12-13 in New Orleans, for the Championship.

Blizzard detailed broadcast plans for Overwatch Contenders refining “coverage in order to emphasize top teams and star players in each region.” Plans will include live coverage of all semifinals and finals of Contenders weekly play in each region with some regions featuring additional broadcasts from both weekly play and Contenders Trials weekly play. Meanwhile, breakout stars and highlights from the earlier rounds of the tournaments will be featured in new shoulder content. The first broadcast will be Contenders Australia Trials on Feb. 27 at 2a.

Brawl Stars developer Supercell announced a partnership with ESL for the 2020 Brawl Stars Championship. Starting on March 7, ESL will start running regional qualifiers and broadcast monthly, in-person finals from its main studio in Katowice, leading into the 2020 Brawl Stars Championship in the fall. Supercell will offer an initial prize pool of $1 million for this year’s championship with an additional community pool of up to $500,000 available if players purchase select in-game items to add to the total.

The National Association of Collegiate Esports went big in its strategic partnership with Skillshot Media to offer collegiate competition, event production, and rights commercialization. NACE and Skillshot announced that the Spring 2020 collegiate competition includes both Fortnite and CS:GO with an invitational finals to take place at MomoCon in Atlanta, on May 23.

GameWorks is aligning with COMBO BREAKER, the competitive fighting game convention to host the Road to COMBO BREAKER tournament. The R2CB will run March-May with players from all seven GameWorks venues around the country as players compete in TEKKEN 7 on Sony PlayStation 4.

NBC Sports and the Premier League are heading to Philadelphia for the next Premier League Mornings Live fan festival, April 4-5. NBC Sports and the Premier League have also teamed up to bring the ePremier League USA Finals, a free-to-play esports tournament operated by Gfinity and FACEIT, to the Philadelphia Fan Fest.

TRENDS
Call of Duty esports have undergone quite the overhaul in the past year with the CoD League taking on a geolocated franchise model, much like the Overwatch League. In addition, the league, previously known as the Call of Duty World League, had its broadcasts move from Twitch to YouTube, making it so that the fresh new league had a new home as well.

With three weeks of competition in the books, it appears as though the CDL isn’t drawing quite as many viewers as the CWL did in 2019, when events had more alternative viewing experiences. On Twitch, broadcasts from the “Call of Duty Bravo” and “Call of Duty Charlie” channels added supplemental coverage of events, as well as alternate language broadcasts from Dexerto.

The league’s first three events in Minnesota, London, and Atlanta combined to have stronger average viewership and hours watched than the first major events last season in Las Vegas, Fort Worth, and London on the main broadcast. However, when alternate broadcasts were included, viewership was down.

· Each weekend of CDL action this season has eclipsed the 1M hours watched mark on YouTube, despite having few viewing options compared to last year.
· While CWL Las Vegas in December of 2018 had by far the best viewership of any of the events this year, the 2020 season has had more consistent viewership with averages.
· The second week of this season in London had a slightly lower average viewership than week one in Minnesota. However, Atlanta Faze’s success in their home city attracted higher viewership averages than the opening weekend, showing improvement for the league as the season progresses.

For more information on live streaming analytics, visit us online at: www.StreamHatchet.com

CATEGORY FOCUS: DISTINGUISHED COMPANIES
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In addition to categories that celebrate individual Top Women in Media, Cynopsis is recognizing distinguished companies who champion women in media. These are the companies who strive for equal opportunity, inclusion, pay parity and women in leadership position.

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(sponsored by Turnkey Search)

ACTIVATION
Zippo signed on as a major partner for NRG’s Chicago Huntsmen Call of Duty League team. To celebrate the team’s inaugural year, Zippo will release a new collection of Zippo x NRG Chicago Huntsmen HeatBank 9s Rechargeable Hand Warmers, with the merch drop landing later this season. Because the HeatBank 9s also doubles as a portable charger, powering mobile devices such as headsets, gaming controllers, phones, and portable game devices, gamers can power products while priming their hands.

Navy Recruiting Command unveiled a multi-pronged gameplan to launch an integrated esports campaign that will involve partnerships with Twitch, the Evil Geniuses, ESL, and DBLTAP, designed to “provide the Navy with authentic opportunities to more deeply engage with the gaming community” showcasing how Sailors rely on many of the same skills that gamers do, and to make Navy life “more relatable to Gen Zers.” The campaign kicked off this past weekend at DreamHack Anaheim with the Navy signing on as the first-ever presenting sponsor of the BYOC activation space, while the Navy’s esports team challenged event attendees to a variety of games. The Navy will partner with Twitch, the top live streaming service for esports, to reach millions of gamers and to create a campaign inclusive of digital media, custom content, event activations, and a strategic partnership with the Evil Geniuses to help select and train the Navy’s first CS:GO team. The Navy will partner with DBLTAP to develop Navy “Role Comparison” video content where DBLTAP editors partner with top players from high-ranking esports teams to compare different rates in the Navy with specific roles on an esports team.

Richmond Raceway and Coca-Cola Consolidated partnered to support Richmond Raceway eSports Fueled by Sunoco, with Coca-Cola Consolidated serving as the official refreshment partner. Coca-Cola Consolidated will also receive naming rights for the inaugural development program, Coca-Cola Richmond Raceway eSports Development team (Coca-Cola ReD). In addition, Coca-Cola will serve as the primary sponsor of the No. 46 Toyota Camry in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series driven by Jimmy Mullis.

PLATFORMS

CORSAIR tied up a strategic partnership with Stream Hatchet, in a move to identify and measure influencer talent in esports and gaming. Leveraging Stream Hatchet’s business intelligence platform, CORSAIR will receive data and reports in real time with metrics that can include KPIs for video games, esports, influencers, and other performance factors critical to driving the most ROI for brands. “As a leading name in esports and high-level competitive gaming, we are thrilled to have the tremendous insight of Stream Hatchet at our disposal,” said Lauren Premo, Director of Gaming Marketing at CORSAIR. “Their in-depth analytics will help keep us at the forefront of the industry and ensure that we continue to partner with the best possible talent.”

Acer announced that Planet9, an open community platform that “allows gamers to build their team, train for excellence and battle for victory” will be open for a sneak peek at IEM Katowice, with an anticipated launch in EMEA to the public in Q2 2020. In addition, Planet9 can host tournaments from small to large scale, sponsored or official, that players can join and facilitates tournaments starting from registration, organizing game schedules, to providing game results and analytics.

READYUP GAMES OF THE WEEK
 

TEAMS

Tempo Storm raised $3.3M in its latest funding round, led by leading Galaxy Interactive via its Galaxy EOS VC Fund. The additional funding will allow the org to “push further into interactive, immersive media, as well as game design, transforming Tempo Storm into something unlike anything else in esports—or in video games as a whole.” Most immediately, they’re focused on building the Game Changers franchise and launching The Bazaar, Tempo’s first video game, into the world. “While Tempo is well-known in the competitive gaming world, we’ve always operated more as a media company than a sports team,” says Tempo Storm founder and CEO Andrey “reynad” Yanyuk. “We believe that interactivity is the future of entertainment, and we’re incredibly grateful to be working with investors who share that vision. Our upcoming game and audience-driven shows are blazing the trail in the world of interactive media, and it’s exciting to see that future being realized.”

Tomorrow will see Garden Grove, CA host Esports Fast Pitch, designed to allow attendees connect and network with leading esports and gaming executives, investors, media, esports celebrities and fellow gamers. Interested in going? Use code cynopsis for a 25% discount on GA tickets at http://EsportsFastPitch.com.

LIFESTYLE

100 Thieves announced new details of its 2020 apparel program and its debut capsule collection, aka the Numbers Collection, which will be available both online and in-store on Saturday. The in-store element is a first-time effort from 100 Thieves, which is opening its first retail location inside its newly unveiled, state-of-the-art 100 Thieves Cash App Compound in the Culver City neighborhood of Los Angeles. 100 Thieves apparel is led by VP of Brand & Apparel Doug Barber, who joined the company in 2019 from premium athleticwear brand Reigning Champ, in collaboration with 100 Thieves’ founder & CEO Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag. “My goal since Day 1 with 100 Thieves has been to elevate apparel in the gaming community. Doug, Jide, and Jan have been instrumental in bringing this dream to life,” said Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag, Founder & CEO of 100 Thieves. “This first collection and our retail experience is the most progressive creative work we’ve done at 100 Thieves, and I’m so proud to have Doug, Jide, and Jan leading these efforts.” Overall, the 2020 apparel program will feature six capsule collections featuring a full range of unisex items.

Logitech G and Herman Miller are teaming for an exclusive partnership to research, design, and manufacture next-gen “high-performance furniture solutions for gamers.” Logitech G and Herman Miller will analyze and incorporate the feedback from esports teams with which they have relationships, including Complexity Gaming, TSM, NaVi and others, into products that address their needs and concerns. The first product of this partnership will be a gaming chair, set to launch in the spring of 2020. “At Herman Miller, we have a rich history of designing solutions to support people wherever they live and work,” said Tim Straker, Herman Miller’s Chief Marketing Officer. “We’re excited to combine our ergonomic, research-driven approach with Logitech G’s excellence in technology and innovation. Together, we’ll develop high-quality solutions that provide gamers and esports athletes with the utmost support and comfort.”

INDUSTRY
The global esports industry is on pace to generate a total of $1.1 billion in 2020, according to Newzoo, in its annual Global Esports Marker Report, anchored by around $636.9 million in sponsorships and $185.4 million in media rights. Newzoo projects that China will continue to hold serve as the largest esports market, seeing revenues of $385.1 million in 2020, followed by North America with $252.5 million, and Western Europe with $201.2 million.

The British Esports Association is playing duos with the North America Scholastic Esports Federation, inking a memorandum of understanding to work together and share best practice around the benefits of esports for young people. The two orgs will design, develop and implement new programs, run joint esports tournaments and other events, as well as running exchange programs for coaches, esports managers, teachers and more, bringing the UK together with North America at the grassroots level in addition to jointly developing content for third party programs.

ROSTER MOVES

Excel Esports tapped Milly Preston to serve as Head of Marketing. Preston joins from conference and content platform Leaders in Sport.

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On This Day
2009: Killzone 2 is released
Trivia
What is the name of the game, pictured above, whose original version was first released in 1971, in which settlers journeyed to Willamette Valley and often died of dysentery? (Email cpursell@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
In most traditional Mario games, how many coins to do you need get an extra life? Answer: 100. Kudos: Julie Shell-Vbatt/Sydney; Chris Davies-Virgin/London; Brian Jacobs-ICM Partners/NY; Scott Jenkins-Gracenote/NY; Joey Olson-Lowes/DC; Glen Ross/Richmond; Jason Morrow-Toyota/Houston; Daniel Hanson/Vail; Luke Watson-Noise Nest Network/LA; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Greg Dudsic/Venice; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank

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Resp for focusing on domestic initiatives, incl video, digital & outreach projects for Sesame Street & other properties. Social science rsrch lab & working directly w/preschool-age children exp. 3yrs exp at non-profit, academic or educationally-oriented institution. Full info HERE (3/12)

VP, COMMUNICATIONS >>
BBC Studios/LA:
Design/implement wide-ranging communications plan for BBC Studios production unit. Raise our profile of the business and its executives thru industry PR activities & publicity – incl trade press and award campaigns. Min 6-8 yrs exp in industry and/or field. Full info HERE (3/11)

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Proven media strategist to develop plans that are both strategic and data-driven, with the goal of acquiring consumers to watch the various Discovery networks on our emerging direct-to-consumer platforms. 2+ yrs media planning experience required. Full info HERE (3/11)

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE DR >>
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CHANNEL BRANDING SYSTEMS COORDINATOR >>
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TRAFFIC ASSISTANT >>
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SR DIRECTOR, CONSUMER MARKETING >>
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ASSISTANT, SUPPORTING 2 VP’S
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SOCIAL MEDIA SPECIALIST >>
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New 24/7 post-cable network aimed at gaming, esports and entertainment audiences seeks candidate who is fan of gaming & pop culture to develop, plan and execute VENN socials. 3+yrs running brand socials w/exp in paid/organic and editing/photography skills pref’d. Full info HERE (3/6)

SR DIRECTOR, PROGRAM PLANNING >>
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MANAGER, AD SALES MARKETING >>
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AD SALES MARKETING COORDINATOR >>
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Test and refine systems throughout the development cycle of the project.
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