CYNOPSISeSPORTS & GAMING
02.02.17 It’s Thursday, February 2, 2017, and this is your weekly early morning eSports & Gaming brief.
Former FOX stalwart David Hill is plugging in to the esports community as ESL and Hill announced that the launch of Esports by Hill, described as a new premium production service that will see the development of premium events and viewing experiences for esports fans. Hill, who spearheaded the launch of FOX Sports, among other endeavors, spent nearly three decades at the company where he most recently held the role of Senior Executive Vice President at 21st Century Fox. Variety reports that Hill’s initial strategy will be involve training ESL production teams on TV best practices and recruiting and grooming star-caliber eSports announcers.
“David is a legend in entertainment and sports production and having an industry veteran of his stature join forces with ESL speaks to the explosive growth of esports into mainstream media,” said Steven Roberts, Executive Chairman, ESL. “David’s expertise will bring our production capabilities and broadcast talent to the next level and further our position as the premier partner for publishers and sponsors.”
“I’ve always looked to the gaming industry for inspiration for sports programing, especially in the areas of graphics, audio and design,” said David Hill. “Esports is one of the most exciting areas of sports and entertainment and I’m looking forward to partnering with ESL on this new Esports by Hill premium offering.”
CEO locked in its roster of brawlers for its 2017 tournaments, anchored by stalwarts Street Fighter V along with Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Super Smash Bros. Melee. Its primary 2017 event runs June 16-18 in Orlando, with other titles set to include Pokken Tournament, Tekken 7, BlazBlue: Central Fiction, Injustice 2, The King of Fighters XIV, Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator-, Killer Instinct and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
Turner and WME | IMG outfit ELeague saw its first-ever CS:GO Major saw the Grand Final score as the first event in Twitch history to pass one million concurrent viewers. The championship saw Astralis beat Virtus.pro 12-16, 16-14 and 16-14 in the finals in front of a sold out crowd at historic Fox Theatre in Atlanta.
Electronic Arts announced the schedule for the EA SPORTS FIFA Ultimate Team Championship Series, with the six regional qualifiers and one final event to be broadcast on FUTChampions.com/Live. Competitors will compete for their share of the $1.3 million. The action starts on Feb. 4 with the first Season One Ultimate Team Champion European Regional Final live from Paris. “Since the launch of FIFA 17, more than six million players have competed in FUT Champions and more than 2,000 players have competed in the qualifying tournaments,” said FIFA Competitive Gaming Commissioner, Brent Koning. “Now the top players from around the world are ready to show that they are the best in the game.”
DreamHack Masters revealed its lineup of talent for its Las Vegas event from Feb. 15-19 from the MGM Grand. Alex Richardson will serve as desk host, with commentary from Anders Blume, Auguste Massonnat, Henry Greer, and Matthew Trivett while Chad Burchill, Janko Paunovic, Jason O’Toole and Duncan Shields will offer analysis.
IDC/Games & Turtle Entertainment, founder and organizer of the ESL, announced today that Zula Europe would be included to the list of games in the ESL. Contests will take the classic ESL format, like OPEN & Go4 and a Ladder 5v5, and have weekly & monthly format, with to-be-announced prizes. The first competition takes place on Feb. 4.
ESL also teamed up with BlackSpot Entertainment, the developers of Line of Sight, to bring players the Go4LineOfSight tournament series. The action will serve up one cup every Sunday starting in February to qualify for the monthly final where the eight best teams of the month square off.
Lagardere Sports is jumping into esports, announcing an exclusive marketing partnership with the Unicorns of Love to support the League of Legends team via sponsor acquisitions, product development and expansion of digital channels. In addition, the company will assist the UoL in the development and distribution of media rights, and work closely with the eSports team to develop further growth opportunities.
Former San Jose Sharks co-owner Stratton Sclavos is reportedly a new partner at Echo Fox. ESPN reports that Sclavos’s investment helped team founder Rick Fox add a slew of top fighting game players in the world in Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, and Super Smash Bros.
SKT and Azubu seem to be parting ways. The League of Legends team has boasted a long partnership with the streaming platform and are now reportedly eyeballing Twitch as a landing spot
G2 Esports announced that esports fans will be able to view live streams from its roster of professional players on Facebook starting Feb. 1. The move begins a multi-platform distribution of live esports gameplay designed to help the esports club grow its global audience. “One of G2’s biggest goals is to share our love of this industry with all fans by making our content as accessible as we can, while also helping lesser-known streamers looking to make a name for themselves,” said G2 founder and CEO Carlos “ocelote” Rodriguez Santiago. “We pride ourselves on innovation, and by leaning into Facebook as an audience platform, we see a world
Gillette became the latest non-endemic brand to plug into esports. The company announced yesterday that it had entered into a global partnership with ESL as Sponsor of the League of Legends Intel Extreme Masters World Championship Katowice 2017, and also named League of Legends Player Enrique “xPeke” Cedeno as New Global Brand Ambassador for the company. “It’s been exciting and eye-opening as we’ve immersed ourselves in the gaming community and discovered that both professional and amateur gamers have a lot in common with other premier athletes and sports fanatics. Gamers at all levels recognize the importance of precision split seconds and minute movements make big differences. We get that obsession with precision better than anyone,” said John Mang, Vice President, Global Gillette. Activation will see Gillette offer teams and fans at IEM Katowice the opportunity to customize Gillette razor handles using 3D printing technology at its RZR MKR Design Studio. Additionally, the brand will provide grooming services to all League of Legend’s competitors throughout the opening weekend and will host autograph sessions and other activities with xPeke.
Esports promoter Gfinity locked in a strategic partnership with MediaCom Sport & Entertainment, a division of MediaCom, to identify and develop “innovative partnership opportunities for potential sponsors within the esports environment.” “Esports is one of the fastest growing sports in the world, especially with the much sought-after millennial audience,” said Misha Sher, MediaCom Head of Sport & Entertainment. “Gfinity has been one of the early trend setters in the sport and the Elite and Challenger Series have the foundations to become the biggest competitions in the world. As an agency that has always been at the forefront of trends and innovation, it’s a privilege for us to partner with Gfinity who we believe will be the world’s leading eSports producer and operator.
Long-running title Club Penguin has been put on ice as Disney announced that the browser-based free-to-play game would shutter once and for all on March 29. However, the Club Penguin brand will shift to a new platform through a new mobile-exclusive game, Club Penguin Island, which will be available in March.
The Entertainment Software Association issued a response to the country’s new immigration policies, releasing a statement reading “The Entertainment Software Association urges the White House to exercise caution with regard to vital immigration and foreign worker programs. As a leading force in technology and exporter of entertainment, the US video game industry thrives on the contributions of innovators and storytellers from around the world. While recognizing that enhancing national security and protecting our country’s citizens are critical goals, our companies rely on the skilled talent of U.S. citizens, foreign nationals, and immigrants alike. Our nation’s actions and words should support their participation in the American economy.”
Activision Blizzard unveiled its newly created Consumer Products division and appointed t of veteran Mattel and Disney executive Tim Kilpin as its CEO and president. The new division will “further accelerate Activision Blizzard’s global growth strategy by leveraging its iconic content and creating new ways for audiences to connect with the company’s franchises and characters.” “Inspiring play, competition, and community underpins everything we do, and giving audiences new ways to experience our franchises is core to this commitment,” said Activision Blizzard Chief Executive Officer Bobby Kotick. “Under Tim’s leadership, we will elevate our consumer product offerings to the same level of exceptional quality as our games and transform the ways audiences connect with the characters they love in their everyday lives.”
Electronic Arts announced results for the third fiscal quarter ending Dec. 31, beating estimates with a 7% gain in revenue for the holiday quarter. The publisher noted that Battlefield 1 topped expectations while Titanfall 2 fell short. For the third quarter, EA posted net revenues of $1.15 billion, with a net loss of $1 million.
Nintendo reports that its net sales saw a 26.9% decline in net sales comparing April-Dec. numbers from 2016 vs. 2015 in its quarterly report, while profits surged 154%. The company saw sales of the Wii U drop 75.2% while software sales tumbled 44.8% during the same period. Nintendo also confirmed its smartphone strategy, announcing that the company will release two to three mobile titles every year.
SAG-AFTRA’s months-long strike against selected video game publishers has now been joined by members of the Writers Guild, Teamsters Local 399, the American Federation of Musicians, as well as reps from the L.A. County Federation of Labor, per Deadline.
Blizzard revealed that Overwatch now boasts 25 million registered players. Last October, the company hit 20 million.
Square Enix is now part of Marvel’s superhero team, striking a multi-game partnership with the Disney-owned company that will see the studio launch a "universe gamers can play in for years to come." The game, currently known as The Avengers Project, is being co-developed by Crystal Dynamics and Edios-Montreal.
ZeniMax Media acquired Escalation Studios, which helped build and support titles such as DOOM. “We have continually been impressed with the team at Escalation that Tom and Marc have assembled,” said Todd Vaughn, Vice President of Development at Bethesda. “Their commitment to quality and innovation has made significant contributions to the projects we’ve worked on together, and we’re excited to have them join ZeniMax.”
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ON THIS DAY in 2010: Star Trek Online is released.
Trivia: The Connecticut Leather Company became known in the gaming world 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: Translated, “Pokemon” is a contraction of two words meaning what? Answer: Pocket Monsters. Kudos: Brad Stern-POM Technologies/NY; Alex Javelly-Left/Right/NY; Kevin Salter-Authentic Brands Group/NY; Danny Araque/NY; Katie Joiner-Assignment Desk/Charleston; Joey Olson-Lowes/Arlington; Christian Perilla-Fusion/Miami; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Rosemary Cunningham-Weigel Broadcasting/Chicago; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Elena Chavira-OMD/LA; Greg Dudsic/Venice; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA.
Later — Chris
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