05/13/21: FaZe Clan named Kai Henry as Chief Strategy Officer


Medias First Morning Read


Thursday May 13, 2021

Good morning! This is your weekly Esports Brief.
FaZe Clan’s escalating embrace of lifestyle business continues with the hiring of Kai Henry as Chief Strategy Officer of the group, where he will help push the expansion and steering of the creative hub within FaZe Clan and serve as the “connective tissue between the business and the brand, maintaining synergy between commerce and culture.” Henry brings over 15 years of experience as an executive and entrepreneur in music, fashion, consumer electronics, lifestyle marketing, branding and talent management. Prior to joining FaZe Clan, Henry helped manage superstar artists including Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube and Quincy Jones amongst others. He’s also led and co-founded a handful of disruptive businesses, including the first-ever lifestyle YouTube Platform, SKEE.TV, one of the first contemporary streetwear lines, En Noir Clothing, Sol Republic Headphones and We are Massiv.

“We are thrilled to welcome Kai to the FaZe family,” says Lee Trink, CEO of FaZe Clan. “Kai possesses a wide breadth of skills and relationships that fit perfectly into the unique role of CSO for FaZe. His leadership on both the strategy and creative will help catapult us into the next part of our journey and continue to solidify FaZe as the home for the creatives of tomorrow.”

“It’s an honor to join the team at FaZe Clan,” says Henry. “I believe that Lee Trink, the founders and I have a shared vision that this will be a creative led business. I will continue to assemble and lead a braintrust composed of some of the brightest and most innovative creative executives, who lead an internet lifestyle and innately understand the cultural intersection where FaZe Clan sits. To me, there is no better place to be, especially in this particular moment in time as we embrace the huge paradigm shift occurring in entertainment. I look forward to helping forge new boundaries with this amazing team of visionaries.”

Valve locked in plans at long last for Dota 2 crown jewel The International, which returns in August after being cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. The offline event will run in Stockholm, Sweden. Competitors will square off for a share of the $40,018,195 prize pool, with play starting Aug. 5 with the group stage, and running through the Grand Final on Aug. 15.

CS:GO stalwarts ESL and BLAST revealed tweaks to this year’s key competitions in ESL Pro League, BLAST Premier Fall Groups and IEM Fall , rescheduling the lineup. The new season of ESL Pro League was initially slated for Sept. 8-Oct. 10 but will now span Aug. 16-Sept. 12. IEM Fall will now take place Sept. 28-Oct. 10. Meanwhile, BLAST Premier Fall’s shifts to Sept. 16. Both parties say such effort is a part of a “unified approach to the governance of scheduling tournament dates, rulebook alignment and integrity policies.”

After 15 months of remote matches, including a vast majority of its inaugural season, the Call of Duty League has made the call to have each of its 12 in the same location playing LAN matches for its Major IV tournament weekend from June 17-20. The matches will run at Esports Stadium Arlington. Only the teams and limited league staff will be in attendance for the weekend’s tournament, which will be streamed as normal on YouTube and will have rapid-response COVID testing for the participants.

In addition, Activision unleashed a new a semi-invitational event titled Call of Duty: Mobile Master 2021‘ that will pit players from Europe and North America. Dangling a pot of $100,000, teams will also be competing for slots at the CODM World Championship Finals 2021 with a total of 16 teams are invited to each region with the rest to be joining them through the open qualifiers.

The Free Fire World Series 2021 finals have been delayed slightly due to the pandemic. Garena revealed that while the play-in stage will still take place on May 22, the grand finals will be pushed from May 27 to May 30 in order to guarantee the players’ health and safety. The event is expected to host 18 global teams from 11 regions battling for portions of the $2 million prize pool.

The Apex Legends Global Series Winter Circuit Playoffs drew a cumulative average minute audience of over 100,000, surpassing the previously most-watched competition by more than 50% with competition running across player streams and the official broadcast. The title’s inaugural championship is approaching, with the Group Stage begining May 22 in the APAC North, APAC South, and South America regions. Subsequently, the EMEA and North America regions will kick off their respective Group Stage on June 1-2.

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Red Bull revealed full details of its upcoming United States and Canada Qualifiers for Red Bull Solo Q, an amateur League of Legends tournament where players showcase their individual skill in 1v1 matches with qualifiers starting May 29. The global final is slated to be held in Germany later this year.

ESL Gaming and the International School Sport Federation locked in a partnership that will see ESL operate 3.2.1 Play, the first global mobile esports championship designed specifically for school children. The three-phase competition will span five continents with national qualifiers, continental finals, and world finals. The winners of the 3.2.1 Play championship will then be invited to a world-class sports event.

The Global Esports Federation Board booked the first three host cities for the Global Esports Games, locking in Singapore 2021, Istanbul 2022 and Riyadh 2023. Taking place each year in December, the convergence of esports, virtual sport, music and entertainment will feature teams from across the world participating in multi-title esports competitions and active esports. “The Global Esports Games has drawn overwhelming interest. We have undergone a rigorous selection process,” said Chris Chan, President, Global Esports Federation, “Now the work and creativity truly begin as we set the stage for the world’s esports athletes and players to shine.”

Meanwhile, World eSports League, a new global esports event hosted by Technoblood eSports stated that about 40 countries expressed their intention to participate in the event. The org also stated that PUBG and Nimble Neuron’s Eternal Return: Black Survival, along with Brawl Stars are also highly likely to be added as a new title in this tournament.

The highly-anticipated Resident Evil Village saw major streaming success during its official launch day on May 7th. Village set a new peak viewership record for the Resident Evil Series with 808K viewers. This resulted in a 94% increase in peak viewership compared to the last release in the series, the Resident Evil 3 remake. Here are some key insights for other Resident Evil games’ launch days:
· Both the Resident Evil 2 and 3 remakes had a 415K peak viewership; about half of the Village record.
· The popularity of live streaming and gaming has grown substantially over the last few years leading to many titles reaching new peak records on launch.
· The success of the Village launch is beneficial for the rumors of a Resident Evil 4 remake which will attempt to topple the 808K peak viewership record on launch.

For more on how Stream Hatchet can help marketers stay current on trends within the live streaming and esports industry, visit us online at: www.StreamHatchet.com.

100 Thieves snatched an extension with JBL which serves as the official sound partner of the organization. JBL will outfit all 100 Thieves teams and content creators with JBL Quantum gaming headsets and in addition to supporting 100 Thieves’ championship Valorant team, Team JBL is adding the LA Thieves, 100 Thieves’ Call of Duty team, to this year’s roster. In addition to gearing up the team for practice and competition, 100 Thieves and the LA Thieves will have access to the latest JBL portable speakers and lifestyle headphones for the CashApp Compound and Content House Show. JBL will continue its relationships with streamers Tyler Polchow (TeeP) and Ali Hassan (SypherPK) and the audio brand is also announcing the JBL Quantum Grant in partnership with 1,000 Dreams Fund to help amplify the voices and jumpstart the careers of women in gaming and esports.

HyperX re-signed Pokimane to a new deal. Under the sponsorship, Pokimane will be using HyperX gaming headsets, keyboards, mice, and mouse pads exclusively in her streaming content and other marketing initiatives. “HyperX is proud to partner with Pokimane for another year,” said Jessany Van’t Hoff, Head of Global Gaming Partnerships, HyperX. “As a strong supporter of diversity in gaming and a long-standing sponsor of Pokimane, we believe it’s important to elevate the women in this industry. We are looking forward to this continued alliance with Pokimane and developing new content and activations with our gaming peripherals – inspiring all gamers to achieve their best.”

New premium CBD brand SummaForte locked in a partnership with Brax, former Counter Strike: Global Offensive pro and current VALORANT player for Team SoloMid. He will serve as SummaForte’s debut brand ambassador. “My community knows I’d only promote things I believe in,” Brax said. “I’ve been sing SummaTape and SummaMix for a while and they’ve helped me step up my game. The tape is easy to apply and helps my hands recover from long scrim blocks.”

e.l.f. Cosmetics became the first major beauty brand to launch a branded channel on Twitch, according to the company, launching the platform on Sunday. Programming will feature new streams every week, focused on the concept of “Game-Up” – the intersection of gaming and makeup. “Launching a Twitch channel is another demonstration that anything is e.l.f.ing possible,” says Kory Marchisotto, Chief Marketing Officer at e.l.f. Beauty. “We are always looking to blaze new trails when it comes to connecting with our current and new fans and believe Twitch is our next frontier—it’s interactive, engaging, authentic and live.”

LG Electronics USA announced the launch of Only on OLED, a campaign designed to bring exclusive events and moments in gaming, sports and movies to LG OLED TVs. Only on OLED will offer access to a live celebrity gaming face-off series, docu-style short films featuring professional star athletes and exclusive sneak peeks at never-before-seen content from some of this year’s most anticipated movie releases available only on LG TV’s FOMO Channel app. The Only on OLED campaign kicked off yesterday with the first of a series of Celebrity Gaming Showdowns featuring music mogul DJ Khaled and actor Megan Fox. The two went head-to-head in a 90-minute Fortnite battle, live streamed on professional esports team Evil Geniuses’ Twitch Channel.

OverActive Media is opening the doors to the Red Bull Gaming Studio, courtesy of a multi-year partnership with the brand. The Red Bull Gaming Studio will be located inside OverActive Media’s headquarters in Toronto, is expected to host gaming events such as tournaments, speaker sessions, artist performances, live events, and broadcasts.

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NBC Olympics is tapping Twitch to produce and deliver live content that will live on a new NBC Olympics Twitch channel for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, delivering “unique programming tailored to the Twitch community,” including highlight studio shows, game-ified pre-Olympic activations, Olympic athlete interviews and Olympic-themed gaming competitions. The deal will also include daily competition among three teams of Twitch creators, primetime sidecasting and a Live From Tokyo segment.

Enthusiast Gaming revealed plans to launch a subscription-based social network for gamers, currently titled Project GG, according to reports, and enabled via the new acquisition of data platform Tabwire LLC, which allows gamers to track their player and game stats, by way of a registered user profile, and has built gameplay companion tools for VALORANT and Rainbow Six Siege. “The announcement of a unifying pan-Enthusiast social network with a premium subscription opportunity for gamers is a defining moment for us as our core GenZ and Millennial audiences have been moving away from traditional social networks and turning to gaming as an alternative,” said Adrian Montgomery, CEO of Enthusiast Gaming.

Allstar, a technology startup focused on democratizing gaming content, announced a partnership with TikTok to allow Allstar to engage its partner’s international audience, allowing users to directly sign into the gaming platform using their TikTok credentials. “Many gamers lack the resources to produce and share their greatest in-game moments,” said Allstar CEO Nick Cuomo. “What makes the TikTok platform so special is how easy it allows its users to participate as content creators. Together, we aim to empower more of that activity in the gaming space, helping current and prospective creators share and connect with their audiences.”

Esports Technologies is adding Rocket League to the roster of games available for wagering on its international consumer platform, Gogawi.com. Other titles currently in the docket include CS:GO, League of Legends, Dota 2, StarCraft 2 Rainbow Six, Warcraft 3, King of Glory and FIFA. Aaron Speach, CEO, Esports Technologies, said, “Our goal is to provide our customers with the best experiences. We’re always looking for new games or other opportunities for people to wager on. While Rocket League might look like complete and utter chaos to the casual viewer, industry veterans know it is a skill-based, highly competitive matchmaking game.”

Gen.G is moving its NBA 2K League franchise, the Gen.G Tigers of Shanghai, to the University of Kentucky ahead of the league’s upcoming 2021 season. The team will now practice and compete from the Federal Credit Union Esports Lounge at the university. “We’ve forged an incredible global relationship with the University of Kentucky, so it’s only natural for our 2K League team to train and compete on the campus of the nation’s winningest college basketball program,” said Chris Park, CEO of Gen.G.

Hawks Talon Gaming announced the creation of their new Gaming House for the upcoming NBA 2K League regular season. Located on fifth floor of the State Farm Arena and boding floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook downtown Atlanta, Hawks Talon will use this specially designed Gaming House for team practices and remote competition. As part of this announcement, the Hawks have formally shared that Janice Koon, who worked previously as the Vice President of G League Operations overseeing the College Park Skyhawks, has officially added responsibilities to lead Hawks Talon Gaming.

E3 confirmed a slat of companies who will be showcasing their offerings at this year’s digital event, running June 12-15. The all-virtual confab will include Square Enix, Sega, Bandai Namco Entertainment, Xseed Games/Marvelous USA, Inc., Gearbox Entertainment, Freedom Games, Devious Eye Entertainment, Turtle Beach, Verizon and Binge.com. “E3 2021 is set to continue its legacy as the premier video game industry event as we add new publishers, sponsors and partners” said Stanley Pierre-Louis, President & CEO of the ESA. “We can’t wait to share more details about this virtual event for audiences around the globe.” Previously confirmed E3 partners include Nintendo, Xbox, Capcom, Ubisoft, Take-Two Interactive and Warner Bros. Games.

Meanwhile, EA Play Live is making a return, this time in July rather than near E3 2021. Taking place on July 22, showcasing the company’s IPs with reveals and updates.

Industry vets from Riot Games, PUBG and other studios raised $3.million in seed funding to launch new studio Hidden Leaf Games. The Hidden Leaf design team is led by legendary game designer Steve ‘Guinsoo’ Feak, whose custom Warcraft III map DotA: All Stars “birthed the MOBA genre and inspired smash hits League of Legends, DOTA 2, and more.” Global venture capital firm, Lightspeed Venture Partners is leading the round, with strategic investors Vermillion Ventures, Logan Margulies (early Riot Games leader), Eden Chen (CEO – Pragma) and Alex Paley (VP of Product – Scopely) joining the round.

The Greater Raleigh Esports Local Organizing Committee, a group of civic, sports, and business leaders supporting the growth of esports and gaming activities, unveiled an innovative, augmented reality (AR) public art mural in the city, spearheaded Subnation Media and funded through a gift from Red Hat and the Downtown Raleigh Alliance. The mural titled “8-bit to 5G” features interactive, AR elements powered by Omniscape technology by Raleigh-based Transmira Inc., that will enable the community to engage with the artwork and includes a collage of characters, graphics, hardware, and other elements that represent a multitude of game genres and titles played, watched, and made in Greater Raleigh.


GameSquare Esports is adding skateboarder, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Tony Hawk as a special advisor to its roster. Hawk will act as a special advisor to CEO Justin Kenna and the GameSquare group of companies as the Company pursues its mission of bridging the gap between global brands and the large gaming and esports communities. “Tony is an amazing person that is an iconic brand by his own right,” said Justin Kenna, CEO of GameSquare. “We are humbled that Tony is willing to share his experiences in business, entertainment, sports, video games, and digital media with our leadership team as we grow GameSquare into an iconic esports company. We have incredible people with amazing professional experience, and I look forward to working with Tony to accelerate our growth and our progress. In many ways, Tony represents the best of what we do at GameSquare; he is highly sought after by global brands and resonates with an influential group of fans, enthusiasts and professionals, Tony bridges the gap between brands and fans in an authentic way and has been doing it successfully, and with integrity, for decades.”

2021 State of Media & TV Upfronts Report is here!
Check out what we discovered on expectations + insights on the upfront markets…

Here’s a peak at what we found:
-Industry is split on preferring a calendar year vs. summer media buying season.
-Nearly 1/2 of industry execs say they are seeing budgets for live linear TV shifting to other outlets.
-Even faced with many challenges, media execs see a wide range of business opportunities.



1998: Gran Turismo is first released in the US.

What is the fewest amount of moves possible to get a checkmate in chess? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
What movie, starring such names as Sean Penn, Forest Whitaker and Jennifer Jason Leigh, did last week’s arcade scene take place in? Answer: Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Kudos (feeling generous): Barbara Capella Loehr-Equal Opportunity Publications/NY; Rob Casalaina-ITN/NY; Luke Watson-Entertaining Concepts/NY; Phyllis McQuillan-MSG Networks/NY; C.J. Bottitta-Big Picture Productions/Apex; Heather Allen-WWE Corporation/Stamford; Matt Deprey-C-SPAN/DC: Matt Sautter-WideOrbit/Harrisburg; Mike Seidel-CSI Sports/Jersey City; Rob Felton-Threadbird/Orlando; Patrick McOwen-effectv/Horsham; Creed Heilskov-ImOn Communications/Cedar Rapids; Brian Lee-Pro Sports MVP/Colorado Springs; Jacob Ullman-FOX Sports/LA; Andy Babb-Super League Gaming/Santa Monica; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG•AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank; Jen Morton/LA

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