06/29/17: SLG gets Nicked; Rocket League hits the X Games; Battlegrounds gets the spoils

It’s Thursday June 29, 2017 and this is your weekly early morning eSports & Gaming brief.

Investors continue to target Super League Gaming, which announced a slew of new partners this week, bringing aboard $15 million in Series C funding from companies that include Nickelodeon, DMG Entertainment, Toba Capital, and multiple traditional professional sports team owners including Jeffrey Vinik, owner of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, and aXiomatic. The new round of funds brings that tally over $28 million, with earlier participation from investors including Cinemark USA, Inc., ET Capital and Quadrant Management. Founded in 2014, Super League has now hosted more than 30,000 kids in friendly competition over six seasons of play. (See our interview with Super League Gaming CEO Ann Hand in our featured Q&A section below.)
“We are excited to enter the world of esports through our relationship with Super League, which has a loyal and growing fan base of kids,” said Matthew Evans, Executive Vice President of Digital and New Business, Nickelodeon. “Nickelodeon is interested in esports because gaming is an important passion point for kids today, and forging this partnership with Super League puts us at the forefront of where kids will be playing next.” “
“In my career in professional sports, the most exciting thing is the energy and enthusiasm that fans show for their city’s teams,” said Jeff Vinik, owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning. “Go to any Super League event, and you will see the same energy of players and fans cheering for their city’s team that we see in the NHL.”

Meanwhile, FACEIT is partnering with ESPN’s X Games to launch the FACEIT X Games Rocket League Invitational, a new esports competition taking place within the X Games festival village at X Games Minneapolis. A prize pool of $75000 will be on the line with competition running July 14-16 and streamed on ESPN3 and additional platforms. “The FACEIT X Games Rocket League Invitational is the perfect marriage of FACEIT’s esports expertise and X Games’ history of introducing new sports to viewers around the world,” said Kevin Lopes, Director, ESPN Programming and Acquisitions. “Rocket League is uniquely suited to be a great competition for sports and gaming fans alike to enjoy.”

Paris is set to play host to the EU LCS finals, joining Boston which will be the home of its North American LCS counterpart at TD Garden, according to Riot. Europe’s finals will take place at AccorHotels Arena in the city on Sept. 2-3.

ESL is reportedly laying off at least 20 people, according to Slingshot, with cuts affecting – but not limited to – TV production and graphics departments. The company told the site that “ESL is realigning resources and expanding its organization to drive innovation in the esports market, including creating opportunities in original programming, strengthening our in-game capabilities, and expanding our brand globally. As part of that process, some people will be leaving the company. This reflects an adjustment of our internal organization and is a step towards preparing ESL for the future ahead, and will not affect the quality of productions such as ESL One Cologne.”

Hi-Rez Studios punched its ticket to Dreamhack Valencia, which runs July 13th-16th. The company announced that the event will see the first ever Console Wars tournament as top Xbox and PlayStation players from around the world compete in Paladins. In addition, the publisher will serve up the very first tournament for turn based strategy game Hand of the Gods: SMITE Tactics for $7,500. The champions from NA and EU will each face an opponent that qualifies at Dreamhack. Prize pools include $150,000 for SMITE’s Pro League Summer Finals, and an addition $50,000 for the title’s Console League Summer Finals. The Paladins Summer Preimer will dangle $100,000 for players.

Ubisoft’s Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Pro League will see the Season Finals hit GamesCom in the ESL Arena in Cologne from Aug. 25-26. The Pro League will also arrive in Asia-Pacific for Season 3 this September with players in four Eastern regions competing in Japan, South Korea, Southeast Asia and Australia–New Zealand. This season will see the top-placing teams in Asia-Pacific, European, Latin American and North American regions face off in the second edition of the Six Invitational, from Feb 16-18 in Montreal.

Mass Luminosity – parent company of PC gamer social media network GTribe – is now launching the world’s “first professional gaming league for PC gamers”, dubbed the Cyberathlete Professional League. The org is endorsed by Logitech G and will see Mike Wardwell serve as commissioner. “We are thrilled to have this group of visionaries join our team at Mass Luminosity, to assist us on the launch of this global Esports endeavor for casual gamers,” said Angel Munoz, CEO at Mass Luminosity. “We are also pleased to have the GTribe engine power this new experience, both on the web and on mobile devices, and look forward to announcing more details of this exciting new experience soon.”

Blizzard’s upcoming Overwatch League detailed plans to launch a scouting report for team owners that will spotlight the game’s best players in the world. League Commissioner Nate Nanzer released a letter on Tuesday stating that an email survey was sent to select players around the world who can opt to be included in the scouting relay featuring players that scored a top-500 finish in Competitive Play in Overwatch Seasons 3 or 4 for any region; a playoff finish in recent high-profile tournaments; and other factors, including membership on an established professional Overwatch team. “From the day the Overwatch League was conceived, it has been important to us to build a robust ecosystem that will support and grow competitive Overwatch —now, and into the future,” said Nanzer.
Intel and ESL announced that the Intel Extreme Masters circuit will return to Oracle Arena for the second year in a row on Nov. 18-19 and serve as the fourth stop on the Intel Grand Slam tour. The line-up of the top eight CS:GO teams invited to compete at IEM Oakland includes FaZe Clan and Astralis. Four additional teams will qualify through a series of online and offline qualifiers that are open to European and North American teams.

Mobile title Color Switch is partnering with Skillz to get into esports. “The creation of organizations such as the NFL and NBA began with games that were the most popular of their time,” said Andrew Paradise, CEO and founder of Skillz. “Today, Color Switch is one of the most popular games in history, and with this partnership, we’re excited for it to transcend gaming to become a sport for millions of players and spectators around the world to enjoy.”

Source: Newzoo

Minute Media announced the launch of its newest brand and esports platform, DBLTAP. The initiative will serve up interactive, short-form esports video and editorial content along with tournament highlights and exclusive access courtesy of partnerships with ESL, ELeague, DreamHack and Fnatic. DBLTAP has been in soft launch mode for the last few months and has already reached traffic in excess of 3 million monthly unique users organically, curating and distributing more than 60 pieces of content each day.
ReKTGlobal detailed plans to launch three new ventures for the esports business community; ReKTVenues, ReKTLive and ReKTMedia, “designed to help bridge the gap between the multi-billion-dollar business of traditional sports and the burgeoning business of esports and competitive gaming.” The parent company’s new corporate website, www.rektglobal.com, provides a hub for esports solutions from corporate consultation and creative services, to community-based events, content and programs for professional sports and mixed purpose venues, as well as job placement and university scholarship matching.
YouTube Red announced that Good Game, a new scripted series from Dan Harmon’s Starburns Industries that follows the lives of an esports team vying to move up the ladder, will debut on Aug. 30 on the platform. The series stars Game Grumps’ Dan Avidan and Arin Hanson as well as Michele Morrow.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds continues to blaze trails as one of gaming’s hottest new properties with Bluehole reporting that the title has generated $100 million in revenue and sold more than four million copies since its Early Access launch in March. The title has drawn a player base that includes 24% from the US, with 19% in China, 6% in Germany, 6% in Russia and 4% in the U.K. In addition, it has peaked at 230,000 concurrent users on Steam with more than 100,000 sessions being played daily. The game will be launching exclusively on Xbox One in late 2017, with the final version launching in early 2018 across the Xbox One family of devices.
ESL is teaming with The University of York for a “world-first collaboration to make industry-aligned teaching and research for esports a reality.” The partnership will see the university program tailored to the esports industry via three key goals:
  • Teaching – ESL will hold regular masterclasses with University of York students, including workshops and taster days. The University of York is committed to aligning its teaching offerings with the needs of the industry, while also offering BSc & MSc dissertations on esports. ESL and the University of York are co-designing an elective module on esports content production as a third year, credit-bearing module, aiming to launch Autumn 2018.
  • Research – Alongside a substantial investment by DC Labs in research into future innovations in the esports industry, the collaboration will see PhD internships take place through the Intelligent Games and Game Intelligence PhD program and Digital Creativity Labs. Pioneering esports research already explored by DC Labs investigates areas including AI, human-computer interaction, interactive storytelling, data visualization, game analytics, behavioral psychology and more.
  • Careers – ESL internships will provide hands-on experience for outstanding undergraduate students, while industry placements will be available for selected PhD students.
Superdata released its study “Payment Preferences of Digital Gamers: Global Payment Methods and Brands,” reporting that 83% of US PC or Mac gamers choose their preferred payment method because it is easy to use. According to SuperData, North America has the highest market share of eWallet and credit/debit card payments, accounting for a combined 76.8% of North American digital game transactions, compared to a global average of 55.4%.
Ubisoft’s founding Guillemot family is again beefing up its shares in the company as it stymies a potential takeover bid from Vivendi, according to Reuters. The report states that the Guillemots now boast 13.6% of Ubisoft shares, with control of 20.02% of voting rights, up from 9% of share capital a year ago. Meanwhile, Vivendi holds 27% of Ubisoft’s share capital and 24.5% of voting rights.
Nintendo confirmed plans to release a SNES Classic console on Sept. 29. The retro-themed system will cost $80 and feature a lineup of 21 Super Nintendo titles, including Super Mario World, Super Mario Kart, Super Metroid and an unreleased version of Star Fox 2. “While many people from around the world consider the Super NES to be one of the greatest video game systems ever made, many of our younger fans never had a chance to play it,” said Doug Bowser, Nintendo of America’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “With the Super NES Classic Edition, new fans will be introduced to some of the best Nintendo games of all time, while longtime fans can relive some of their favorite retro classics with family and friends.”
Millennial Esports entered into a binding term sheet to acquire the business of IDEAS+CARS Ltd., which focuses on the esports racing environment. Meanwhile, Darren Cox, the principal of IDEAS+CARS, will enter into a three-year agreement with Millennial Esports to act as Chief Marketing Officer of the Company as well as Managing Director of Millennial Esports Europe.

A big week for HyperX, which not only lined up new partnerships and activations, but marked a milestone as well. The company is celebrating is 10-year anniversary as a partner with SK Gaming, marking one of the longest in esports. “It is the blueprint of a mutually beneficial partnership. HyperX provides our players with high-quality memory and peripherals, and over the years we gave valuable input for the development of HyperX eSports gaming gear,” said Alexander Müller, SK Gaming’s managing director. “We were one of the first teams to be sponsored by HyperX. They not only have supplied us with high speed memory and SSDs, but now our teams proudly bring into action HyperX FPS Alloy keyboards and Fury S mousepads in the biggest tournaments around the world.”

Meanwhile, HyperX also announced plans to host a Microsoft Store fan event with Celtics’ player Jonas Jerebko and the Detroit Renegades at the Somerset Collection Microsoft Store near Detroit on July 9. Fans can face off against Jonas and the Renegades for a chance to win new HyperX gaming gear. In addition, the company signed on to become the official keyboard sponsor of PGL CS:GO Major Krakow 2017.
After more than 196,000 votes, Bud Light unveiled its 2017 Bud Light All-Stars – JWong (Street Fighter), Scump (Call of Duty), RUSH (Counter Strike: Global Offensive), and Hafu (Hearthstone). Today will see the brand host a special 8-hour stream with all four players on its Twitch channel, each Bud All-Star will stream for two hours, beginning at 5p where they will reward fans watching by putting 2 Million Bits, along with other prizes up for grabs. Starting Thursday and running through December, one of the four players will stream from the channel during the Bud Light Happy Hour.
McDonald’s is stepping up as a sponsor for the StarCraft 2 World Championship (WCS) eSports Series in Australia, according to AdNews. The deal is limited to the region, but includes s naming, on-ground activations, content integration and branding for activations linked to the event.
Astralis announced a partnership with Turtle Beach that will see its CS:GO squad use the brand’s Elite Pro headset as their official gaming headset. In addition, the team will be involved in the future development of a new line of PC gaming headsets.
Red Bull Media House is reportedly ending its sponsor ties with Cloud9 and Team SoloMid due to a conflict of interest with Riot Games regulations, according to from ESPN. Riots’ sale of sponsorship rule states that a company cannot own and operate a League of Legends team and sponsor another at the same time, with Red Bull GmbH owning and operating the European Challenger Series squad Red Bulls.
Electronic Arts unveiled the first look at EA SPORTS NHL 18 to hockey fans at the 2017 NHL Awards and NHL Expansion Draft last week, revealing that Oilers center and Art Ross Trophy winner Connor McDavid will serve as the athlete on the game’s cover. “Representing NHL 18 as the cover athlete is an incredible honor,” said Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers®. “I’ve played EA SPORTS NHL every year since I was kid. To appear on the cover, something that has been done previously by so many players that I respect and admire, is very exciting. I can’t wait to play NHL 18.”
POWER PLAYERS – Ann Hand, Super League Gaming

Fresh off of a new round of funding, combined with record participants for its events, what’s next for Super League Gaming? Cynopsis Esports caught up with Super League Gaming CEO Ann Hand to talk about the evolution of the company and what we can expect in the year ahead.
Hand on her time at the company: Early on, my first reaction to being offered the job, was to reflect on how much the industry has blown up and change over the last 10 years. I wondered if I would be able to identify and understand all of these passionate players. So early on, it was about going to all of these Super League events, and you see how engaged the gamers are there, from our little Minecraft kids and their parents who are entering the theater and cheering them on to our LoL players. The same way that traditional sports people come in and root for their traditional hometown team, all those things are true for the esports landscape as well.
On goals: For 2016, the big focus was on establishing the city leagues and teams and locking in our big IP deals with Riot and Microsoft. As we moved into 2017, it became about the city footprint expansion. When we first announced, we had four cities in November of last year, and we are now in 12 cities but will be in 16 by year end. We also intend to plant a couple of flags internationally because the idea was always to make this an international league of time. In addition, it was important for us to build out this community platform that we’ve created. What the world has seen is us activating one note of many off of this platform. For example, everything that we can do off-line at our live events, we can also facilitate through online tournament play. That’s why with the second season, we’ll have an online qualifier to find the best players in a wider metro area with the best of the best invited to compete. So there are many ways we can leverage this platform to reach a wider audience.
On content: A big module of this platform is a broadcasting/streaming module, while another offers a social/community aspect. You can see by the nature of the investors coming in this round, our content has captured the attention of a lot of companies that want to get closer to social gamers. The quality of this fresh hyper-local content that’s being created at these events combined with the diversity of the players we are bringing together and the richness of their stories, all of these are assets we bring to the table.
On other future plans: We feel that interscholastic is a huge opportunity for us. We are activating these local city venues and so we are really well teed up when you think about all the Minecraft afterschool clubs, high school League of Legends competitions and invitationals and even getting into scholarship showcases. Those are all very active programs that we are right now defining and will be piloting in the Sept./Oct timeframe at all of those different scholastic levels. The other big thing as we move into new geographies will be to start creating a wider fleet of games.
Entries are NOW Open!
The 5th Annual Cynopsis Digital Model D & It List Awards:
Honoring the best in online video, content, advertising, talent, and digital media’s movers and shakers.

ON THIS DAY in 1982: Universal Studios files a lawsuit against Nintendo of America claiming
that Donkey Kong violates the copyright to King Kong.
Trivia: This celebrity scored two of the five best-selling videogames in 2000 with Pro Skater and Pro Skater 2 ranking second and third on sales charts for the year. Who was he? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What is the name of Sonic’s nemesis, pictured above? (Either one will do…) Answer: Dr. Robotnik or Eggman. Kudos: Chris Davies-Virgin/London; Luke Watson-Essential TV/NY; Scott Jenkins-Gracenote/NY; Lindsey Bradley-THREE/NY; Ted Dresdner-Nickelodeon/NY; Glen Ross/DC; Daniel Hanson/Vail; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA

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JOB OPENING: MGR RESEARCH & ANALYTICS/SPE/NY: Sales & Programming support, Consumer/Industry insights for SPT Ad Sales. Exp. In TV Research, Nielsen & MS systems. Resume & cover HERE (7/14)

JOB OPENING: VP, CULTURE & CREATIVE INSIGHTS/VELOCITY/NYC: Lead cross-disciplinary working teams dedicated to dvlpng specific project deliverables.10+ yrs consulting, strategy, rsrch, mktg/advertising (acct mngmnt or brand plan’g w/5 yrs mngmnt exp.) Great interest for mentoring jr employees. Full info/apply HERE (7/14)

JOB OPENING: INTEGRATED MKTG MGR/ONE SOLUTION /NYC: Work on strategic/creative dvlpmnt/mngmnt of revenue-generating mktg solutions for clients. Respond to RFP, RFI and general Sales Requests. Min 5-7 yrs at agency media co or sales/mktg organization w/cross-platform exp. Radio exp a +. Full info/apply HERE  (7/14)

JOB OPENING: DIRECTOR AD SALES MARKETING/Discovery/LA: Lead Ad Sales Marketing team, managing concept through execution of Auto/Studio/Tech custom solutions, sponsorships, and value earned marketing opportunities across all platforms. Must have proven managerial experience. 8-10 yrs mktg exp. APPLY (7/14)

AD SALES ASSISTANT/Crown Media Family Networks/NY: Provide support to Ad Sales by working W/Acct Execs to srvc clients. Including sales orders, move requests and media schedules. Detail oriented w/orgnzt’l skills to keep efficient work sched. BS or 2 yrs exp. req. Full info/apply HERE (7/13)

SR AD SALES PLANNER/SBGTV/NYC: Provide support for all aspects of the ad sales process. A team-player mentality & ability to work under pressure meeting deadlines for clients a must. BA deg & min 2-3yrs Sales exp related field or industry req’d. Media math skills a must. Full info/apply HERE (7/13)

JOB OPENING: SR DIRECTOR MARKETING/NBCU/NYC: Lead strategic development & mgmt. of division wide initiatives & tent pole events. Full info/apply HERE (7/13)

SUPERVISING PRODUCER/PRODUCERS/NYC: Exp producing live video in high-pressure environment, searching for trending topics in real time, scripting, booking, overseeing mult segments in hour-long show. News/current events focused role. Short-term in NYC kicking off early July. Email resumes HERE (7/13) 
JOB OPENING: VP PRODUCTION/Bounce/ATL: Sprvse all operational aspects of orig prod; draft prod plans & scheds; oversee MMB budgets throughout prod. Oversee all audit req’s; provide notes on prod concepts  Min 7 yrs TV prod req’d; advance knwlg of Movie Magic Budgeting & Scheduling. Email resume to [email protected] (7/13) 

DEVELOPMENT REALITY TV EXEC: LA-based reality producer seeking dev exec. Must have 2-3 years reality development, casting or agency experience, strong written and verbal communication skills, and understanding of network brands. Send resume and references to [email protected] (7/13)

JOB OPENING: COOR., CONS MKTG & ADV/Showtime/NYC: Assist team in development and execution of mktg campaigns for SHO Series/Docs/Events. 1-2 yrs con mktg and/or ad agency exp req. Passion for TV & digital a must. Apply HERE (7/13)

JOB OPENING: MGR, PROGRAMMING RESEARCH/IFC TV/NY: 5+ yrs TV rsrch exp. Prod in-depth aud analyses to help IFC create the most compelling scheduling & promo strategy. Identify effective platforms/prgrms for promo placement (incl cross-ntwrk barter), leveraging ratings, demographic, etc. Full info/apply HERE (7/12

JOB OPENING: ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE/MARATHON VENTURES: Opportunity to join fast-growing, team-oriented leader in national direct response TV ad sales. Must combine complex data analysis with strong sales skills and attention to detail. Resumes: [email protected] (7/12)

JOB OPENING: RESEARCH ANALYST/MUSIC CHOICE/NYC: Resp for day-to-day ad sales research support, generate and distribute audience usage data via Nielsen/ComScore as well as custom ad-hoc audience reports and ad effectiveness studies. BA degree, minimum 3 yrs applicable experience. Direct Job Post: HERE (7/12)
JOB OPENING: DIRECT RESPONSE AD SALES ASSISTANT/Crown Media Family Networks/NY: Provide sales support to the Director, Direct Response and Direct Response Team. Process media buys/revisions, sending pre and post logs, and updating account info. BS req. Apply HERE (7/12)

SUMMER INTERNSHIP CREDITS ONLY: MARKETING INTERNSHIP/Long Is City: For established fine art shipping co. to work on mktg initiative; mng mktg lists/ database contacts. Knowledge of e-mail blasts, MS off, CRM programs. Stipend for commuting + lunch. Skills must inc: Photo Shop & PP. Cvr/res: HERE (7/12)

Create and lead a team of Esports video editors to edit, write, storyboard, and otherwise make full use of the video highlights and behind the scenes access our partnerships provide us.
ESports Video Editor
Minute Media
Working closely with the Product and Design team to achieve the best technical solutions and bringing designs to life.
Senior Front End Developer
Minute Media
Identify audio opportunities and asset needs in Valve commercial and promotional products in a self-driven but collaborative manner.
Sound Designer
Bellevue WA
Join a world-class group of electrical, mechanical, software engineers and designers who are busily defining new entertainment experiences through both hardware and software.
Industrial Designer
Bellevue WA
Work with our team of audio designers and programmers to design, prototype, and implement new audio features.
Audio Programmer
Turtle Rock Studios
Lake Forest CA
Maintain and improve build pipeline for all our game projects across all platforms.
Release Engineer
Turtle Rock Studios
Lake Forest CA
Proof incoming job requests via Workfront and convert them into projects.
Creative Service Project Manager
Bandai Namco Entertainment
Santa Clara CA
Forecasting targets: drives input on KPI targets for user acquisition, engagement and retention for existing and upcoming products.
Mobile Product Marketing Manager
Bandai Namco Entertainment
Santa Clara CA
Manage the Creative team to develop compelling game trailers, developer’s diaries, gameplay overviews, and other creative videos to drive customer acquisitions.
Senior Director of Marketing
Perfect World Entertainment
San Jose CA
Interact with the NBA in helping identify and define the requirements necessary to successfully launch and support this exciting new initiative.
ESports Producer – NBA 2K ESports League
Visual Concepts
Novato CA
Work with the in-house team and coordinate with the outsourcing partners to meet milestone deadlines.
Art Outsourcing Manager
Perfect World Entertainment
San Jose CA
Facilitate, drive and help manage the QA team’s execution of test plans and ad hoc requests.
Senior Technical QA
San Diego CA
Help evangelize and facilitate the sharing of successful graphics approaches from the game projects across Rockstar’s studios.
Senior Graphics Programmer
San Diego CA
Ensure that all character art assets are built in accordance with the game style, are technically sound, and completed on schedule.
Senior Character Artist
Daybreak Games
San Diego CA
Seeking software engineers with experience in game-play systems including AI behavior trees and animation control logic.
AI Software Engineer
Visual Concepts
Los Angeles CA

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