09/22/22: VCT formalized its 30 partnered teams

 

Medias First Morning Read
Thursday September 22, 2022

Good morning! It’s Thursday and this is your early morning Esports brief.

With three new VALORANT International Leagues on deck that will each feature 10 partnered teams, Riot Games identified the 30 teams who will occupy those slots next year. The publisher noted that final selections were based on three criteria: organizations who share values of always putting fans first, celebrate our diverse community, and are committed to supporting pros; organizations who have created a strong connection with fans through engaging content, a compelling brand, and an exciting roster; and organizations who build for the long-term, with a focus on sustainability.

Representing the Americas will be Cloud9, 100 Thieves, Sentinels, Evil Geniuses, NRG, LOUD, Leviatán, KRU Esports, MIBR and FURIA. The EMEA league will see FNATIC, Team Vitality, Team Liquid, NAVI, KOI, Karmine Corp, Team Heretics, Giants, FUT Esports and BBL Esports. Competing in the Asian leagues will be Talon Esports, T1, Gen.G, ZETA DIVISION, DetonatioN Gaming, DRX, Rex Regum Qeon (RRQ), Team Secret, Paper Rex, and Global Esports.

COMPETITION

ESL announced details for two of its pillar events: Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) Katowice 2023 and IEM Cologne 2023. The first ESL Pro Tour Championship event of 2023, IEM Katowice will run Jan. 31-Feb. 12 with the CS:GO Playoffs being played out live at the Spodek Arena and the final days of the StarCraft II World Championship taking place at the International Congress Center in Katowice, Poland. IEM Cologne is scheduled between July 25 – Aug. 6, with the Playoff Stage being played live at the LANXESS arena in Cologne, Germany.

With Modern Warfare 2 ready to roll, the Call of Duty League announced plans to officially begin its next season on Dec. 2. MW2 is set to release on Oct. 28. The league will serve up five Majors for the Modern Warfare 2 season with the first Major in Raleigh, North Carolina. The second Major will be hosted by the Boston Breach, followed by events hosted by OpTic Texas and the New York Subliners. The location of the fifth and final Major has yet to be announced.

Overwatch League is heading to the Anaheim Convention Center for the Grand Finals this year, running Oct. 20-Nov. 3. The event caps a postseason that starts Oct. 14 and marks the league’s first global champions of the Overwatch 2 PvP era. Once the 12 playoff teams are finalized, they will be seeded into the double-elimination playoff bracket based on their overall League Points earned, with LAN matches being broadcast from Anaheim Convention Center.

Audiences flocked in as VALORANT Champions Tour crowned a champion over the weekend. Esports Charts reports that the event recorded 1.5 million peak viewership with over 520,000 average viewers between Aug. 31-Sept. 18, anchored by the finals between OpTic Gaming and LOUD.

The Rocket League Championship Series returns in October for the 2022-23 Season, with this year’s format mostly echoing the success the league found this year. Once again, the season will have three splits – Fall, Winter and Spring – each made up of three Regional Events and an International Major. Teams will be competing throughout the season to earn points to qualify for the ultimate end of the season competition, the Rocket League World Championship in August. The main changes for the 2022-23 season includes merging the previous APAC-N and APAC-S Regions into a single Asia-Pacific (APAC) RLCS Region, and lowering the total amount of points teams can earn throughout the season. Broadcasts begin the weekend of October 7 with the Regionals for North America (NA), Middle-East & North Africa (MENA) and Asia-Pacific (APAC).

Riot Games and BLAST are teaming up for the third edition of Spike Nations, a charity VALORANT tournament in the EMEA region. The tournament will gather 12 teams from Europe, Middle East and Africa. Teams competing this year include the UK, France, Spain, Portugal, Nordics, Poland, Turkey, Italy, DACH, Benelux, Eastern Europe and MENA.

Wisdom Gaming is launching a collegiate-level esports tournament called the Wisdom Collegiate Contender Series that will see 14 collegiate esports teams from across the US compete in Rocket League across the two-day competition for $25,000. The Wisdom Collegiate Contender Series will be broadcast remotely between Oct. 8-9.

EBS 2022 (Nov. 1-3, click here for tickets!)

Whoa! Director, producer, and actor Peter Berg is bringing is talents to EBS! The helmer of films such as The Rundown (2003), Friday Night Lights (2004), The Kingdom (2007), Hancock (2008), Battleship (2012), Lone Survivor (2013), Deepwater Horizon (2016), Patriots Day (2016), Mile 22 (2018), and most recently, Spenser Confidential (2020), will come to Vegas to address attendees of this year’s show. Berg is also known for his executive producer role on the television adaptation of his feature film, Friday Night Lights, in addition to serving as executive producer and director of acclaimed HBO series The Leftovers and Ballers.

In gaming, Berg is known for directing iconic commercials for the Call of Duty franchise – including the “Vet and the n00b” starring Sam Worthington, Jonah Hill, and Dwight Howard for Modern Warfare 3; “Discover Your Power” starring Taylor Kitsch and Emily Ratajkowski for Advanced Warfare; and “Screw It, Let’s Go to Space” starring Michael Phelps and Danny McBride for Infinite Warfare. Berg will be joined by 72 and Sunny Founder/Chairman Glenn Cole and ESPAT TV CEO Dante Simpson for a discussion on the dynamics of marketing Call of Duty over the years. Don’t miss the keynote discussion on opening night!!!!!

Free booth, potential sponsorship, EBS glory! Who’s down for a Pitcher’s Duel? EBS is putting select companies on the grand stage spotlight for their chance to pitch for a partnership. World renown brands such as Procter & Gamble, Anheuser-Busch and Comcast, among others, will be on hand to give esports organizations their insights on each pitch, with a possibility that someone walks away with a sponsorship, a winner getting a free booth at EBS in 2023 and all participants walking away a little wiser. If you are interested in participating, click here!

STREAMHATCHET
Twitch announced that they will begin banning certain gambling streams October 18th. The news comes after top streamers like Pokimane and Mizkif threaten to go on strike after news broke of a Twitch streamer scamming others out of hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund his gambling addiction.
The ban won’t affect all types of gambling. A statement released Tuesday night said the ban will affect “streaming of gambling sites that include slots, roulette, or dice games that aren’t licensed in the U.S. or other jurisdictions that provide sufficient consumer protections.”
Online gambling has seen massive growth on Twitch in the last 5 years. In 2016 and 2017, the gambling genre on Twitch was averaging 9 million hours watched per quarter. For context, that was only 0.6% of the total hours watched on the platform. However, the end of 2018 started to see a shift in popularity.
Both the number of unique channels and hours watched of gambling streams started to increase steadily. From Q3 2016 to Q2 2022, gambling live stream viewership on Twitch grew over 1,500%.
Read more on Stream Hatchet’s blog.

SPONSORSHIP & ACTIVATION

HyperX announced the new season of Queued Up, a showcase that “identifies and celebrates promising talent in the gaming space.” Each year Queued Up features a class of five content creators chosen and showcased to the world with each member receiving benefits and prize packages designed to help scale their brands, including a twelve-month paid contract, the opportunity to be featured in new releases, and tools to help scale their brands.

Gen.G announced a new partnership with the audio company Bose, as the “Official Audio Lifestyle Partner.” The partnership will feature a slate of initiatives to “showcase the audio company’s sound credentials to the gaming industry and create iconic moments for fans.” In collaboration with Bose, Gen.G will also launch an original content series, “Musicians that Game,” that explores the authentic connection between gaming and music, highlighting DJs, gamers, and music artists with a passion for the two lifestyles. Additionally, Bose will be a supporting partner of Gen.G Tigers in the NBA 2K League.

Meanwhile, PUMA and Gen.G cemented a multiyear extension to the brands’ existing partnership globally. On September 20, PUMA and Gen.G will also launch a second global lifestyle collection, which will be worn by Gen.G’s creators and players, among them, the reigning League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) 2022 Summer Champion team.

OpTic Gaming poured up a partnership with Dairy MAX, a nonprofit regional dairy council. The multiyear sponsorship will lean into OpTic creators and the organization’s esports teams to “help connect to dairy farm families and educate the community about the nutritional power and benefits of dairy.” OpTic fans can expect collaborations with Dairy MAX at live and virtual events and in future content.

Esports Business Summit

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EBS brings together all sectors of the esports ecosystem for world class education, networking, inspiration, and deal-making. This year’s three-day program will cover leagues & teams, content & production, brand building, sponsorship & activation, venues & events, investment & industry, and much more…

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REV/XP PRESENTS…
This week on “Rev/XP Presents,” Chris Mann interviews OpTic Gaming VP of Sales and Marketing, Shay Butler. Click here to watch or visit esportsbiz.com.

TEAMS

Skinvaders, a platform for in-game branded skins, unveils a streetwear-inspired collection by PUMA in collaboration with Gen.G. The digital drop launched this week available exclusively to gamers on ZEPETO. “While Gen.G brings esporting communities together from the US, China and South Korea, it all started in South Korea, and this collection with PUMA pays homage to that,” said Christine Kohler, Strategic Account Marketing Manager, Foot Locker Asia, of PUMA SEA. “We were keen for a global audience to access this localized fashion range that will bring gaming fans, trendsetters and communities together, and Skinvaders were the natural choice to facilitate this.”

G2 Esports CEO Carlos Rodriguez is stepping away from his role within the organization for eight weeks following an internal suspension imposed by G2’s board of supervisors. The suspension comes less than 24 hours after Rodriguez posted a video of himself with controversial content creator and internet figure Andrew Tate.

PLATFORMS WEB3

FaZe Holdings locked in a strategic partnership with The Sandbox that marks FaZe Clan’s official inaugural entry into the metaverse. The partnership is anchored around the development of FaZe Clan’s 12 x 12 plot of LAND named “FaZe World,” a virtual land encompassing the lifestyle and culture of FaZe Clan. The two companies will co-produce experiences for the FaZe community in The Sandbox by building digital infrastructure, virtual events, games, and digital product releases. This partnership will open the door for a gamified FaZe World that allows users to experience and engage with the team and talent and create new revenue streams for the org. The Sandbox LANDs surrounding FaZe World will also be available for individual digital real estate purchases by the public.

Communications consultancy for gaming culture, The Story Mob, released a new white paper titled, “Web3 or WTF? Translating Online Innovation for a Cynical Gamer Audience.” The white paper outlines five things “to keep in mind to help break down the barriers of skepticism and build trust.” Erika Satler, Director at The Story Mob stated: “Smart and effective communication is the foundation for success. As future-forward industries, both competitive gaming and blockchain are primed for success. Web3 isn’t going away, so opportunities for emerging tech brands to integrate and authentically connect with key communities are endless.”

Immortals is partnering with fan engagement and rewards company Socios.com to launch an Immortals Fan Token. The Fan Token will carry ticker signal $IMT and be available for $2 through a Fan Token Offering scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 19.

Guild of Guardians, mobile squad-based action RPG game published by Immutable Games Studio, locked in a multi-year partnership with eight professional esports organizations, including Cloud9, Fnatic, NAVI, Ninjas in Pyjamas, NRG, SK Gaming, T1, and Team Liquid, representing their brands as full-fledged, playable characters. These characters will be tradable as digital collectibles on the fully carbon neutral scaling solution, Immutable X.

X1 Esports and Entertainment entered into an asset purchase agreement to acquire Octane.GG, an online fan statistics platform focused on the popular video game, Rocket League. “Adding Octane to the X1 portfolio will significantly strengthen our position within the Rocket League ecosystem”, said Mark Elfenbein, CEO of X1. “Through strategically combining Octane’s community-facing assets with those of our recently announced acquisition, ShiftRLE, we believe we can fill and capitalize on a highly valuable void for a Rocket League media destination.”

ROSTER MOVES

Riot Games named Lil Nas X has as the new President of League of Legends. In this role, starting with the 2022 League World Championship, the rapper, singer, and songwriter will be charged with creating “explosive musical moments, an ingenious League champion skin, and a spectacular live Worlds performance for the 180+ million monthly players and fans in the League universe.” “I felt like it was time for me to try something new. I’ve left my mark on pop culture in so many ways, and now it’s time to take on the world of gaming. I will be the greatest President of League of Legends, of all time. Also I’m going to make the best Worlds anthem of all time and put on the biggest, coolest, sexiest Worlds in the history of all Worlds!” said Lil Nas X.

Bidstack, the in-game advertising and video game monetization platform, named Jude O’Connor as Chief Revenue Officer. O’Connor joins Bidstack after more than seven years at AdColony, one of the world’s largest mobile gaming monetization platforms.

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TRIVIA
Speaking of Lil Nas X, which song by the artist received a Diamond certification, and marking his all-time best-selling hit? (Email cpursell@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
Which character from the Mario universe pilots the Clown Car pictured above? Answer: Bowser/Bowser Jr. Kudos: Phyllis McQuillan-MSG Networks/NY; Benjamin Robinson-Media Design Group/LA; Greg Dudsic/Lancaster; David Westberg-SAG•AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank

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