12/08/22: The fallout from the Smash World Tour’s cancellation continued this week

 

Medias First Morning Read
Thursday December 8, 2022

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

The fallout from the Smash World Tour’s cancellation continued this week as Panda Global CEO Dr. Alan Bunney was ousted from the organization. Bunney was cited by multiple Super Smash Bros. tournament organizers as having attempted to coerce organizations into placing their events within the Panda Cup, a Nintendo-backed Smash tournament circuit.

Bunney has since denied the allegations publicly on Twitter with Smash World Tour firing back after the former CEO claimed Smash World Tour mischaracterized his involvement in the event’s shutdown, but scrutiny from the community has already led to Panda Global’s implosion. Around 80% of Panda Global’s once-standard-setting fighting game roster has left the organization, and more than 30 players have also decided not to attend the Panda Cup Finale, the championship for the Panda Cup. The rejection of tournament slots and concerns about the safety of Panda Global staff and contractors at the event have led to the postponement of the Finale.

“Panda employees are working with outside advisers to form a temporary Interim Management Committee (IMC) to act as CEO to navigate this critical time,” Panda Global said in a statement Monday announcing Bunney’s ouster. “Panda is committed to do our part to move the competitive Smash community above and beyond the current situation.”

COMPETITION

The Call of Duty League’s return to Twitch led to best-ever numbers in non-championship viewership, according to data from Esports Charts. The CDL opened its 2023 season with Stage 1 Major qualifiers, and despite in-game difficulties and delays, the weekend saw average viewership of nearly 125,000 and peak viewership of just more than 192,000. OpTic Texas’ matchup against the Florida Mutineers held the top spot in peak viewership, and another OpTic series against the Minnesota RØKKR drew the No. 2 spot with almost 171,000 PVs. A rematch of the CDL 2022 final between Atlanta FaZe and LA Thieves was the third-most-watched of the opening weekend with 165,000 PVs.

OpTic Gaming has postponed its Halo Championship Series season-opening event due to ongoing roster adjustments for participating teams. In an email to ticket holders, OpTic said the organization had “challenges with getting enough Halo teams to commit to the tournament.” With the postponement of the OpTic event, the new opener for the HCS 2023 season will be Spacestation Gaming’s tournament, the Spacestation Spartan Showdown, which will take place online on Jan. 13-14. The first major of the HCS season is scheduled for Feb. 24-26, though it’s unlikely just one event will remain on the calendar before that tournament in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Popular streamer Ludwig “Ludwig” Ahgren will host a Smash tournament to fill in the space left by the Smash World Tour controversy and give SWT invitees a chance to compete and make some money, the Mogul Moves creator announced. The event will take place Dec. 18, with the top eight players from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Super Smash Bros. Melee invited. Ahgren said on Twitter he will provide a $50,000 prize pool for the event and also use it to support VGBootcamp, the organizer that set up the Smash World Tour prior to receiving notice that Nintendo would not provide a license for it to operate during its 2022 world championship or going into 2023.

Layoffs hit High School Esports League owner Generation Esports earlier this week, according to a report from The Fudge Retort by James Fudge. The shakeup follows an earlier round of layoffs in September. Fudge also discovered HSEL and Generation Esports co-founder Charles Reilly has not been part of company operations since late July. HSEL, a platform for secondary school tournament organization that offers prize pools and infrastructure, still lists one of the people reportedly affected by the layoffs, Holly Gray, as a member of its board of directors.

REX/VP PRESENTS

In this episode, REV/XP Senior Vice President Chris Mann is joined by Misfits VP of Partnerships Nicole Du Cane Spenser to discuss Misfits Gaming’s recent transition to creator-focused opportunities such as launching TubNet and signing QTCinderella.

STREAMHATCHET

The 2022 Game Awards premiere tonight on major live streaming platforms and will award the best of the best publishers, developers, designers, and more working in the video games industry. The Game Awards will also answer one question on everyone’s mind: who will be crowned this year’s Game of the Year?

Six games are nominated for the award: Horizon Forbidden West, Elden Ring, Stray, Xenoblade Chronicles 3, A Plague Take: Requiem, and God of War: Ragnarök. While live streaming performance doesn’t always directly indicate the quality of a video game, trends across Twitch, YouTube Gaming, and other live streaming platforms can indicate popularity and help us understand whether a game will stand the test of time.

Read more on Stream Hatchet’s blog.

SPONSORSHIP & ACTIVATION

Samsung will be the presenting sponsor for Qualcomm and ESL FACEIT Group’s Snapdragon Pro Series, the organizations announced today. The deal will put Samsung devices in SPS competitors’ hands through Snapdragon Masters in 2024 starting with the SPS’ first multi-title mobile esports finals from Dec. 9-11 at DreamHack Valencia. “We’re committed to bringing high-performance Samsung Galaxy devices powered by Snapdragon to the hands of billions of gamers around the world to promote both camaraderie and competition,” Stephanie Choi, Executive Vice President and Head of Global Marketing for Samsung, said in a statement. “This announcement deepens our existing collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies and is an important next step in our pursuit [of] advancing mobile technology in the esports world.”

Blitz.gg, an esports tournament platform, has partnered with finance company Mana Interactive to create incentive models for users across Blitz’s portfolio. The initiative will provide subscribers to Mana Interactive’s Mana Pro debit card program a yearlong subscription to Blitz Pro, which offers users enhanced tracking of in-game performance via API data points across League of Legends, Teamfight Tactics and VALORANT. Rewards programs including Microsoft and Sony gift cards as well as tournaments sponsored by Blitz are also on the table, according to a statement.

Astralis is leaning into its national roots through a car-sharing app partnership with :Dribe. The :Dribe app allows users vehicle access through a subscription service, and the Danish startup’s partnership with a fellow Danish esports organization might help raise awareness for an alternative to car ownership in the country. :Dribe hopes to expand beyond the Danish borders in the future as well, and Astralis will use and promote the app going forward. “We will make much more use of this in the future, both when it comes to our team and other activities,” Astralis commercial director Kasper Sindt said in a statement.

Amazon and Riot Games will partner to produce RE/LOAD, a fan-focused VALORANT event and “global celebration” of the esport. The activation will include five-on-five Pro-Am matches featuring notable VALORANT influencers, music and guest appearances and air on Twitch alongside in-person activation. “Valorant lives at the intersection of competitive gaming and up-and-coming music,” Riot Games Senior Director of Brand Marketing Nikki Lewis said in a statement. “Partnering with Amazon’s Crown Channel to throw an in-person event like RE//LOAD — both a gaming event, starring some of Valorant’s fan-favorite streamers, and a music event, featuring rising artists like Mike Dimes, Jae Park, and Dabin — was a no-brainer.”

Cynopsis First Look 2023: OTT Virtual Conference – March 15th, 2023

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YOUGOV LIVING DATA INSIGHTS

The social media dilemma of US esports fans

American esports fans are way likelier than the overall population to believe that social media changes their life for the better, but they also worry about how much time they spend on it.

TEAMS

TSM has named former soccer executive Stephan Cieplik as its chief revenue officer as the company looks for new opportunities beyond an ill-fated partnership with cryptocurrency exchange FTX. Cieplik most recently served as the Senior Vice President of Global Partnership Sales for City Football Group, a holding company that features Manchester City, New York City FC and other franchises around the world. Cieplik told the Sports Business Journal that he hopes to leverage his previous relationships to take advantage of the growing crossover opportunities between traditional sports and esports.

Cloud9 has cut its Apex Legends team, according to statements from the players. Paris “StayNauhgty” Gouzoulis, one of three former competitors for C9 in the battle royale title, said the organization “is not able to support us anymore” due to “unforeseen circumstances” facing the company. The decision comes in the midst of the beginning of the Apex Legends Global Series Pro League’s third season, and the players said they will seek a new home to continue their ALGS hopes – one that ideally can keep the trio together.

Betting platform Rivalry will roll the dice on an esports org via a partnership with Blacklist International, the organizations announced earlier this week. Blacklist Rivalry will compete in Dota 2 and be part of the Southeast Asian region during the Dota Pro Circuit for 2023, according to a statement. The move comes a week after Rivalry announced its first-ever profitable month and a strong finish to Q3 that hinged on high esports wagering volume and the success of its online casino property.

After a disappointing 2022, Team Liquid Honda revealed their League of Legends roster for the 2023 League Championship Series season. League of Legends World Championship winner and jungler Hong “Pyosik” Chang-hyeon highlights the new roster, with longtime South Korean standout Park “Summit” Woo-tae joining Liquid in the top lane. This will be Summit’s second stint in North America, where he played with Cloud9 in the spring of 2022. The duo, along with another former world champ in longtime Liquid support Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in, will hope to guide mid laner Harry “Haeri” Kang and AD carry Sean “Yeon” Sung, two players from Liquid’s developmental team, in their first year of Tier 1 pro play.

INDUSTRY

The Federal Trade Commission’s stance on Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision-Blizzard might be more complex than initially expected, according to a report from the New York Post. Following reports of the FTC exploring an antitrust lawsuit to block the deal, the Post reported that there’s at least one dissenting voice in the four-person panel that would decide whether to oppose the merger.

Streamer Tyler “Trainwrecks” Faraz Nikham’s newly endorsed streaming platform, Kick, got off to a rough start earlier this week as users struggled to set up authentication and discovered a user interface startlingly similar to that of Twitch. Several streams on Kick also appeared to be embeds of Twitch streams rather than people participating on the new platform, which Trainwrecks said he launched because of unfair payment practices by Twitch for lower-tier creators. His decision, however, might also be motivated by Twitch’s ban on gambling content that included platforms not licensed in the U.S., one of which had proved lucrative for Trainwrecks prior to its removal from the streaming platform. Trainwrecks told The Washington Post that the owner of Stake, the crypto gambling company Trainwrecks uses on his gambling streams, also invested in Kick.

Esports media organization Jaxon has shuttered its application and website services after losing funding from its main backers. Axel Springer SE, a German company that co-founded Jaxon alongside Samsung Electronics and Upday, cut funding for Jaxon earlier this year, according to Esports Insider. After that decision, Samsung pulled its funds as well. The closure of Jaxon adds to a tough year in esports and games media, which has seen brands such as Inven Global, G4 TV, Upcomer, Fanbyte and others cut costs or shutter entirely.

Getting back to Microsoft, the Xbox creator will raise prices on first-party games made for the current-gen Xbox Series X or Series S to $70 this coming year, according to a report from IGN. The $10 bump in price for Microsoft-created titles matches similar pricing from rival Sony, which made the move to $70 titles with the PlayStation 5, and other developers including Ubisoft and Take-Two. Microsoft will hope to leverage its Game Pass subscription service to ease the new price point, as subscribed players get access to games in the first-party portfolio for free. “This price reflects the content, scale, and technical complexity of these titles,” Microsoft said in a statement to IGN. “As with all games developed by our teams at Xbox, they will also be available with Game Pass the same day they launch.”
 

READYUP EVENTS OF THE WEEK
 

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TRIVIA
It’s December, so it’s time for some holiday trivia! What is the name of Bill Murray’s character in his classic holiday riff on A Christmas Carol? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).

Answer to Our Last Trivia Question
The latest game in the Pokémon franchise releases on Friday; when did the first two titles in the series release in the U.S., and what platform did they release on? Answer: 1998 on Nintendo Game Boy. Kudos: David Westberg/SAG•AFTRA Federal Credit Union, Burbank CA

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BRIGHTCOVE/Remote:
Operate and analyze ad tech stack, optimizing on the partner level as well as overall enterprise level. Onboard and manage new programmatic (SSP and Ad Network) partners and assist in any troubleshooting around SSP setups, partner integrations and ad delivery. 7-10+ years of ad operations experience in the programmatic ad tech ecosystem. Full info HERE (12/22)

DISTRIBUTION COORDINATOR >>
BBC STUDIOS/NYC:
Frequently liaise with senior level internal & external contacts, screening & prioritizing all forms of incoming communications, dealing with routine issues & coordinating more complex responses ensuring these are delivered in a timely and effective manner. 3+ yrs of exp. providing administrative assistance at Executive level in the Media industry. Full info HERE (12/21)

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DIRECTOR, DIGITAL CONTENT & EMAIL MARKETING
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Lead strategic design and user-experience vision for the current website, INSP.com. Make front-end and back-end design recommendations and evaluate the potential for a reimagined user-experience for the site. Manage multiple project timelines and executions simultaneously for maximum efficiency. 5+ yrs exp. leading management of a website property. Full info HERE (12/20)

VICE PRESIDENT, CREATIVE MARKETING & PROMOTION
INSP
CHARLOTTE

Responsible for all elements of the creation, pre-production, production, and post-production of all on-air promotion videos, off channel ads, digital/social video content and other video projects created for other departments. Manage Creative Marketing & Promotion department. Min 10 yrs exp. at a broadcast or cable entertainment network. Full info HERE (12/20)

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RESEARCH DIRECTOR >>
HEARST MEDIA PRODUCTION GROUP/CHARLOTTE, NC: Support with audience and consumer information related to our national programming. This role will compile and analyze linear, digital and OTT cross platform viewership for the purposes of strategic planning and to create actionable internal insights and client presentations. Full info HERE (12/19)

SR. PRODUCER >>
MATTER OF FACT WITH SOLEDAD O’BRIEN/WASHINGTON, DC: Must have highly developed program production skills, a keen eye for visual and graphic show elements, and an editorial commitment to amplifying diverse voices in the conversation about the nation’s future. The Senior Producer will assist with production scheduling and budget. Full info HERE (12/19)

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Manage post production storage systems both on premises and in the cloud. Collaborate Production Operations team to ensure that workflows align across the wider A+E enterprise. 5 years experience as a Manager in post production technical support. Comprehensive knowledge of post production workflows and processes. Full info HERE (12/17)

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MANAGER, CROSS PLATFORM AUDIENCE RESEARCH
SHOWTIME
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Aggregate & analyze data from various sources to develop audience insights & help drive programming/marketing strategy across traditional and streaming platforms. 3+ years’ experience in media research at a broadcast/cable net, streamer or an agency. Strong Nielsen & data viz tools a must plus MS Office, quant, comm & presentation skills. Full info HERE (12/16)

DIRECTOR, CLOUD ARCHIVE STRATEGY & MNGT- MEDIA OPS
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EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT, US DISTRIBUTION >>
BBC STUDIOS/NY, CHICAGO, LA: Frequently liaise with senior level internal and external contacts, screening and prioritizing all forms of incoming communications, dealing with routine issues and coordinating more complex responses ensuring these are delivered in a timely and effective manner. Manage Executive’s travel logistics and scheduling. 3+ yrs of exp. Full info HERE (12/15)

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER >>
NEWSMAX/ NYC: Determine best news stories for the program and create daily rundown. Work with show host in program preparation and execution. Identify compelling news stories. Develop story ideas, research and plan segments. Delegate responsibilities as appropriate. Supervise production staff. 3+ years executive producing exp. or overseeing newscast production. Full info HERE (12/15)

HEAD of INFLUENCER TALENT >>
THE OUTLOUD GROUP/ Remote, DETROIT:
Responsible for developing and expanding a roster of content creators and growing Outloud Talent as a business unit. You’ll provide one-on-one support and guidance to your roster of talent. Looking for someone with 3+ years of experience managing content creators and comfortable with building from the ground up. Full info HERE (12/15)

SALES SERVICE EXECUTIVE
TV ONE
NYC

Client and agency interface, attending client social events, and supporting the multi-platform sales process. Customize client presentations and provide effective information to drive budgets. Research target accounts and create strategy to break new business and increase share. Min of 3-4 yrs exp. in digital, radio or linear sales. Full info HERE (12/14)

DIRECTOR, SCHEDULING & ACQUISITIONS
TV ONE
SILVER SPRING, Hybrid Remote

Work closely with SVP, Scheduling & Acquisitions and team to develop programming strategies/schedules that achieve or exceed rating & revenue goals. Manage the production of network schedule grids from scheduling database & supervise schedule changes across platforms. Min of 5 yrs exp. scheduling and acquisition w/cable/digital channel or network. Full info HERE (12/14)

MEDIA SPECIALIST I, PRODUCTION FACILITY & CONTENT MANAGEMENT
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Serve as the lead in initiating content request fulfillment by tracking and pulling requested media. Review, transfer, and archive all content that arrives on hard drives and DVDs. Upload, catalog, and archive media from photography and field shoots. 5+ years of experience in the field of digital media or cable/broadcast. Full info HERE (12/14)

SR. COORDINATOR/ASSOCIATE MANAGER, INTEGRATED MARKETING
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Respond to RFP, RFI and general Sales Requests: concept and formulate both large- and small-scale ideas into innovative, marketable programs that are custom-made for specific client initiatives and their associated KPIs. Champion the vision and go-to-market strategy and linear sales positioning. Min 2-yrs in media or sales/marketing company. Full info HERE (12/13)

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Manage the execution strategy that tackles broad and ambiguous product and engineering problems.
Senior Technical Program Manager
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https://www.twitch.tv/jobs/en/careers/

Create cutting edge entertainment and deliver industry leading tech, game art and overall gaming experiences.
Senior Advanced Software Engineer
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https://careers.wbgames.com/careers/

Work with the Tech Leads, Release Team and Build Team to ship our builds on all supported platforms and store fronts.
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https://career.paradoxplaza.com/jobs

Key role designing, developing and delivering new tools and features to our content teams.
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Wilsonville OR

https://www.remedygames.com/careers/

Your work will focus on designing worldbuilding tools and optimization to improve the environment art team’s efficiency.
Senior Environment Technical Artist
Remedy Entertainment

Wilsonville OR
https://www.remedygames.com/careers/

Provides security recommendations on service and design for cloud infrastructure, as well as policies and standards.
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https://careers.nintendo.com/job-openings/

Define and manage all stages of production for product focused websites.
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https://careers.nintendo.com/job-openings/

Oversee the operations for existing Esports programs and support participation in consumer, trade, and Esports events.
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https://www.bandainamcoent.com/careers

Refine our art production pipeline to help execute our artistic and game vision.
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https://www.twitch.tv/jobs/en/careers/

Maintain open dialogues with customers, inviting feedback, looking for areas of improvement.
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https://sms.playstation.com/careers

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