Good morning! This is your weekly Esports Brief.
Dignitas launched a new platform, “_FE”,
dedicated to “championing opportunities and education for females in gaming.” Over the next three months, _FE will launch a collection of resources designed to advance opportunities for women in gaming and provide aspiring female gamers with tools to become tomorrow’s superstars. _FE’s platform will include initiatives such that include: Industry Town Halls Addressing Significant Matters Affecting Females in Gaming; a Community Website Devoted to Housing Relevant Female Gaming Content, Including Calendars of Female Gaming Competitions, Resources, Announcements and Media Coverage; Complimentary, Virtual Educational Seminars for Aspiring Professional Female Gamers and Streamers in Content Creation, Social Media and Media Training, Brand Analysis and More; Female and Co-Ed Competitions; and more. The new initiative will be led by Dignitas’ Vice President of Talent, Heather “sapphiRe” Garozzo.
“As a former professional player, broadcaster and now executive, I’ve witnessed the significant growth of females in gaming over my 20 years in the industry,” said Garozzo. “Despite a significant increase in female gamers, streamers and fans, there is still a lack of representation in media, on live streams and in competition. Through our _FE platform, we look forward to building a diverse community of passionate female gamers, and providing educational resources both for casual and competitive gamers and streamers to broaden their reach and expand their brand.”
Gears of War cemented its 2020 esports plans,
with UMG beings awarded an expanded partnership from The Coalition to oversee management and operations for the upcoming official season of Gears Esports, kicking off the new season for North and Latin America in September; managing the day-to-day competition platform supporting the esports series, and delivering the live streaming experience for the competition on UMG.TV and Twitch.tv/UMGGaming. UMG will also handle management for the Pro League, Major Events (similar to the recently completed finals) and Weekly Challenger competitions. The upcoming season will feature a Pro League of 12 teams from North America and Latin America. There will be three total splits and each team will play in the Pro League streamed by UMG twice a week. Additionally, UMG will run weekly competitions on the platform for amateur players.
The 2020 League of Legends World Championship locked in its dates, according to Tencent, booking Sept. 25 for the endgame to begin in Shanghai and running through Oct. 31 when the Summoner’s Cup will be awarded. The play-in stage spans Sept. 25-30. Group Stage Round 1 takes place from Oct. 3-6, with Stage 2 set for Oct. 8-11. The four-day quarterfinal round is slated to launch Oct. 15, while the semifinals will be played Oct. 24-25.
The International 10 is already setting records, announcing that its prize pool has already topped last year’s record tally of $34,330,068 and more Battle Pass rewards still on deck that will continue to pump money into the numbers for the Dota 2 event. Of course, the status of when the tournament will actually take place remains up in the air due to the pandemic.
PUBG Mobile unveiled its upcoming esports plans, anchored by a $2 million global esports event in November. The PUBG Mobile Global Championship is being billed as the world’s biggest global mobile esports event with PMGC Season Zero launching in late November. “Following the success of PUBG Mobile World League Season Zero, we knew we had to come up with an idea that would raise the bar even higher and create something truly extraordinary to close out the first year of our new esports program,” said James Yang, Director of PUBG Mobile Global Esports.
EA SPORTS and the NFL mapped out a new Madden NFL 21 Championship Series competitive ecosystem, delivering “first-of-its-kind” tournament offerings, weekly sports entertainment programming, and a mix of celebrity, athlete and professional Madden NFL player involvement. MCS21 will see competitive action and entertainment every Tuesday night on Madden NFL Twitch and YouTube channels throughout the NFL season. Formats will see King of the Hill (Sept 15 – Oct 27) as two NFL athletes and two elite Madden NFL competitive gamers face off, and Derwin v. The World (Sept 15 – Dec 22) in which Derwin James (Chargers’ Safety who also doubles as one of the best Madden NFL gamers in the NFL) challenges a different celebrity or NFL athlete in a competitive match. Pizza Hut returns as an MCS sponsor. In addition, Madden NFL 21 Club Championship (Nov 10 – Feb 5) is back with competitive players representing the 32 NFL teams.
The 2020 NBA 2K League Finals Delivered by DoorDash are set to tip off on Friday with a best-of-five series between Warriors Gaming Squad and Wizards District Gaming at 7p. Both teams will be competing for $420,000 in prize money and their first-ever 2K League Championship. Games will air live on ESPN2, ESPN’s digital platforms, the NBA 2K League’s Twitch and YouTube channels, and on delay on eGG Network in Southeast Asia and Loco in India.
The DreamHack Open Fall European Regional Major Rankings Tournament is now confirmed to place October 15-25. The all-online competition will serve as a version of DreamHack’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament and will award RMR points towards the next Valve Major.
Collegiate Rocket League returns this fall, as 32 teams from Eastern and Western Conferences (16 teams in each conference) compete for $100,000 in scholastic awards and a chance to head to the CRL National Championship in January 2021. The league is partnering with PlayVS and the National Association of Collegiate Esports in introducing two CRL partner leagues and a new CRL Wildcard event taking place in December. Open Qualifiers will begin on September 20 and the official CRL broadcast begins on October 6.
Phase one of EBS 2020 has been released as a taste of what will be our best speaker lineup ever with new ways to engage, and a complete deconstruction of your usual virtual conference. Stay tuned to EsportsBizSummit.com for more information!
Pro Football Retired Players Association entered into a strategic partnership with Thunder Studios where the two orgs will collaborate to expand PFRPA’s Gridiron Gaming initiative by creating tournaments and produced content for the esports community. Thunder Studios plans to establish a Gridiron Gaming tournament series, featuring online and physical events that will be broadcast live on Twitch to a global audience.
ESL and GamingMalta entered into a “deep strategic” partnership to foster and develop the Maltese esports community. After successfully partnering for ESL Pro League Season 11 earlier this year, the partnership aims to strengthen the industry in Malta across all levels of the zero to hero pyramid of ESL. “The agreement with GamingMalta enables us to offer an amazing setting to the worldwide esports community. Malta is a progressive country with its finger on the digital pulse combined with a beautiful Mediterranean ambient which partnered with us for a phenomenal 11th season of the world’s largest professional esports league in CS:GO”, said Ralf Reichert, CEO at ESL. “We couldn’t be more excited for this partnership to bring the growth of esports and beauty even more together.”
Esports Entertainment Group signed a letter of intent to acquire the Esports Gaming League, a UK-based provider of esports events and tournaments. “At our IPO we committed to having a tournament platform up and operational before the end of the calendar year, and with this transaction, we have delivered on this commitment,” Grant Johnson, CEO of Esports Entertainment said in a statement.
As we inch closer to a possible NFL opening day, we’re investigating what esports NFL fans are most likely to follow. By a football field size lead is G2 Sports, whose premiere esport is League of Legends—arguably the most popular esport in the world right now. Brands can capitalize on this crossover audience for their advertisements and sponsorship campaigns, and use the unique insights from it to inform strategy. For more information on how FanAI’s sponsorship attribution technology can help bridge that gap, check out https://fanai.io/fanai-news/.
America’s Navy became an official partner of ESL Pro League Season 12.
The Pro League is slated to return on Sept. 2, where 24 teams will fight for the Pro League Championship in another four-week season. America’s Navy will be presenting partner of ESEA Refrag, and the partnership will feature an integrated match analysis segment called ‘The Playbook’ hosted by the Navy. “America’s Navy is excited to be a presenting partner for ESL Pro League Season 12, which will showcase the best-of-the-best gamers,”
said Rear Adm. Dennis Velez, Commander of Navy Recruiting Command.
Verizon continues to be aggressive in the esports space, now locking in a deal with Psyonix’s Rocket League Championship Series for the North American region of the series. “With rapid and fast-paced changes taking the Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS) by storm this year, we needed a partner who could stay up to speed,” reads a Psyonix blog post on the announcement, adding, “That’s why we’re proud to announce Verizon as the official 5G sponsor of the North American RLCS X. They know a thing or two about delivering consistent results as America’s most awarded network, which is why we’re excited to have them powering the North American RLCS all season long.”
Upgrade your outreach! Join speakers from ESL, The Story Mob and Sugar Gamers to learn about Digital Content Strategies for 2021 in the latest free event from the Nevada Esports Alliance at 1:30p ET on Thursday. Click here to register.
STREAM HATCHET TRENDS
In order for brands, agencies, and publishers to make strategic decisions about who to work with, they must understand who their targeted viewers watch the most. This week, Stream Hatchet analyzed TimTheTatman’s July audience to track what channels had the highest viewer overlap percentage. In essence, what channels Tim’s audience watched the most when not watching his stream.
– Every streamer listed played Call of Duty: Modern Warfare more than any other game during July. The audience was likely interested in viewing more COD content when Tim was streaming and turned to others who were playing the game.
– TimTheTatman often plays and squad streams with NICKMERCS, Symfuhny, and Cloakzy. This constant interaction is a likely factor in the high overlap percentage as the audience is familiar with these other streamers.
– TimTheTatman and NICKMERCS were the top two streamers on Twitch who primarily played Call of Duty: Modern Warfare in July. Generating the most COD content is likely a significant reason for the large overlap as viewers will likely come across their channels when looking for that type of content.
For more insights and gaming expertise, visit us online at: StreamHatchet.com/Insights
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Riot Games continues to crank up the volume
on the audio portion of the business this time cementing a partnership with Spotify to make the platform the exclusive audio streaming partner of League of Legends Esports in a multi-year partnership. The deal will focus on three of League of Legends’ biggest events, the Mid-Season Invitational, the All-Star Event, and the World Championship. With the deal, Spotify will launch a new music hub focused on LoL Esports that includes playlist and helps develop podcast series that cover its leagues in addition to producing a behind-the-scenes look at developing this year’s Worlds Anthem.
Riot also tied up a deal with theScore esports to produce an exclusive documentary chronicling the League of Legends’ European Championships. The 35-minute video, The Story of the LEC, explores the evolution of one of the largest international competitions in esports. “Riot has built the LEC into a global leader of competitive gaming,” said Aubrey Levy, VP of Content and Marketing at theScore. “We were thrilled to partner with them and apply our acclaimed esports storytelling to bring this exclusive look at the evolution of the LEC to both longtime League fans and new viewers alike.”
Allied Esports locked in a licensing agreement with GRID, a leading esports data provider, for the monetization of data and video rights to the company’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Legend Series events. The multiyear deal will launch with the VIE.gg CS:GO Legend Series tournament beginning Aug. 31. Through the agreement, which also includes options to add supplementary programming from Allied Esports, GRID’s proprietary data solution will be directly integrated into Legend Series events to deliver real-time, official data to regulated bookmakers and sports betting platforms. The partnership, along with the licensing and sponsorship deal with naming rights partner VIE.gg, marks the first time Allied Esports will offer the use of data and video rights for the enhancement of regulated consumer betting.
Gamers Outreach is partnering with charity fundraising platform Softgiving on a campaign to provide entertainment to families receiving care. The two organizations are teaming with Fade 2 Karma in a new fundraising event that will run through early Sept. “Softgiving has always focused on engaging the gaming community to help nonprofits raise funds in creative and innovative ways,” said Softgiving Founder and CEO Matt Pfaltzgraf. “We know gaming brings communities together — so with this partnership, we will be able to help Gamers Outreach continue to help aid the healing process through video games. The streaming community has already proven how passionate they are about helping children, so we look forward to using our technology and partnership to positively impact this cause.”
Sponsored Content: Ross Innovations in Esports | A Customer Case Study
Ross Live | 2020 esports week featured a live case study presentation featuring James Dean, Founder and CEO at ESL UK, and Andrew Wagnitz, Director of Broadcast and Technology at Next Generation Esports (NGE). Cameron Reed, Esports Business Development Manager with Ross Video, sat down with James and Andrew to discuss how esports productions have been able to achieve “more with less”. The group also discussed how the industry has had to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic and where esports is headed in the future. Click here to see the results.
FaZe Clan saw Philadelphia 76ers forward Ben Simmons buy in
as the organization’s newest investor. Simmons, also now officially known as FaZe Simmo
, will be an ambassador to the organization for content as well as an advocate for gaming and esports and the expansion of FaZe Clan globally. “Gaming is an important part of my life, and so it was a natural progression to personally invest in this industry,” said Simmons. “FaZe Clan represents the pinnacle of the gaming culture, and I am really looking forward to connecting with new fans around the globe.”
NRG Esports is partnering with digital media company Shots Studios, which will help the org with content production and merchandising. Deal points include online clothing site Lil Shop becoming an official retailer of NRG’s merchandise. In addition, the studio will also help create original content for the team’s social media platforms.
Panda Global became the first team to unveil a pro squad for Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout, naming the crew Fall Pandas. The team is captained by Zak “CONEY” Zeeks.
Tempo Storm announced the expansion of its merch line
with a new collection that will explore “streaming, gaming, and internet culture with artists that have inspired the Tempo team.” The first collaboration will kick off with designs from Andre Rojas, (a.k.a. SrGrafo), one of the most popular artists on Reddit. All net profits from sales will be donated to The Thurgood Marshall College Fund, “Since we’ve been expanding and evolving our brand, we wanted to release an apparel collection that our fans haven’t experienced before,” said Ryan Wagner, Tempo’s Brand Manager. “And with all of the current events happening in our socio-political environment, it was important for us to support an organization like the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to help advocate for our vulnerable communities and end systemic racism.”
FaZe Clan’s Kris “SWAGG” Lamberson released his first-ever merchandise collection. The collection includes a t-shirt, long sleeve tee, hoodie, girls crop hoodie, sweatpants, hat and mask, all ranging from $15 to $65.
Champion Athleticwear launched a Gamer Collection that “incorporates features and benefits that address the specific needs of esports athletes, casual gamers and fans everywhere.” Through this collection, Champion is partnering with a coalition of influential esports teams, brands and influencers including HyperX, Dignitas, VENN, PlayVS, the Esports Awards, and influencers FaZe Pamaj, Nate Hill and FaZe Blaze to celebrate the new Gamer Collection. The company states that its design team worked closely with gamers and athletes to find the ideal blend of streetwear, comfort and functionality.
Overwatch League franchise Philadelphia Fusion named Herman Miller as its official gaming chair partner and the brand will now provide the team’s players with its newly-released Embody Gaming Chair.
Fortnite pro Turner “Tfue” Tenney and former team home FaZe Clan
reportedly locked in a settlement and will now amicably part ways, according to THR. Tenney in May 2019 sued FaZe Clan in L.A. County Superior Court and claimed that his gamer agreement was “oppressive” and that the organization violates California’s Talent Agencies Act. The team countersued in New York claiming Tfue breached his contract by suing in the wrong forum, failed to pay commissions and was trying to poach his former teammates to launch a rival organization. Tenney’s attorney Bryan Freedman on Wednesday sent The Hollywood Reporter the parties’ joint statement, reading “FaZe Clan and Turner Tenney are pleased to announce that they have resolved their disputes and settled their litigations,” it reads. “The parties wish one another the best of luck in future endeavors.”
During the Tencent Global Esports Summit, Tencent Esports announced franchising partners that reportedly include Razer, ASUS, SKG, apparel company Kappa, and Canadian coffee house chain Tim Hortons. Among the deals, Tim Hortons will look to establish a Tencent Esports-themed restaurant, the first of which will open in Shanghai in November.
Unity is going public, filing a prospectus for investors with the SEC for the IPO to occur sometime in 2020. “We at Unity are proud of our Create and Operate Solutions and how they solve the toughest engineering and data problems for our customers,” said CEO John Riticello. “These are leading and bleeding edge challenges. We see every day how our Create and Operate tools enable aspiring creators to not only be consumers of technology but creators of advanced technology products like games and cloud-based simulation systems that leverage our technologies. We love that we enable technology creators to get their start. Unity’s mission is to enable more people to be creators.”
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ON THIS DAY
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Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
Name the 1986 arcade classic pictured last week. Answer: Rampage. Kudos: Scott Jenkins-Gracenote/NY; Danny Araque/NY; Joey Olson-Lowes/DC; Glen Ross/Richmond; Jason Morrow-Toyota/Houston; David Westberg-SAG•AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA;
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ENTERTAINMENT LAWYER >>
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