09/28/17: Paladins Premier League will launch this weekend with NA and European contenders

It’s Thursday September 28, 2017 and this is your weekly early morning eSports & Gaming briefing.

The recently-announced Paladins Premier League is in formation and will launch its regular season on Saturday with a lineup of eight matches. Teams have now been assigned to the two inaugural PPL regions with North America consisting of G2 Esports, SK Gaming, Team Envy, Splyce and Renegades while Europe will be made up of FNATIC, Natus Vincere, mousesports, Virtus.pro and Ninjas in Pyjamas. Games will run live starting at 3p at esports.paladins.com or on Facebook. “We’re eager to watch the world’s premier esports organizations play competitive Paladins”, said Todd Harris, Hi-Rez Studios Chief Operating Officer, “and we welcome them to compete in our league using the same team names they have spent years building up as recognizable to their fans.”

Nintendo unveiled details for its upcoming Nintendo World Championships 2017, which will see 16 top players across two age brackets qualifying to travel to New York to compete on Oct. 7. The event will serve as a multi-game tournament with players competing in a gauntlet of games representing both the past and present of the company. One of the games in yesterday’s announcement will be Metroid: Samus Returns for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems. In addition, the 16 qualifying players will be joined by 8 players invited to compete around the world, including talented speed-runners, tournament players and online personalities from the United States, Europe, Canada and Mexico including actor and Super Smash Bros. tournament player Asa Butterfield and WWE Superstar Bayley. The event will be hosted by Andrea Rene, with play-by-play and analysis by Jordan Kent and livestreamed at https://nwc.nintendo.com starting at 5p.
The NBA will launch its NBA 2K League in May of next year, Managing Director Brendan Donohue confirmed. Season one will see 17 teams take part with teams drafting esports players in March, selecting five players to represent each organization. Be sure to check out our interview with Donohue for more about the league below.
Super Evil Megacorp is taking Vainglory’s 2017 World Championships to the Kallang Theater in Singapore from December 14-17 with the 12 best teams battling it out, including North America’s Cloud9, Korea’s Rox Armada and ACE Gaming, Indonesia’s Elite8, China’s Hunters and Singapore’s Impunity. “The 2017 Vainglory World Championship will not just be the pinnacle of our esports year; it will be arguably the biggest moment in Vainglory history,” said Super Evil Megacorp CEO Kristian Segerstrale. “Live on stage in Singapore, we will globally unveil Vainglory 5v5 in an epic showmatch, coinciding with a major in-game update. This moment will show, once again, that Vainglory is the most uncompromising, unapologetically core MOBA on touchscreens – and a game pushing the very boundaries of the mobile platform.” The Championships will include keynote speeches from the developers at Super Evil Megacorp, including the first showcase match of Vainglory’s upcoming 5v5 mode.
The 2017 Big Buck World Championship and Ladies Tourney will offer over $100,000 in cash and prizes for contenders on Oct. 27-28, which marks year ten of the arcade esports event. The players will gather in Las Vegas to battle at the Hard Rock Las Vegas.
Turner and IMG’s ELEAGUE CS:GO Premier 2017 takes on Group D play starting Friday. TBS coverage begins at 10p with the final group stage competition set to include SK Gaming, Astralis, Team Liquid and Heroic contending for the final two remaining playoff spots and a larger share of the event’s $1 million prize. Live digital coverage will begin at 6p across Twitch, ELEAGUE.com and YouTube.
Konami Digital Entertainment will make the PES League World Tour 2018 as an official UEFA Champions League esports event, per Esports Pro. “We look forward to this season’s PES eSports events and the opportunity it provides for gamers and viewers to further engage with the UEFA Champions League brand,” said Guy-Laurent Epstein, UEFA Events SA Marketing Director.
Developer Riot announced that the 2018 League of Legends season will be made up of 10 franchised teams. “We believe the esports ecosystem in North America has ample pro talent to support 10 teams and that contracting further would unnecessarily limit opportunities for talented pros,” the company said in an update. “However, to expand further we will first need to concentrate on building a more extensive pipeline of local talent and established organizations. When we talked with the Players’ Association for pro feedback, they were also strongly in favor of keeping 10 slots for competing teams.”
FACEIT is partnering with the Capcom Pro Tour, AESVI and Fandango Club to bring the EU Regional Finals of Street Fighter V to Milan Games Week on Oct. 1. “Over the past two years, the Milan Games Week has proven to be the perfect venue for the Europe’s most skilled Street Fighter V warriors to face off,” said James Bardolph, Creative Director of FACEIT Media. “We’re excited to continue bringing these players together, and we look forward to future Capcom competitions in Street Fighter V and beyond.”
The opening volley for Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite’s esports tournament will see the winners of each qualifier be granted an “infinity stone” that will allow them to have abilities the go beyond typical in-game skills. The contest, dubbed Battle for the Stones, will see Capcom offer up $30,000 for the competition with 16 players in contention. In the announcement, tournament officials noted that if a player with the stone loses, that player’s opponent will then inherit the ability.

Blizzard opened the doors to its Blizzard Battle.net mobile app for iOS and Android allowing players for its roster of games to not only connect with friends via voice chat and messaging, but also install and patch games, get news, livestream to Facebook and buy in-game gear.
Millennial Esports Corporation is partnering with Microsoft to broadcast ‘Beyond the Sticks’, a new esports training program carried on X-Box Mixer. Ep 1 debuted yesterday on Mixer.com/channelone. “Mixer is excited to have exclusive content such as ‘Beyond The Sticks’ on the platform as we want to tell more of the stories that showcase who these players are outside of the game,” said Kieran ‘Lenox’ Philips, Esports Producer, Mixer Programming, Microsoft. “Producing a series like this allows a viewer more opportunities to become emotionally attached to these professional players, which is something that traditional sports has relied on heavily to build their franchises.”
Hi-Rez Studios is hitting the fall with a new reality show titled The Caster. The series features a lineup of talented esports personalities competing to demonstrate their abilities in the world of esports commentary. The global game developer and publisher filmed the series at its Atlanta studios. Across eight episodes, contenders vie for a $10,000 cash prize and an invitation to cast during the Hi-Rez Expo from Jan. 4-7.
Speaking of casting, Blizzard is on the prowl for fresh faces and new talent for the launch of Overwatch League in Dec. The company posted on its site that “We’re looking for charismatic broadcasters to join our already stellar talent pool to interview players, commentate matches, and analyze plays. The ideal addition to our team has exemplary social skills, a natural affinity for the camera, keen understanding of the game, and experience conducting upbeat and engaging interviews.” Interested parties should shoot over their headshot and resume, video audition, and talent reel by Dec. 15.
ESL announced the launch of brand-new esports tournament platform Xbox Arena, available across Xbox consoles, Windows 10 PCs, Android and Apple iOS. The new features will allow competitive players and teams to browse through and sign-up to a variety of online competitions beginning with ESL’s European 1v1 Community Cup for Injustice 2.
Gamer Sensei announced that The Elder Scrolls: Legends became the latest game to join the company’s esports coaching platform, which allows gamers to connect directly with professional TES: Legends coaches to improve their strategy, tactics and skills. “As we grow our roster of competitive games on Gamer Sensei platform, we couldn’t be more excited to add the strategic play of The Elder Scrolls: Legends,” says William Collis, co-founder of Gamer Sensei. “I’m personally a huge fan of competitive card games, so it’s been exciting to see fantastic improvement among players who have signed up for coaching sessions with our top sensei.”
Registration is now open!
The 5th Annual Cynopsis Digital Awards Luncheon
November 10 | Tribeca’s ThreeSixty, NYC | 12pm – 2pm
Cynopsis Digital will bring together this year’s finalists and industry peers to honor their excellence in online video content, advertising, and talent. It’s a terrific opportunity to mingle and share insights with digital media’s movers and shakers. Take a peek at the finalists and honorees here and register your team!
For event questions, contact Cathy Pearson
For sponsorship opportunities, contact Mike Farina


Esports organization Cloud9 has reportedly raised $19.7 million in equity financing from investors, with plans to secure an additional $5.3 million, per Dexerto.
Lagardere Sports added another jewel to its esports crown, signing Splyce to the client list where the agency will oversee the team’s sales and help deliver new sponsors and developing individual marketing campaigns for the team. The agreement will focus on Europe and Asia as well as global opportunities. “Our partnership with Splyce enables us to demonstrate our activities and strengths beyond the borders of Europe, within the Asian market. We very much look forward to this collaboration and to increasing the number of games titles in our portfolio, for instance Starcraft 2 and Rocket League”, added Moritz Altmann, Senior Director of esports at Lagardère Sports.
Ligue 1 staple Paris Saint-Germain is going all in on Rocket League, announcing a three-person team that will compete professionally for the esports title. Making up the team will be Dan ‘Bluey’ Bluett, Thibault ‘Chausette45’ Grzesiak, and Victor ‘Ferra’ Francal.
OpTic Gaming has eyes on Dota 2, announcing the signing of The Dire, which consists of named that include Peter “ppd” Dager, Ludwig “zai” Wåhlberg, and Rasmus “MiSeRy” Filipsen.

T-Mobile signed on as North American sponsor of the 2017 League of Legends World Championship where they will serve as the presenting sponsor of a new segment during the Worlds 2017 broadcast – entitled The Best of the Rift – that bookends each week of Worlds, spotlighting the most anticipated players and celebrating the best performances.
Astralis has reportedly locked in a sponsorship deal with Coco Fuzion 100, valued at ‘a seven figure sum’ according to The Daily Mail. Philip Lindgaard, Head of Sales for C7 Brands Scandinavia who supply Coco Fuzion 100, told the site that the drinks can help esport players, stating: “In esports, it’s not about 4×15 or 2×45 minutes, the players need to stay sharp and perform over many hours, and this is exactly where Coco Fuzion creates an edge for the Astralis team.”
Allied Esports is tapping Premier Partnerships as the official sponsorship agency of record for Esports Arena Las Vegas at Luxor Hotel and Casino, scheduled to open in early 2018. “Esports Arena Las Vegas presents an unparalleled opportunity for multiple brands to get in on the ground floor of what we expect to be the global destination for championship esports events,” said Jud Hannigan, CEO of Allied Esports International. “Premier Partnerships has the relationships and the experience to bring this first-of-its-kind platform to market and find partners that understand the unique vision we have set forward.”
The Nevada Esports Alliance is co-hosting the third Future of Esports in Nevada Summit on Oct. 16 at UNLV’s William S. Boyd School of Law. Presented by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, and co-hosted by the NVEA and the Esports Integrity Coalition, the event will focus on where esports fits in the Las Vegas landscape and how the esports and the casino resort industries can collaborate for mutual benefit. “In the continuing evolution of Las Vegas, esports is one of the fastest growing event segments and will be a big part of the future landscape of the destination,” said Lisa Motley, director of sports marketing and special events for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA). “The LVCVA is excited to sponsor the Future of Esports in Nevada Summit to bring together the top minds in the industry to lay the foundation for becoming a major player in the esports arena.”

Good news on the SAG-AFTRA front as the union reached a tentative deal with game publishers that would end a nearly year-long strike, pending ratification of the terms. Members are now free to work with companies that include Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Take 2 Productions, WB Games and more. The deal sees SAG-AFTRA video game voice actors receiving a 3% increase in base wages, plus bonuses that include: $75 on the first session up to a total of $2,100 if you work 10 or more sessions.
Superdata reports that the worldwide digital video games market grew 11% year-over-year in August to hit $7.9 billion. In the US, digital games revenue grew year-over-year, underpinned by a rise in free-to-play digital revenue. Meanwhile, PUBG had another successful month, bringing total life-to-date sales close to 9 million units through August.
Razer announced that the company would launch a dedicated gaming smartphone to the market by 2018. CEO and co-founder Min-Liang Tan appeared on CNBC to discuss company plans, noting that “One of the most hotly rumored things about Razer is that we’re coming up with a mobile device. And I can say that we are coming up with a mobile device specifically geared toward gamers and entertainment.”
British esports tournament organizer Gfinity announced that the company raised $9,399,600 in their latest rounding of funding. The new round comes months after they raised $8m in May and an additional $5m in July. Chief executive Neville Upton said: ‘Gfinity has made significant progress in the last 6 months, with highlights including: the successful launch of Elite Series in UK, announcement of a partnership with HT&E Ltd to launch Gfinity Esports Australia, our acquisition of CEVO, Inc in United States and a number of events delivered all round the globe for several prestigious clients including major game publishers and Formula One. ‘Following on from these achievements, I am delighted to be able to announce this conditional placing, the funding from which will enable us to sustain our momentum to becoming a global leader in esports.’
Casino Scouts and UMG Media Corp. entered a partnership that makes UMG the exclusive provider for all of Casino Scouts’ client esports tournament needs. “The convergence of esports and casinos is a reality,” said Stephen Crystal, CEO of Casino Scouts. “Casinos want to offer content that appeals to the future generation of players, and will be consumed in the casino setting. UMG offers, by far, the best content and technology solution on the market today for esports.”
POWER PLAYERS – Brendan Donohue

With the clock officially ticking until the launch of the upcoming NBA 2K League, the organization will see a roster of 17 teams take part in the inaugural season which see leverage the league’s partnership with Take-Two Interactive, with players receiving a proper contract and sponsorship deals. Among the teams getting ready to rumble will be the Celtics, Mavericks, Pistons, Pacers, Grizzlies, Heat, Bucks, Knicks, Magic, 76ers, Trail Blazers, Kings, Raptors, Jazz and Wizards, with many of the teams already embedded in the esports world.
In an interview with Cynopsis, Brendan Donohue, Managing Director of NBA 2K League, discussed the league’s plans as well as its advantages to sponsors for the upcoming launch.
Donohue on taking on the role: This was really a blending of my two worlds. I spent the last 21 years working on the NBA but I also have a passion for gaming and have an 11-year old son and on the weekends we are on our gaming chairs getting after it.
On the state of the league: We have 17 teams that are committed for the 2018 season and we are now looking at tryouts starting in February. We’re look at mid-March for the draft. We are looking at players in market by April with the season starting in May. The season we are looking at will be 17 weeks long. The regular season will be 15 weeks long, with two weeks for the playoffs and finals. When it comes to competition, the only thing we know for sure at the point is that we are going to fly the players in on a consistent basis to play in a central studio. A lot of that will be assisted by our media rights conversations.
On working with teams: We obviously have deep relationships with all of our teams, and I personally have most of the NBA team presidents on my cell because I am friends with them. Our team marketing and operations group has been working with them consistently in helping them with the hiring process, building out the infrastructure, and preparing them for success in their respective markets.
On sponsors: It’s going great. I would expect that we will be announcing deals here soon, but the conversations have been fantastic. They are very excited about working with us for a couple of reasons. One being that we have very good relations with our current NBA partners and we are trying to help them potentially enter the esports world. Secondarily, brands have a comfort level with us and trust us to work with them on how to activate and engage. We have a couple of advantages in having a global understanding of basketball which gives us an advantage. People all around the world know what basketball looks like and that makes it easier for us to engage with the esports audience.
In addition, it is very easy for us to activate partners. If you are watching the game, it would probably feel more strange if there wasn’t courtside signage that if there was. One thing that benefits us is that we are rated “E” for everyone. That makes brands feel very comfortable as well. 

Twitch named Maker Studios’ Kendra Johnson as the company’s new general manager of global content and development and emerging markets. She will now be charged with the social video platforms’ global content acquisition efforts while growing its business in both the Latin America and Asia Pacific regions.
Who doesn’t love a good video?
Honoring outstanding work in this emerging space, the Cynopsis Short Form Video Festival will showcase fresh and surprising storytelling across platforms. We define short form video as content that runs from 5 seconds to 10 minutes. Content on any platform is eligible. Watch our sizzle reel + start your submissions (deadline is 10/20)!

ON THIS DAY in 1994: Atari and Sega Enterprises settle a lawsuit, with Sega paying Atari $90 million in exchange for 7.4% of Atari and rights to 70 Atari patents.

Trivia: Name the character pictured above… (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Markus Persson is best known as the creator of what game?  Answer: Minecraft. Kudos: Julie Schell-Rizal/Sydney; Chris Davies/Virgin; Danny Araque/NY; Glen Ross/DC; Joey Olson-Lowe’s/Arlington; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Jason Morrow-Toyota/Houston; Daniel Hanson/Vail; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Greg Dudsic/Venice; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA
Later — Chris
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JOB OPENING: ACCOUNT EXEC/Machinima/Burbank: Resp for driving ad sales efforts & reaching ad sales targets for Machinima, the premiere digital video programmer of gamer & fandom-focused content. 3-4 yrs exp digital media sales w/in a content-driven publisher, ent/media co. or ad agency. Full info/apply HERE (10/5)

JOB OPENING: PRODUCER CREATIVE SERVICES/SpectrumNetworksNY1/NYC: Produce on-air promo spots & campaigns, from initial concept to finished prod. 3yrs media exp,producing on-air promo spots, media sales billboards & tagged spots.TV news exp pref’d.  Exp working with cross functional teams. Full info/apply HERE (10/5)

SCHEDULING COORDINATOR/GSN/Santa Monica: Dist prog. Schedule grids, Monthly VOD planners, artwork & folder structures, coord. & maintaining schedule & databases & admin duties; online rsrch. Excellent attention to details; Knwldg of Excel & all Microsoft applications; College deg req; Send Res/CL: HERE (10/4)

JOB OPENING: ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE/WMAQ TV/Chicago: Dynamic Account Executive to join the Local Sales team. Own, manage, and develop relationships with clients, agencies and advertisers through day-day interaction. Min 5 yrs exp sales and/or mktg roles. Full info/apply HERE (10/4)
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JOB OPENING: SOCIAL MEDIA DIRECTOR/FlyQuest/LA: Execute SM strategy ensuring goals are met by team and content is continuously optimized for key aud segments. Min 6 yrs of exp in custom social media content creation, digital Exp w/pd search & pd social a must. Full info/apply HERE (10/4)

DIR CONTENT PRODUCTION/NYC/Eko: Pioneer of interactive serial video entertainment. Manage creative dev and prod for all scripted interactive series. Define processes and manage team to achieve goals. More details http://bit.ly/2fLBlhq. Resume to [email protected] (10/3)

NEWS DIRECTOR/KUVN 23/Dallas: Forward thinking, creative and exp’d candidate to lead news operation in fast-paced media mkt. High level of news judgment, journalistic integrity & people mngmnt skills. Digital knwldg a must. 10yrs exp facets of TV news prod, writing, editing, camera ops & reporting. Full info/apply HERE (10/3)

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JOB OPENING: SENIOR JAVA SCRIPT ENGINEER/Fox News Channel/NYC: Lead dvlpmnt of high traffic JavaScript apps and implement front end user design defining behavior of visual element. Develop new software applications from concept to finish. 3+ year of expert level JavaScript dvlpmnt. Full info/apply HERE (9/30)

DIR, DIGITAL ANALYTICS/A+E Networks/NY: Oversee reporting & analysis for A+E Networks’ portfolio, drive growth in Digital business by delivering recommendations that influence content, prod. & distribution strategy across the organization.  Full Info/Apply HERE (9/30)

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Manage production, purchasing, trafficking, logistics, and/or distribution of all Rockstar software products.
Director of Production Services
Develop comprehensive business plans including strategy, business case, marketing and budgets for Activision franchises.
Product Marketing Manager
Santa Monica CA
Utilizes sprite-based particle systems along with pixel and vertex shaders to create a wide variety of real-time special effects.
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High Moon Studios
Carlsbad CA
Oversee and support all projects through production phases, including managing the staffing, scheduling, vendor selection and management of budget.
Head of Production
ESL Turtle Entertainment
Burbank CA
Oversee client needs, staffing, strategy, quality or work, and budgeting.
IEM Director, Project Management
ESL Turtle Entertainment
Burbank CA
Respond to bugs and feature requests related to engine code as directed.
Mid to Senior Level Engine Programmer
Insomniac Games
Burbank CA
Work with department lead, art director, lead artist, and concept artist to maintain art direction for the game.
Mid to Senior UI Artist
Insomniac Games
Burbank CA
Negotiate partnerships with world class eSports teams and leagues.Track deliverables and create opportunities to engage a global eSports audience.
Esports and Sponsorship Programs Manager
Fremont CA
Define product roadmap, business case, and manage product requirements.
Product Manager—Power Supply
Fremont CA
Directs and collaborates with sub-leads and senior engineering staff for design reviews, and then manages delivery on those responsibilities.
Foundation Lead
Crystal Dynamics
Redwood City CA
Create high quality textures and meshes using tools such as Photoshop, After Effects, and Maya
FX Artist
Crystal Dynamics
Redwood City CA
Investigate site issues, explain traffic patterns, understand and articulate user behavior.
Senior Business Intelligence Analyst
San Francisco CA
Successful candidates will also demonstrate a willingness to take charge and work forcefully to achieve results, despite obstacles.
Account Manager
San Francisco CA
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Senior Director, Brand Marketing
San Francisco CA
Solicits quotes and estimates, procures services and products required for project execution.
Project Manager – Creative Services
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