08/30/18: Stadium is diving deep into esports with a new deal with ESP Gaming

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It’s Thursday August 30, 2018 and this is your weekly early morning Esports briefing. For additional longer-form esports news plus jobs, a team directory, glossary, calendar and data, check out our new esports hub updated daily: http://cynopsisesports.com.

Sports network Stadium is plugging into a bigger esports game, inking a deal with ESP Gaming for a programming development deal that will see Stadium create esports content for the multi-platform sports network. The partnership, which runs through 2019, will bring original esports programming to fans across Stadium platforms for the first time, adding to the network’s lineup of live games, studio programming and original programming. The deal will see ESP Gaming and Stadium develop premium, esports-focused content that spans a wide range of genres and formats, including, but not limited to, live events, reality, news, documentaries and talk shows. In addition to televising the original programming live nationally via Stadium’s over-the-air channel, fans will be able to watch free on Stadiums digital platforms.
“Stadium has built an incredible distribution network that’s able to reach new audiences on a wide variety of platforms, which is instrumental when catering to young, digital-first fans of esports,” said JR McCabe, chief digital officer of ESP Gaming. “We’re excited to combine our strengths to deliver best-in-class content to one of the most passionate audiences in live sports.”


The Collegiate StarLeague hits its tenth anniversary season with expansion in mind and a record haul for the 2018-19 season. University and college teams will battle for over $175,000 – its largest ever scholarship prize pool – in scholarships this time around, vying for the crown in titles that include Fortnite, Dota 2, League of Legends, StarCraft II, CounterStrike: Global Offensive, Madden NFL 19, Super Smash Bros Ultimate, Super Smash Bros. Melee and Rocket League. Fortnite will lead the way with a pool of $42,000. Registration opened August 29, 2018, and will run until October 6 on www.cstarleague.com.

ESL laid out plans for season eight of the ESL Pro League CS:GO, returning in October with top teams in Europe, North America, Asia-Pacific and South America squaring off to earn a spot in the finals in Odense, Denmark in December. The EU and NA regionals will each offer up 14 teams playing each other twice across five weeks with three BO2s per day per region and every show day running a second stream; week 1 starts Oct. 2. The Sparekassen Fyn Arena in Odense will host the Season 8 Global Finals on December 7-9 as 16 teams compete for a $1,000,000 prize pool and a win towards the Intel Grand Slam.

Madden NFL developer Electronic Arts announced that the company has cancelled upcoming events for the Madden Championship Series, following the shootings in Jacksonville. Andrew Wilson, CEO, Electronic Arts, posted an open letter, stating that “The event was a qualifying tournament for the Madden Classic, our first Madden EA Major competition of this season.  While these qualifying events are operated independently by partners, we work with them to ensure competitive integrity and to gather feedback from players. We have made a decision to cancel our three remaining Madden Classic qualifier events while we run a comprehensive review of safety protocols for competitors and spectators. We will work with our partners and our internal teams to establish a consistent level of security at all of our competitive gaming events.”


The esports community is also stepping up to support the victims of the Jacksonville Landing tragedy. In one example, esports team OpTic Gaming is launching an initiative for the victims and their families, lining up a charity tournament for those affected by the incident. The event will take place on Aug. 31 from 2-8p CT, with all proceeds raised by the competition going towards the victims’ families.
Meanwhile, organizers of esports leagues and tournaments have been addressing the state of security at their venues following Sunday’s Jacksonville shooting. Evo unveiled plans to install metal detectors for all of the event’s dates in 2019, in addition to already using undercover law enforcement. Meanwhile, officials at Dreamhack released a statement addressing its own security measures, noting that the company’s tactics are done in consultation with law enforcement and security experts and is always “ongoing and involves all DreamHack events.” 
With The International 8 in the books, Valve surprised some fans by announcing The International 9 would be moving off of the continent entirely. The International Dota 2 world championship will be held in Shanghai, the company announced, after this year’s event was held in Vancouver, while the previous six took place in Seattle. No date for the event had been released. Meanwhile, OG Dota took the crown for The International 8, and will lay claim to over $11.2 million as their cut from the $25.4 million crowd-funded purse.
Don’t miss the biggest esports business event of the year from Oct. 1-3. Make sure to get your tickets to the Esports Business Summit, with five tracks of programming: teams/competition; media/content; sponsorship/activation; venues and investment. Plus: The Tempest Awards, killer field trips and deep-dive workshops. Click here for tickets and to catch up on all the latest news, speakers and activities now! These brands will be there – Gillette, State Farm, Dell, Amazon, HP, HyperX, Turtle Beach, Air Asia, Logitech, Intel, Buffalo Wild Wings, and more – will you?
Japanese entertainment company Akatsuki is launching a new esports league designed to be made up exclusively with established sports franchises. The League of Professional Esports will include sports brands such as: FC Barcelona (Spain),Ajax (Netherlands), Galatasaray (Turkey), Santos F.C. (Brazil), Real Sociedad (Spain) and Villarreal (Spain) and Tokyo Verdy (Japan) with the league featuring multiple game titles with league and cup matches. The inaugural season will launch in 2019 as clubs compete for a maximum $500,000 prize pool.
A new report from Newzoo and software design company Arm is projecting a surge in the growth of mobile esports due to higher interest in mobile gaming in the East and the availability of better hardware globally. In 2017, the industry brought in a total of $655 million in revenue from media rights, advertising, sponsorships, merchandise, tickets, and publisher fees, according to the report. Newzoo predicts the global industry will bring in a total of $906 million this year and $1.7 billion by 2021.
FACEIT revealed the CS:GO talent lineup that will carry the FACEIT London Major in September. The full list of talent includes some of the biggest names in CS:GO, who will offer play-by-play commentary and analysis The FACEIT London Major kicks off on Sept. 5 with the Challengers Stage at Twickenham Stadium, the New Legends stage running Sept. 12-16 and the Champions stage taking place at the SSE Arena in Wembley from Sept. 20-23. Alex ‘Machine’ Richardson hosts, with Freya Spiers as stage host. Commentators include Daniel ‘DDK’ Kapadia, James Bardolph, Anders Blume, Henry ‘HenryG’ Greer, Jason ‘Moses’ O’Toole and Matthew  ‘Sadokist’ Trivett. Analysts will be Bjorn ‘THREAT’ Pers, Sean  ‘sgares’ Gares, Chad ‘SPUNJ’ Burchill, Damian  ‘daps’ Steele an Jacob ‘Pimp’ Winneche.
In other talent news, CouRage and DrLupo are reforming their microphone team that will offer commentary for the Fortnite Summer Skirmish at PAX West this weekend, where $1.5 million will be on the line. The $1.5 million Summer Skirmish competition, spans Aug. 31-Sept. 3.
Magic Gaming made history as the NBA 2K League squad announced a partnership with the AS Monaco football club. The agreement makes Magic Gaming the first NBA 2K League team to partner with a professional sports team outside of the country, providing an opportunity for shared revenue and exposure through cross-marketed partnerships. The partnership will focus on digital growth through social media content, fan giveaways and interactions between professional gamers, providing fans with a unique experience.
Esports tournament management platform Swarmio will host a League of Legends charity tournament entitled Gift the Rift and featuring 20 participants across four teams with $100,000 prize pool split across four charities. The event takes place on Sept. 1, and will see four team captains (Pokimane, LilyPichu, xChocobars, Kaypea), who selected the British Columbia Society of Cruelty to Animals, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Hope for Justice, and Last Chance for Animals as the four charities to receive the winnings.
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Stream Hatchet INSIGHTS

Tyler “Ninja” Blevins is undoubtedly the most popular gamer in the world. As the first gamer to reach mainstream celebrity status, advertisers like Uber Eats, Samsung, and Red Bull have flocked to Ninja. Stream Hatchet examined the flow of Ninja’s Twitch popularity.
  • We averaged total session views and total session followers month by month. Ninja’s average viewers has decreased by 23% since the March
  • Although Ninja’s average session views increased following the Drake stream in April, average followers gained per session decreased by 24%.
  • Ninja’s average session views has begun to stabilize, average viewers increased by 11.3K from July to August.
For more insights, infographics and case studies, visit us at: blog.streamhatchet.com.

Formula 1 locked in footwear and lifestyle brand New Balance as the Presenting Partner of F1 Esports Series. In addition to activations around the three Pro Series live events as well as branded digital content, the brand will be fully integrated into the F1 Esports Pro Series Championship, inlcuding New Balance socks and shoes.
Fathead announced the addition of the Golden Guardians, the North American League of Legends Championship Series affiliate team of the Golden State Warriors, to its inaugural line of esports team merchandise. “Fathead has had a long-standing relationship with the Golden State Warriors through the NBA, and we’re excited to expand our partnership to include the Golden Guardians.” said Fathead CEO, Robby Hogle. “We know first-hand how passionate the Warrior’s fan base is, and we look forward to helping the Golden Guardians build a similar fan base with our product.”
Automobile manufacturer Toyota detailed plans to launch new esports tournament taking place in Bangkok, Thailand, that will showcase CS:GO. The tournament reportedly become the first international event hosted in the country and will feature a $100,000 prize pool this November, titled Toyota Master Bangkok 2018. 

This week FanAI looks to answer an age old question – what is more important in all-star game fan votes, popularity or performance? Before the OWL All-Star Weekend, over 55,000 fans cast their vote for the Atlantic and Pacific teams starting rosters. FanAI looked to Winston’s Lab season 1 player rankings (an Overwatch Community statistics authority) as a measure of performance, and Twitter audience size data as a measure of popularity. The data points were then charted for all OWL players and tested against median performance and social reach. The final output shows that the starting players all had a greater than the median amount of twitter followers and almost all had performed above the median in season 1 of the OWL. This indicates that both performance and popularity were equally important in earning fan votes in the case of the OWL.

The Overwatch League and Twitter struck a new multiyear deal to bring highlights and livestream content to the platform, with plans that kicked in with Overwatch League All-Star Weekend. Meanwhile, starting in Overwatch League’s 2019 season, Watchpoint, a weekly preview show covering upcoming Overwatch League matches, will be streamed live on Twitter via @overwatchleague. In addition, Twitter will drive Overwatch League’s distribution of near real-time highlight clips from every match of the Overwatch League regular season, playoffs, Grand Finals, and All-Star Weekend.
European caster Andy “Vedius” Day broke the news that English-speaking casters will not be calling the action from the live venues at the 2018 League of Legends World Championship until the finals taking place at Incheon, South Korea. Instead, the casting crew would operate from the LA studios. Executive Producer Dave “RumbleStew” Stewart stated, according to Cybersport, noted that “This is a pretty familiar model both in traditional sports broadcasts and even for some of the coverage we’ve done in the past.” He added that, “While there are many cost and efficiency advantages to using an already decked out local studio, there are admittedly some challenges for the casting team. However, the team we’re using is highly professional and we expect them to deliver at a very high level.”
Splash Damage is partnering with FACEIT to launch a competitive ecosystem for fast-paced, free to play shooter, Dirty Bomb. Players from Europe and North America are now able to compete in Hubs on the FACEIT platform. “We strive to bring the FACEIT experience to new communities. The platform offers a competitive structure like no other where the community can come together to collaborate and compete,” said Michele Attisani, CBO & Co-Founder of FACEIT. “We’re also big fans of Splash Damage and the experiences they gave us through games like Return to Castle Wolfenstein and Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory which played a big part of my gaming career, so we’re excited to be working on Dirty Bomb and utilizing our technology to provide players with more ways to play.”
FunEase, a joint venture between FunPlus Sports and NetEase, announced that it will showcase esports slate, Rules of Survival Global Series, exclusively on Facebook. Content will include streams of RGS North American and South East Asian divisions in at least 5 different languages. According to the release, FunEase’s approach “combines innovative tournament formats, advanced multi-language broadcasting, exciting content and the total prize pool of $1 million in the 2018-2019 season alone.”

After a Kotaku report detailed internal sexism and misogyny at Riot Games, the developer posted its plans to change the culture at the company and was already taking action against specific complaints, noting that “As a company, we’re used to patching problems ASAP, but this patch will not happen overnight. We will weave this change into our cultural DNA and leave no room for sexism or misogyny. Inclusivity, diversity, respect, and equality are all non-negotiable.” Early steps being taken to address the issues include: expanding the culture and D&I initiative; revisiting cultural definitions; third-party evaluation; offering a revised investigation process; reevaluating recruiting; training; an staffing up for D&I.
Gamescom reported another record year for attendance with approximately 370,000 people taking part in this year’s festivities, representing 114 countries in Cologne. “World premieres for the opening and a plus for the numbers of exhibitors and visitors underline the great relevance and attractiveness of Gamescom for gamers and the games industry,” said Felix Falk, managing director of Game, the association of the German games industry and event sponsor.
The NPD Group reported that stateside consumers spent about $19.5 billion on video game products in the first six months of the year. That marks a 40% uptick over spending from January-June 2017. First-half spending on hardware marked the highest in seven years, up 21% to $1.7 billion.
Call for Entries Opening in August
Deadline: October 17
Event: March 2019 (NYC)

ON THIS DAY in 1995: Nintendo releases Killer Instinct for the Super NES.
Trivia: In 2013, this game was the best-selling game of the year, ending a four-year run for the Call of Duty franchise atop the charts. (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Name the classic dueling game pictured last week. Answer: Joust. Kudos: Chris Davies-Virgin/London; Danny Araque/NY; Julie Schell/NY; Rob Casalaina-ITN/NY; Luke Watson-Essential TV/NY; Will James-Midan Marketing/Mooresville; Ara Finlayson-Fuse/Burlington; Matt Layman-Epic Games/Raleigh; Rob Felton-Threadbird/Nashville; Bob Rybarczyk-Weber Shandwick/St. Louis; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Andy Babb-Super League Gaming/Santa Monica; Greg Dudsic/Venice

For more news and coverage, check out: http://cynopsisesports.com (updated daily).

Later — Chris
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JOB OPENING: MARKETING ASSOCIATE/The Weather Channel/NYC: Help grow existing/new bus across our newly expanded portfolio through organizing client events and writing sales proposals. Also propose, plan & execute annual branded premium & client mailer strategy. BA deg 2-3 yrs exp similar role. Full info/apply HERE (9/5)

JOB OPENING: STRATEGIC SALES PLANNER/ACCOUNT MGR/MIRRIAD/NYC: Act as main connection for all bus. groups for US commercial sales/operations teams, supporting revenue generation & activation. 3+ yrs acct mngmnt exp across Dig/TV buying/plan’g & inv mngmnt. Good understanding of video ad ecosystem. Full info HERE Resume to: [email protected] (8/31)

JOB OPENING: PRODUCER/Spectrum News/Columbus OH: Produce assigned newscasts/news inserts making decisions on story lineup, video/audio elements, graphics and timing to construct show. BA Deg broadcast journalism. 3 yrs TV news exp. Strong brdcst news writing ability. Full info/apply HERE (8/31)

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Collaborate across disciplines to implement new gameplay features and improvements.
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Baltimore MD
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Support cloud hosted systems in a 24×7 environment including troubleshooting, hot fixing, and root cause analysis.
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Baltimore MD
Own the creation, facilitation, and improvement of internal processes and procedures to support and improve multiple teams.
Senior Producer
Austin TX
Working as a senior you will benchmark and raise the bar for environment art throughout our products.
Senior Environment Artist
Boston MA
Answer technical questions and advise developers that are creating content for Nintendo platforms.
Software Engineer
Redmond WA
Work with analysts to define the functional and technical needs of an organization and recommend solutions that may have significant impact to the organization.
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Redmond WA
Collaborate with designers, animators, and AI engineers in the development of new character functionality.
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343 Industries
Redmond WA
Design and implement new gameplay features systems, from prototype to completion.
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343 Industries
Redmond WA
Assist Artists with the setup of complex world art assets and workflows.
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Bellevue WA
Collaborate with engineers to implement new render features and workflows.
Lighting Technical Artist
Bellevue WA
Work with audio designers and programmers to design, prototype, and implement new audio features.
Senior Audio Software Engineer
Infinity Ward
Woodland Hills CA
Working closely with the UI Director to understand and incorporate needs into the UI.
Senior UI Artist
Infinity Ward
Woodland Hills CA
Working closely with designers and tool engineers to implement gameplay features.
Game Designer
Telltale Games
San Rafael CA
Develop, maintain and extend current Network systems on all supported platforms.
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San Diego CA


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