11/03/22: Riot brings in $20 million from Champions bundle

 

Medias First Morning Read
Thursday November 3, 2022

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

Global head of VALORANT esports Liam Faria announced Wednesday at the Esports Business Summit that Riot Games brought in more than $20 million from its 2022 VALORANT Champions bundle, an in-game cosmetic package centered around the world championship for Riot Games’ tactical shooter.

The amount, which was shared among the 16 Champions participants, is about $2 million more than the Champions bundle brought in for the 2021 edition of the tournament. Faria also recapped the VALORANT Champions Tour franchising process and details of VCT Reloaded, the 2023 edition of official VALORANT esports.

Riot is taking a different approach to franchising by supporting investment in the esports scene instead of an entry fee for the VCT. Riot is also providing monetary incentives and stipends as well as revenue share to support sustainability for organizations in the VCT ecosystem.

Riot also plans to expand each of its three international leagues by one team from 2024-27 and offer guest slots to teams via Challenger leagues and Premier, an in-game competition that will allow new talent to emerge organically and enter the path to pro pipeline.

“Next year, we’re going to see the fully fleshed, fully developed version of the VCT,” Faria said, including “probably the biggest esports event in Riot history.”

That three-week event, an international kick-off tournament that will feature all 30 teams franchise teams will take place in February in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

COMPETITION

IEM Rio tournament has had the “best start in the history of CS:GO Majors,” according to the latest data from Esports Charts. The event, which is the first Major in Brazil, is taking place from Oct. 31 to Nov. 13. Brazil is known for its fanatical esports audience, and IEM Rio is playing out in front of a sold-out crowd at the Riocentro Arena as well as the Jeunesse Arena with a $1.25 million prize pool on the line.

Brazil and Latin America have some of the most passionate and interactive esports fans in the world, and the region’s success in first-person shooters like VALORANT and CS:GO is showing itself both at the arenas and in general viewership. According to Esports Charts, IEM Rio has drawn nearly 6.7 million hours watched and more than 437,000 average viewers as of Tuesday. French organization Team Vitality and Brazilian squad Imperial’s matchup drew an event-best 700,000 peak viewers, and the top five most-popular matches by peak viewers so far all include at least one Brazilian team.

The Snapdragon Pro Series announced its first multi-title championship in Valencia as the company continues to expand its offerings in League of Legends: Wild Rift and Brawl Stars. The SPS released details on the tournament Wednesday at the Esports Business Summit and detailed its plans for growth and the potential of the mobile esports world.

“Scaled across three days and some of the most popular titles, mobile esports competition will be a focal point of DreamHack Valencia and will be one of our most impactful events to date,” Kevin Rosenblatt, the Senior Vice President of Game Ecosystems for ESL FACEIT Group, said in a statement. “Building upon the growth and momentum of the Snapdragon Pro Series, this event will showcase how access to mobile esports provides one of the most diverse pools of competitors in gaming.”

ONE Esports announced its inaugural ONE Esports FIGHT! Tokyo Invitational, which will bring TEKKEN 7 competition to the Red Bull Gaming Sphere in Nakano, Tokyo, from Nov. 19-20. The tournament features a $20,000 prize pool in a country that has a hesitant history with esports events that include prize money. Qualifiers for the event are underway, with the final two scheduled for Nov. 7 and 9. Qualifying players will compete for the final spot in the eight-person, double-elimination main event, which includes seven invited competitors.

Coca-Cola, McDonald’s of Southern California and Brag House are partnering for a collegiate FIFA event that will offer players from 16 Southern California colleges as well as spectators a shot at prizes and cash. The event kicks off Nov. 5 with in-person exhibition matches at L.A. Live with the main event, the SoCal FIFA 23 Tournament, taking place on Nov. 8. All six days of competition between 64 players from various programs will air on the Brag House mobile and website platforms as well as on Twitch and YouTube.

STREAMHATCHET

V Rising, the vampire survival game from Stunlock Studios, boosted its game engagement over the Halloween weekend with several marketing strategies deployed both in-game and in the live streaming ecosystem.

Stunlock Studios hosted the V Rising Trials of Dracula event on Friday, October 28th, which helped boost live streaming viewership 48K%. The event was streamed on shroud’s Twitch channel, and featured other popular streamers like tarik, CohhCarnage, LIRIK, and more. With the help of shroud’s event, V Rising saw 423K hours watched across all live streaming platforms during the weekend.

Read more on Stream Hatchet’s blog.

SPONSORSHIP & ACTIVATION

What less-explored opportunities are left in the esports sponsorship world? Variety streamer and esports host Lauren “GlitterXplosion” Laracuente told Esports Business Summit attendees that delivery services, peripheral providers and makeup brands have plenty of room to grow within the space, especially if they take the right approach to reaching Gen Z.

“Stop taking yourselves so seriously,” GlitterXplosion, who’s best-known in esports for her work on Twitch Rivals, said. “For this particular industry, just lighten it up a little bit. … it’s OK to appeal to the younger generation. It doesn’t need to be so cookie-cutter perfection.”

GlitterXplosion said makeup brands particularly could get a “huge, huge win” in esports and streaming and could help empower women in the industry and be a “massive play” for both brands and content creators.

Ninjas in Pyjamas and apparel brand FILA announced a partnership Wednesday as they hope to create a “new collection of pro athletic wear for the gaming industry.” The orgs are also working with the Fashion Innovation Center in Sweden to advise the companies on what consumers are looking for and additional opportunities for changing the game in esports fashion and jersey design.

“With their fanbase in the millions and growing, it’s been extremely exciting to collaborate with NIP,” Luca Bertolino, Head of Global Strategic Marketing for FILA, said in a statement. “Together we are testing new avenues of interaction between esports and performance wear.”

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IT’S ALIVE!: YouGov Living Data Insights
Multiplayer online battle arena players are hooked: Over a third of Americans who play MOBA games (such as DOTA 2) spend over 14 hours a week playing video games on PC or console (36%). In contrast, only a fifth of those who play racing and sports video games clock as many hours.

PLATFORMS & WEB3

Verizon’s Creator Studio streaming app could launch “very soon” after a round feedback via streamers who used the tech at TwitchCon San Diego, Verizon Gaming and Esports rep Mason Bates said during the Esports Business Summit. During a conversation with Twitch Properties director Chad DeLuca, Bates said Verizon used its partnership with Twitch Properties to test the app’s beta on the ground at TwitchCon. The communications company gave five streamers access to Creator Studio during the event to bring viewers and fans the TwitchCon experience, and Verizon also gave a presentation on the upcoming app.

Creator Studio lets users show front and back camera views for real-life streams as well as other effects that are more typical of studio-style Twitch streams. Bates said the TwitchCon activation let Verizon put Creator Studio in the hands of its potential users and “build [Creator Studio] with them and for them.”

“We learned more than we ever could have in any other sort of environment,” Bates said. “Most importantly, we were able to introduce it in a really great way.”

INDUSTRY

TikTok Gaming, the social media giant’s dedicated in-app games platform, is slated to bring HTML-5 games to users after testing in China and Vietnam, according to a report from the Financial Times. TikTok was expected to announce the initiative during “TikTok Made Me Play It,” the company’s “first global gaming event.” Representatives of Electronic Arts, 2K, mobile behemoth Homa Games and several other organizations are scheduled to present at the event.

As with most mobile game apps, TikTok will serve content with in-game advertising and options to for microtransactions, the Times said. The model will allow new monetization opportunities on the app, where creators have thus far relied on third-party sponsorships as their primary source of income.

Regardless of what the future holds for gaming on TikTok, the company is clearly bullish on its effect on the space and its cultural influence.

“The future of gaming is here—and it’s happening on TikTok,” the platform said on the TikTok Made Me Play It site. “TikTok is the gaming industry’s No. 1 gateway to growth.”

Esports Business Summit attendees saw an exclusive preview of FPS: First Person Shooter, a documentary on the making of bestselling action titles such as Doom, Halo, and Call of Duty. The 40-minute screening explored the origins of 1993’s Doom and 1997’s GoldenEye 007 on Nintendo 64, both of which were watershed titles in competitive gaming and console FPS.

FPS: First Person Shooter will offer more than three hours of behind-the-scenes stories about the genre and is scheduled to launch in Summer 2023. The documentary brings together the largest cast of game designers, pro players and industry experts ever assembled on-screen with dozens of industry luminaries. For more information, including pre-order availability, visit FPSDOC.com.

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