Allied Esports announced a deal with HyperX for an exclusive naming rights partnership and multiyear agreement that will see Allied Esports’ flagship property, located at the Luxor Hotel & Casino, renamed as the HyperX Esports Arena Las Vegas. The partnership comprises co-branded experiences and events that will include unique opportunities with HyperX’s personalities, esports athletes and influencers; co-branded content and collateral in-venue, online and on social platforms; marketing, promotion and product activations; and a prominent retail presence in Las Vegas. HyperX Esports Arena Las Vegas branding will be integrated across all social media platforms starting today. As part of the partnership, HyperX will be sponsoring events at HyperX Esports Arena Las Vegas from Jan. 9-12 during CES.
Esports Stadium Arlington announced that NVIDIA will become the official graphics platform of the venue, which opens as the largest dedicated esports facility in North America. As a founding member, NVIDIA brings high-end graphics cards and NVIDIA G-SYNC technology to enhance the gaming experience for gamers in this state-of-the-art facility. NVIDIA.
PlayStation will officially return as the Fiesta Bowl title sponsor as part of a multi-year agreement with ESPN. This year’s PlayStation Fiesta Bowl will be played on Jan. 1 at 1p at State Farm Stadium in Glendale. The category-exclusive deal secures PlayStation as the official gaming and virtual reality sponsor for the College Football Playoff and its New Year’s Six Bowl games. ESPN will once again collaborate with PlayStation on multimedia content integrations across ESPN programming, featuring PlayStation brand messaging “Greatness Awaits” to drive anticipation for both the bowl and regular seasons. PlayStation and the Fiesta Bowl organization are also engaged in a partnership, in which PlayStation integrates into game week activities.
Razer and Williams Esports, part of the world-famous Williams Formula 1 team, announced a strategic partnership that will see Team Razer and Williams Esports join forces in multiple areas of racing esports. This marks the first collaboration from Team Razer with a professional Formula 1 esports team and will see both Team Razer and Williams F1 Esports working together on future initiatives and activities, including the development of innovative technology solutions such as Hypersense, to give drivers greater immersion and situational awareness in both training and competition.
The Call of Duty World League
‘s new season will see the org sport a new partner, with ASUS signing on to provide the official monitors for all CWL events as play gears up. Previously, ZOWIE’s BenQ monitors had been the official monitors for CWL. All 2019 CWL LAN events will now feature the ASUS VG245H .
Razer also signed on to serve as the official esports partner of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, an eleven-country international sporting event where esports will be recognized as a medal sport for the first time in history. “The Philippines is the first host country for this tournament. This lends credence to professional gaming as a true world-class sporting contest, as it engages a new generation of gaming fans,” said Alan Peter Cayetano, PhilSGOC Chairman. “Razer is a pioneer and a prime mover in esports, and we cannot ask for a better partner in this historic journey,” he added.
Global esports organization Gen.G announced a sponsorship agreement with SIDIZ, Korea’s top chair manufacturer. Through the partnership, SIDIZ is providing gaming chairs to Gen.G teams who train at Seoul HQ — Seoul Dynasty, LoL, PUBG, Heroes of the Storm and Overwatch Contenders.
Riot Games made its changes to the League of Legends European Championship official, announcing the 10 franchised teams that will take part in the new season as well as a rebranding of the event. The league will now be known as the LEC instead of the EU LCS, complete with a new logo. Taking part in the league will be 10 teams who locked in agreements to buy a slot, blending new and old squads across Europe – Fnatic, Schalke 04, G2 Esports, Misfits Gaming, Origen, Excel Esports, Rogue, SK Gaming, Splyce and Team Vitality. The LEC will formally kick off on Jan. 18.
OverActive Media Group Inc. is going all in on Splyce, announcing that the company is taking ownership of the long-time esports operation, which includes more than seven international esports teams, including the newly-awarded franchise in the League of Legends European Championship as well as more than 40 team operations, marketing and content staff. The addition of Splyce and the LEC franchise alongside ownership of the Toronto Defiant of the Overwatch League and leading team organizations across Call of Duty, Rocket League, Smite, Paladins, Halo and Starcraft II consolidates OAM into a leading global esports brand joining Cloud9, Optic Gaming and Misfits as the only esports organizations in the world with permanent slots in both League of Legends and the Overwatch League.
After being accepted into the LEC, Team Vitality announced that it had locked in around $22.7 million in financing led by entrepreneur Tej Kohli. The investment will be used to develop “state-of-the-art facilities,” as well as a store, office, and training centers.
SPORT1 announced plans to launch the first esports channel in the German-speaking countries – eSPORTS1. The network will go on air on Jan. 24 as the first linear TV channel for esports in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The pay-TV station will initially be distributed via the platforms of Vodafone Deutschland, Deutsche Telekom, Unitymedia, 1&1, T-Mobile Austria, A1 Telekom, UPC Schweiz and Zattoo and offer at least 1,200 live hours of premium national and international esports events next year as well as highlight formats and self-produced magazine shows.
FIFA and EA SPORTS unveiled the FIFA 19 Global Series Rankings, which will serve as a dedicated world rankings platform for its esports players that will allow players and fans to monitor the progress of the world’s top competitive FIFA players throughout the season on the Road to the FIFA eWorld Cup. The new FIFA 19 Global Series Rankings will be updated on FIFA.gg every Tuesday after Weekend League and competitive events within the Global Series, providing fans with an interactive platform to monitor the progress of the top FUT Champions verified FIFA 19 players around the world.
Twitch is doubling down on TwitchCon, heading to Europe in April of next year for the debut of TwitchCon Europe. The event will take place in Berlin’s CityCube from April 13-14, offering a slate of expo halls, community and industry panels, and more. “TwitchCon was created to celebrate everyone who plays a role in the Twitch community,” said Kate Jhaveri, Chief Marketing Officer at Twitch, in the announcement. “We’re excited to bring TwitchCon to Europe for the first time.”
PlayVS reeled in $30.5 million in a Series B funding round, led by Elysian Park Ventures, the investment arm of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The American high school esports tournament organizer also partnered with Psyonix and Hi-Rez Studios in order to feature Rocket League and SMITE into its inaugural season alongside Riot Games’ League of Legends. Overall, five existing investors were involved in the funding round, alongside new investors: adidas, Samsung NEXT, Plexo Capital, Sean “Diddy” Combs, David Drummond, Rahul Mehta, Rich Dennis, Michael Dubin, Nat Turner, and Johnny Hou. The inaugural season of the initiative kicks off in February 2019.
Steam officially has a vertical in China, with the launch of Steam China in partnership with Perfect World.
DreamHack Atlanta played host to tens of thousands of esports fans and multiple tournaments including 2018’s Hi-Rez Expo (HRX). In previous years, HRX was held as a separate event, catering to die-hard fans of Hi-Rez titles like Smite, Paladins, and Hand of Gods. This shift from a standalone event to teaming with organizer DreamHack was likely made to introduce HRX to a wider field, while still satisfying their original audience. To quantify the potential impact of this partnership, FanAI compared the common followers between DreamHack and three publishers represented at the event. In addition to Hi-Rez, this study also looked at Valve and Blizzard, whose titles are strongly associated with DreamHack. Hi-Rez reached only 7.7% of DreamHack’s followers, far less crossover when compared to the larger percentages of DreamHack’s long-time partners Blizzard and Valve. This suggests that Hi-Rez titles were exposed to a potentially untapped audience through their participation at DreamHack Atlanta, showing the value of creating new partnerships for large scale events.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday drove consumer spend in the gaming market to year-over-year spikes as digital spending rose 14.3%, compared to the same weekend in 2017. This was thanks to in-game content deals and releases that include Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII and Red Dead Redemption II, according to Superdata. Premium console revenue climbed to $1B worldwide, up 24.5% compared to last year’s sales, while premium PC generated $586M, an increase of 18.3% for the segment. “Video games have become a layered experience,” explained Joost Van Dreunen, Managing Director at SuperData. “Beyond just a big, loud launch, blockbuster titles today rely on a variety of different consumer touchpoints, including live streaming video, real-life events, digital sales, and crossplay multiplayer gameplay. Large publishers like Activision and TakeTwo have managed to incorporate these new avenues into their Q4 releases and the numbers show that audiences have responded in kind.”
Meanwhile, Fortnite has now topped the 200 million mark for registered users, according to Bloomberg. That number is up 60% since Epic Games’ last report in June, which was at 125 million.
The US Federal Trade Commission will investigate loot boxes in video games, citing concerns about problem gambling and children’s susceptibility to addiction. Meanwhile, GamesIndustry writes that a rep for the Entertainment Software Association addressed the news, stating “Loot boxes are one way that players can enhance the experience that video games offer. Contrary to assertions, loot boxes are not gambling. They have no real-world value, players always receive something that enhances their experience, and they are entirely optional to purchase. They can enhance the experience for those who choose to use them, but have no impact on those who do not.”
A trio of familiar faces are teaming up to launch Electronic Sports Group, a global esports advisory firm, that will be anchored by MLG co-founder Mike Sepso and former NBA and IMG executive Bobby Sharma with Ken Hershman, former President of HBO Sports, and former Executive Chairman and Commissioner of the World Esports Association also serving as a partner. ESG will open with a strategic relationship with Nielsen in place to provide ESG with esports fan insights and sponsorship valuation data to support ESG’s consulting work. In addition, ESG announced a strategic partnership with Sports Media Advisors (SMA) as the two firms plan to jointly advise clients seeking media and esports expertise.
Former OpTic Gaming faces Simon Bennett and Markel Lee announced the launch of AoE Creative, described as “the first independent, full spectrum, creative and marketing agency specializing in esports, gaming, and nerd culture.” Bennett previously worked as Blizzard Entertainment, Razer, FACEIT, Houston Outlaws, Wargaming.net, and OpTic Gaming, while Lee’s background includes Evil Geniuses, OpTic Gaming, Houston Outlaws, KIT, EVO, CEO, Panda X Gaming, and PVP Live. The agency will offer design, creative, and branding solutions, as well marketing strategies and fan activations to organizations within the gaming, nerd culture, and esports space. AoE’s first confirmed clients will be Linden Labs / Sansar Studios, who have created virtual spaces for both Fnatic (Fnatic Meta Bunker) and OpTic Gaming (Greenwall VR), as well as Boston Uprising.