04/23/20: Call of Duty Mobile is getting into esports

 

Medias First Morning Read
Thursday April 23, 2020

Good morning! This is your weekly Esports Brief.
Activision and Sony Mobile Communications are gearing up for the Call of Duty: Mobile World Championship 2020 Tournament presented by Sony, launching online on April 30. Eligible Call of Duty: Mobile players ranked veteran or higher in Multiplayer will be able to compete to win exclusive Call of Duty: Mobile esports cosmetics and cash prizes with the tournament offering more than $1 million in total prizes, “We are very excited to launch our highly-anticipated competitive tournament in Call of Duty: Mobile,” said Chris Plummer, vice president, mobile at Activision. “As the next-evolution in our fan-favorite Ranked Play, this tournament format gives eligible Call of Duty: Mobile players a chance to compete with players from around the world for cash and prizes.”

COMPETITION
Gamers from around the world are being recruited to help fight COVID-19 by competing in a series of daily-prized $10 million charity esports tournaments, known as Gamers Without Borders by Saudi. Competition begins tomorrow and runs through June 7, with the seven-week long mega-series also including daily and weekly public tournaments and prize giveaways worth another $2 million. Ahead of the opening event organizers plan to announce the specific leading titles to feature in the global tournament as part of the exciting build up. Created by the Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronic and Intellectual Sports and backed by ESL, as technical partner, Gamers Without Borders is open to all gamers worldwide. The charity prize-fund will be distributed between 12 different organizations leading the fight against COVID-19.

NASCAR, Race Team Alliance and Motorsport Games announced the return of eNASCAR Heat Pro League season two kicks, streamed on eNASCAR.com, as well as NASCAR Heat’s Twitch and Facebook. The 2020 season features 14 races at tracks across the NASCAR circuit, including Eldora Speedway, Road America and Iowa Speedway, with gamers showcasing their skills in all three of NASCAR’s national series. The 14-race season is broken up into three four-race segments, with one driver per platform (Xbox One and PlayStation 4) capturing a spot in the Championship race as well as a shot at the $200,000 prize pool.

NBC Sports, in collaboration with Sky Sports, is serving up the ePremier League Invitational Tournament with representatives participating from all Premier League clubs in a 20-team single-elimination tournament throughout this week at 7a. The semifinals and final will air on Sunday at 10a on NBCSN. Sky’s Saturday Social, Adam Smith and Joe Thomlinson will present the matches, joined by Harry Pinero. Telemundo Deportes will also carry the event live on the Telemundo Deportes social platforms Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

ELEAGUE partnered with Wizards of the Coast to bring back Magic: The Gathering Arena for the second iteration of their ELEAGUE Showdown: Magic The Gathering Arena weekly esports competition series. The Showdown will launch with its first competition today at 6p on ELEAGUE’S Twitch channel with a new competition each Wednesday through May 27. Game experts Alias V, Riley and Marshall will provide play-by-play commentary on the live matches, while analysts Cedric Phillips and Corey Baumeister will break down the players’ strategies.

PUBG Corporation announced changes to its original 2020 esports plans amid the current global health pandemic., canceling PGS and introducing the PUBG Continental Series (PCS) – a multi-regional online competition. Events will be held in May, June, and August with a total prize pool fund of $2.4 million across four regions, including Asia (Korea, Japan, China, Chinese Taipei), Asia-Pacific (Southeast Asia and Oceania), Europe, and North America. The first tournament, the PUBG Continental Series Charity Showdown, will take place in May.

Electronic Arts and Respawn Entertainment announced that the Finals of the Apex Legends Global Series Online Tournaments #5 and #6, are both moving up one day earlier. The tournaments will now be held May 2-3 and May 30-31 respectively, in order to better fit competitors’ schedules and those able to watch online. The company reports that the Apex Legends Global Series has seen significant tournament viewership growth, tripling reported Average Minute Audience (on Twitch and YouTube) from OT #2 to OT #3 in just 14 days.

With live sports and esports events being cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak, where are the fans going during lockdown and how are they engaging? Find out in one week during Cynopsis’ Webinar: Building A Super-Bond with Fans During the Pandemic. On Thursday, April 30 at 1:30 ET, you’ll learn how leagues, rights holders & brands are strengthening their connections with fans.

The Electronic Gaming Federation launched the EGF Collegiate Power Series designed to allow Division I universities nationwide to compete to crown a national champion. The tournament was shifted to a stay-at-home competitive environment with a multi-week qualifying round starting today, that progresses to a championship bracket that will decide a winner on May 10. The tournament features 38 schools including: USC, UCLA, Cal Berkeley, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Missouri, Syracuse and Washington State.

ESPN is running hot with the Madden NFL 20 Celebrity Tournament, featuring athletes, celebrities and ESPN talent and matches running this week at noon. The tournament, executed and produced with PlayVS and Nerd Street Gamers, is a single elimination bracket with the winner receiving a donation to Feeding America in their name following the championship on April 26, airing on ESPN2 and hosted by ESPN’s Field Yates and Arda Ocal. Confirmed participants include NFL players such as Cam Jordan and DeAndre Hopkins to UFC athletes Chris Weidman and Daniel Cormier – UFC athlete and former UFC light heavyweight and heavyweight champion, ESPN talents such as Katie Nolan, Omar Raja and Pat McAfee to rappers Snoop Dogg, Lil Yachty and YG.

Meanwhile, FOX Sports added the recently announced ABB Formula E Race At Home Challenge, a nine-week esports competition featuring all teams and drivers from the fully electric ABB FIA Formula E Championship, as well as a selection of top gamers, beginning April 25 at 10:30a on FS1. World feed commentator Jack Nicholls, Formula E pitlane reporter Nicki Shields and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti form part of a fully remote presentation team.

STREAM HATCHET TRENDS
While Twitch and YouTube often garner most of the attention when it comes to streaming platforms, Facebook has been slowly creating its own path. On the other hand, Mixer generated a lot of buzz around signing Ninja and Shroud but it hasn’t led to any sustainable viewership. This week, Stream Hatchet analyzes the year-over-year growth of both Facebook and Mixer as the two platforms are trending in different directions.
· While Facebook has seen an increase of 345% in total hours watched since April 2019, Mixer has declined 26% over the same period.
· Facebook dominates mobile viewership which is a large reason for their success both in North America and internationally as LATAM and APAC consume substantial mobile game content.
· With the announcement of Facebook’s new gaming app launching soon, the company is focused on stealing more market share from Twitch and YouTube. Mobile game viewership will likely be the starting point but expect the strategy to broaden as Facebook continues to generate more viewership.

For more information on platform viewership and growth, please contact sales@streamhatchet.com or visit www.streamhatchet.com.

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ACTIVATION
Complexity-Limit announced a partnership with Army National Guard. The two organizations will team up to create “engagement opportunities, unique experiences, and content as part of Complexity-Limit’s participation in World of Warcraft’s Mythic Dungeon International.” Through the end of July, Army National Guard will be integrated throughout Complexity-Limit’s streams and social channels during the ‘Road to MDI,’ a first-of-its-kind stream series in conjunction with the MDI. Guard Soldiers and Complexity-Limit guild members will also compete alongside each other during live streams. The partnership aims to bring WoW fans even closer to the action.

The Overwatch League named Xfinity as the Preferred Internet Service Provider of the Overwatch League in North America and the presenting sponsor of “Overwatch League Online Play” on the League’s English broadcast feed. Overwatch League Online Play presented by Xfinity will feature a combination of elevated content and unique engagements to bring fans more Overwatch action and special activations. In addition, Xfinity’s X1 platform will deliver exclusive content for Overwatch League fans such as the video series, “In Case You Missed It.”

PLATFORMS

SeventySix Capital announced that it had invested in Maestro, the Los Angeles-based interactive streaming company. Maestro’s interactive video platform allows for esports streamers and traditional broadcasters to own, engage and monetize audiences. Maestro customers include Epic Games Fortnite, Activision Blizzard – Overwatch League, FIFA, Microsoft, Adobe, WarnerMedia and Coachella.

ESL clocked 2.5 billion video views in its first 10 days after launching the #ESL x TikTok branded hashtags: #progamer #mygaminglife and #ESL branded channels: @eslgaming and @eslcounterstrike.

FANAI INSIGHTS
With the recent hype around Valorant and ongoing beta drops, it’s no surprise that audiences gravitated to Pokimane’s stream to watch it. Perhaps more interestingly, the T1 squad, with Faker at the helm, drove interest in LCK’s channels as they closed the spring split season—all part of the lead up to T1 seizing a spot in the LCK playoff finals today (4/22). This will be Faker’s 9th appearance in the LCK finals. Faker now has the most games played in the LCK, as he broke Score’s record in early April 2020. With the English-streaming channel and the Korean-streaming channel both up in viewership, it’s clear that Faker is a draw for both Korean and international audiences.

TEAMS

FaZe Clan closed $40 million Series A round of funding which will support expansion, player acquisitions and operations. The news follows last week’s announcement of FaZe Clan’s partnership with Jimmy Iovine and NTWRK, who led the round. Investors include named such as Pitbull, Nyjah Huston, Swae Lee, Yo Gotti, DJ Paul, Ray J, Chris O’Donnell, Big Boy, Meyers Leonard, Josh Hart and Offset. “These influential investors recognize the cultural significance of FaZe Clan as well as the enormous business opportunities around our content, esports teams and apparel,” said Lee Trink, CEO, FaZe Clan. “We have a hyper-engaged global audience and FaZe Clan is the most powerful lifestyle brand in all of gaming. This round of funding provides the capital to continue to reshape the future of sports and entertainment.”

READYUP GAMES OF THE WEEK
 

LIFESTYLE
Speaking of FaZe Clan, the team announced that the gaming organization will join the NFL’s “Draft-A-Thon” during the first-ever virtual draft this week. To commemorate the historic event, FaZe Clan and the NFL teamed up to create a limited-edition merchandise collection, which will be released the first day of the NFL Draft, marking the NFL’s first-ever clothing collaboration with a gaming organization. A fundraising campaign aimed at raising much-needed funds for COVID-19 relief efforts, “Draft-A-Thon” will be live streamed on NFL social and digital platforms and featured in live Draft coverage on ABC, ESPN, NFL Network, and ESPN Deportes during the 2020 NFL Draft. Members of FaZe Clan who are quarantined together in their Hollywood home will also host a watch party and capturing content during Round 1 of the NFL Draft on Thursday.

Gaming seat specialist Secretlab announced a new partnership with Team Liquid in a deal that will include the newly-released Secretlab Team Liquid Edition gaming chair paying homage to Team Liquid’s 20-year run. To kick off the partnership, Secretlab and Team Liquid will launch their first “CHAIR-ity” stream in May. During the period of the stream, Secretlab will donate part of the proceeds from every Secretlab Team Liquid Edition chair sold to charity.

Italian sportswear brand Kappa inked a three-year partnership with esports team Diablous to create kit and training wear alongside releasing lines of both casual and leisure wear. “Bringing Kappa onboard as our official team wear partner is a statement of how far we have come as a brand,” said Diabolus’ Chief Operations Officer Nick Uttley. “As we begin to move into international competition it makes sense to partner with an amazing international brand such as Kappa. If we want to be the best, we should also look the best. That’s why we are proud to have the Kappa logo alongside ours on our amazing new team kit.”

POWER PLAYERS
Last week saw Videogame Entertainment and News Network, aka VENN, announce plans to move up its launch from fall to July, “largely in response to the current COVID-19 crisis.” VENN, headed by cofounders Ben Kusin and Ariel Horn, signed leases for its live studio in New York and production studio in Los Angeles and in boasting new support form investor, Kroenke Sports & Entertainment. Cynopsis Esports asked Kusin and Horn about the launch.

On the genesis behind VENN: We are creating a singular media brand at the nexus of gaming, entertainment, and the gen Z and millennial generations, unifying gaming content in one place across what is a highly fragmented video marketplace. We are a universal network, aiming to be everywhere our audience is consuming content and on whichever device they are consuming it on – live, on demand, and on social. VENN will be free to view on all platforms. Our own OTT will have value added offerings, including a more interactive experience, but by no means are we gating content.

On content strategy: VENN will see all types of content – long form, short form, live and on-demand. We’re working closely with talent to develop specific programming that lives within the confines of where our young audiences’ interests lie. Content is continuously evolving but viewers should expect to see what you would expect from a full-fledged network like a daily studio show, news programs, game shows, a nighttime talk show and more.

On accelerating the launch date: Consumer behaviors are changing rapidly during this unique time as concerts, sports and other entertainment events are postponed. At the same time we’re seeing interest in gaming hit all-time highs. So it’s not surprising that media consumption is in demand — and the void is palpable. We have the resources and believe that we can fulfill some of the void with some authentic and exciting content that viewers will love.

On the biggest challenge: It’s been a challenge to ramp up the network but it’s something that at the same time seemed very organic. It’s an incredibly strange circumstance to onboard when you can’t be in the same room as your employees, but we have amazing talent that’s passionate about VENN and we’re equipped to do it when others aren’t.

On the pitch to sponsors: Long story short, gaming is a $150 billion per-year industry and we believe streamers, casters and content creators are the new celebrities. There are millions and millions of gen z-ers and millennials who grew up with and love gaming, and we think VENN will become an integrated part of their everyday lives come day one. Marketers realize the value in capturing this hard-to-follow audience and are hungry to sign on.

INDUSTRY
Spending on digital games reached $10 billion in March to mark the highest monthly total ever, according to Superdata as individuals turned to games as a reliable entertainment option during the COVID-19 crisis. Total digital revenue was up 11% year-over-year, according to its monthly report. Premium console and premium PC soared as lockdowns took effect with premium console revenue rising 64% from February to March to hit $1.5 billion.

Another league got the greenlight from the Nevada Gaming Control Board, which issued a notice of approval permitting sportsbooks to take bets on the Call of Duty League through the end of the year. Licensees may now take wagers on head-to-head play, match winner, and overall winner. The league now joins other recent approvals for pro leagues offering CS:GO, Dota 2, Overwatch, and League of Legends, along with iRacing, marking the ninth exemption issued by the Nevada Gaming Control Board to permit esports betting in the last three weeks.

Torque Esports renegotiated the acquisition of the motorsport simulator manufacturer, Allinsports. The Company will now be acquiring 100 percent of Allinsports in exchange for the issuance of 14,500,000 common shares of the company. The purchase price included the requirement of US$1.2 million in purchases of racing simulators to be made by Torque from Allinsports, which have already been made.

ONE WEEK FROM TODAY
Building A Super-Bond with Audiences During The Pandemic
CYNOPSIS WEBINAR: THURSDAY (APR 30) @ 1:30 PM ET

Now is the time for marketers and rights holders to be on top of their game in strengthening their connections with audiences in our “new normal.” Hear from Heidi Browning (CMO, NHL), Nathan Lindberg (RVP, Global Sponsorships at Twitch), Vikki Neil (EVP & GM of Digital Studios Group at Discovery) and, Johannes Waldstein (CEO & Founder of FanAl Inc).

REGISTER

On This Day
2002: 2002 FIFA World Cup is released.

Trivia
The VR game “Virtual Rick-ality” is based on which TV show? (Email cpursell@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
This star of Juno and Inception also made waves voicing Jodie in Beyond: Two Souls (pictured last week). Who was she? Answer: Ellen Page. Kudos: Scott Jenkins-Gracenote/NY; Joey Olson/DC; Rick Dascher-WarnerMedia Studios/Atlanta; Matt Sautter-WideOrbit/Harrisburg; Julie Schell/Chicago Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; John Kukla-KDFW/KDFI/Dallas; Jason Morrow-Toyota/Houston; Peter Steckelman-Tennis Channel/Santa Monica; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank; Luke Watson-Noise Nest Network/LA

Cynopsis Team

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Check out more jobs in Cynopsis Classifieds »
Job of the day
DIRECTOR, DIGITAL CONTENT & EMAIL MARKETING
INSP
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Oversee all of INSP’s website and digital content initiatives, driving development of smart strategies to fuel increases in all key metrics. 5+yrs exp leading mngmnt of a website property. Full info HERE (5/6)

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>>
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ViacomCBS/NYC: Candidate w/extensive exp developing strategic, highly creative & effective cross-channel mktg campaigns to promote news programs, specials, and overall news brands and products. 10+ yrs exp in news, media, and/or TV mktg. Full info HERE (4/28)

DIRECTOR, PARTNERSHIPS Kidfluencers
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batteryPOP LLC/NYC/LA:
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DEVELOPMENT EXECUTIVE
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PRODUCER/INVESTOR >>
Music Mix/Naples FL: Seeks Production Co. or Producer/Investor for a new reality concept that follows a small energetic crew around country interviewing popular bands; up and coming artists in the music industry – back-stage, live performances, record label interaction. Full info HERE (4/24)

VP PRODUCTION/HEAD OF PRODUCTION >>
Back Roads Entertainment/Austin TX: self-motivated Supervisor for BRE’s production and business efforts. Creating and negotiating all production budgets and schedules. Proficient in Movie Magic software. Full info HERE (4/24)

SITUATION WANTED ADS below are individuals looking to be hired

SITUATION WANTED >>
UCLA/Berkeley/USC graduate seeking analyst/senior analyst role. Research and finance experience at NBCUniversal, Warner Bros., Paramount and a public television station. Certifications in data science and accounting. Contact: data.putcha@gmail.com (4/30)

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Publicity Coordinator in film, television or streaming platform 15 years of experience Los Angeles, California Microsoft Office Suite, G Suite, AP Writing Style. Contact: writekellyg@gmail.com (4/30)

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09/25/20: Scripps to go national with ION Media acquisition

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  A Cynopsis Message From A+E NETWORKS LIFETIME WALKING THE WALKFOR 3 DECADES AND COUNTINGSUPPORTING WOMEN ONSCREEN… AND BEHIND-THE-SCENES Broader Focus InitiativeAdvancing Women’s Careers in The Entertainment Industry Stop Violence Against Women & Stop Breast Cancer for LifePartnerships with Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Human Rights Campaign, Trevor Project Providing Support for Vulnerable Women Who Need it […]

09/25/20: Turner Sports inked a new seven-year deal with MLB

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  Friday September 25, 2020 Turner Sports and Major League Baseball dig the long ball, reaching a long-term, seven-year multimedia rights extension spanning from 2022 through 2028 and will see TBS serve as the exclusive home to the most MLB Postseason games of any network, and see the launch of a new season-long Tuesday night […]

09/24/20: Fox renews Family Guy and Bob’s Burgers

Fox renews Family Guy and Bob's Burgers.

  A Cynopsis Message From A+E NETWORKS NOTHING UNITES US LIKEHISTORYOur MISSION TO HONOR ProgramCelebrates and Gives Back to Veterans and Military Families HISTORY at HomeProvides Educators and Families Remote Learning Tools and Resources CONTACT YOUR A+E REPRESENTATIVE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE TOGETHER. Thursday September 24, 2020 Today’s PremieresCBS: Star Trek: Discovery at 10pHBO Max: […]

09/24/20: Riot detailed its esports plans for VALORANT

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  Thursday September 24, 2020 Good morning! This is your weekly Esports Brief. Riot Games continues to bolster esports plans for VALORANT, mapping out First Strike, the first set of VALORANT regional tournaments that will be hosted, produced, and broadcast by Riot. Play runs Dec. December 3-6 and will be composed of multiple […]

09/23/20: Cynopsis Jobs

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  MANAGER, PROGRAMMING ANALYTICSCHARTER COMMUNICATIONSSTAMFORD, CT Resp for accessing and leveraging internal/external data, as well as building models to support Charter’s various business grps (Programming Acquisition, Original Content, Spectrum Nets, Mktg, Product, etc.) on critical initiatives and decisions. Min 5 yrs exp in data modeling and analytics. Full info HERE Wednesday September […]

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