Good morning! It’s Thursday and this is your early morning Esports and gaming brief.
Kroenke Sports and Entertainment-backed esports organization The Guard has laid off the majority of its staff
, with only a skeleton crew remaining to support its competitive programs.
The Guard was founded in 2021 as KSE, a holding company for billionaire Stan Kroenke’s sports and entertainment ventures, expanded beyond its existing Overwatch League (Los Angeles Gladiators) and Call of Duty League (Los Angeles Guerrillas) esports teams. The organization supported VALORANT and Apex Legends programs under its The Guard banner, and those teams will continue to compete through 2023, according to a report from The Esports Advocate.
The Guard’s social media channels remain active, and KSE and the organization have not commented nor released additional information about the future of its teams or remaining staff. The organization joins a handful of other high-profile organizations that have conducted layoffs in 2023, with 100 Thieves and FaZe Clan also among those looking to cut back despite large-scale investors.
This year’s Pokémon World Championships will take place in Yokohama, Japan. The event will take place Aug. 11-13 and include trading card game and Pokémon Scarlet and Violet video game competitions, alongside championships in the competitive multiplayer element of Pokémon GO and Nintendo multiplayer online battle arena title Pokémon UNITE.
The ESL Pro Tour will bring StarCraft II competition to two DreamHack events this year, according to parent company ESL FACEIT Group. The ESL StarCraft II Masters will take place at DreamHack Summer in June in Jönköping, Sweden, and DreamHack Atlanta in December. The two-session season will bring its finals to both events, with a $200,000 prize pool on the line.
The Women’s Car Ball League, a Rocket League circuit, will continue, thanks to acquisition of the property by Gamers First. G1 purchased Women’s Car Ball from Kansas City Pioneers, which had suspended operation of the league in January due to a lack of sponsorship or investment funds. G1’s first action, the organization said, will be to pay off debts and prize money owed from when KC Pioneers owned the league. Women’s Car Ball is scheduled to start up again March 18.
Longtime endemic tournament organizer Beyond the Summit is shuttering, co-founder David “LD” Gorman announced. BTS has put on esports events for 11 years, starting with Dota 2 competitions and expanding into fighting games and other titles while becoming a household name in those communities. “We’ve been through tough times before, so we had high hopes that we could withstand this recession,” LD said in a statement. “Over the last year, as economic conditions have worsened across the industry, we have been working hard to build a pipeline of business to weather the storm. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, things haven’t broken our way.”
How CS:GO Continues to Attract Players and Break Records
On February 11th, Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) reached a peak of 1.320M players on Steam, breaking its previous record of 1.308M players set in 2020. Just 8 days later, the FPS broke its Steam record again with 1.324M concurrent players.
How does an 11-year-old game continue to break records and gain popularity? Looking at live streaming can help us understand some possible answers to that question.
From 2017 to 2022, the game’s average Steam player count and total hours watched both grew by approximately 63%, and saw similar peaks and valleys along the way. Keeping fans interested with content updates, DLC, and item drops, as well as supporting a healthy esports ecosystem has helped the game steadily grow in popularity over the years.
Read more on Stream Hatchet’s blog.
| SPONSORSHIP & ACTIVATION
Streaming sensation Tyler “Ninja” Blevins has signed on with GameSquare as its Chief Innovation Officer. Ninja, who built his streaming empire off Fortnite activations with pro athletes, rapper Drake, and others, will help GameSquare launch Ninja Labs, an incubator for development of youth culture-focused products and content. “I want to build the next big thing in gaming, and I found that in GameSquare,” Ninja said. “[GameSquare CEO] Justin [Kenna] and the team have put together a world-class platform that will help me innovate and create engaging experiences to inspire the next generation of streamers and leave a lasting impact on the industry.”
Team Liquid is expanding its roots in Brazil through a partnership with esports betting platform unikrn. The deal lets Team Liquid lean into an entity with deep ties to the region: Brazil is one of unikrn’s primary places of business; it also does business in Canada but is currently unavailable in the U.S. The partnership will also include an activation in São Paulo, with Team Liquid and unikrn bringing in Liquid content creators and players to compete against and interact with Brazilian fans.
Guild Esports is hoping an expansion into content services might help its business, with the organization announcing the launch of Guild Studios, a content production company. Guild, which is dealing with financial hurdles amid a tough market in 2023, also recently appointed a new CFO and COO and is looking for ways to diversify its revenue streams. “Guild Studios enables us to monetize our vast in-house expertise in esports by supporting brand owners and sponsors with innovative campaigns, branded content and advertising to a range of companies looking to grow their engagement,” CEO Jasmine Skee said in a statement.
Chipotle is now a presenting partner for international fighting game tournament Evo, and preparation for the 2023 edition of the tournament is underway. Also known as the Evolution Championship Series, Evo brings thousands of fighting game fans from around the world to Las Vegas each year and is known for creating some of the best moments in the history of the fighting game community and esports as a whole. The event will take place Aug. 4-6 with eight games as part of the program: Street Fighter VI, Guilty Gear -Strive-, Mortal Kombat 11: Ultimate, TEKKEN 7, The King of Fighter XV, Melty Blood: Type Lumina, Dragon Ball FighterZ, and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
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YOUGOV LIVING DATA INSIGHTS
How do gamers find out about new titles?
Word of mouth marketing is still among the most powerful tools in the world of gaming, with a third of American gamers saying they learn about new titles from friends (34%). A similar proportion of gamers find out about new games from online shops (34%), followed by gaming websites (29%), gaming personalities (28%) and browsing in a game shop (25%).
Team Dignitas has signed former Fortnite World Cup champion Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf. Bugha, who was previously with Sentinels before the org cut its competitive Fortnite program, is known for winning the inaugural Fortnite World Cup at 16 years old and claiming the $3 million prize that went with the title. The 20-year-old is now a three-time Fortnite Champion Series title winner as well. “I’m excited to represent one of the best teams in esports who believes in me and in the future of Fortnite,” Bugha said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to competing with my new teammates, winning championships, and making a positive impact on the gaming industry together.”
Esports org TENSTAR has ceased operations, according to a statement from the company Friday. TENSTAR sponsored teams in VALORANT and Rainbow Six: Siege but struggled to find additional investment as a smaller org with little opportunity for venture backing. “Both of these titles have recently ring-fenced Tier 1, making Tier 2 competition unattractive,” TENSTAR said in a statement. “Winning a [VALORANT Challengers League title] will barely generate enough revenue to pay one player, for one month [it’s] completely unsustainable without considerable third-party investment.” The organization said it still owes money to players and is working to meet those obligations.
OverActive Media president and CEO Chris Overholt is leaving his post to pursue other opportunities, according to a report from The Canadian Press. OverActive co-founder and chief strategy officer Adam Adamou will step into an interim CEO role after a 30-day transition period, the company said. “Under Chris’ leadership, OverActive has emerged as one of the world’s leading esports organizations,” OverActive chair Sheldon Pollack said in a statement. “His experience, passion, and vision for our potential has established a strong foundation on which we will continue building our business.”
Moist Esports co-owner and popular streamer Ludwig “Ludwig” Ahgren announced the addition of a VALORANT team for the organization he recently invested in. Moist, which was founded by fellow content creator Charles “MoistCr1TiKaL” White Jr., spent $500,000 on the North American VALORANT Challengers roster, according to a tweet from Ludwig. That roster, formerly known as BreakThru, will compete as Moist Moguls going forward, a combination of the organization name and Ludwig’s Mogul Moves brand. Moist Moguls debuted under its new banner with a 2-0 loss during group stage competition Tuesday.
ESL FACEIT Group has acquired esports production and data analytics company Vindex, the organizations announced. Belong Gaming Arenas, previously a Vindex organization, will not be part of the acquisition, according to a statement from the companies. The acquisition brings together some of the most formidable forces in esports tournament organization, with Vindex vertical Esports Engine, a tournament production company, complementing both ESL and competition platform FACEIT. “The combination with Vindex brings together the power of our brands with a new scale in infrastructure and production capabilities,” EFG co-CEO Craig Levine said. “As one, this will help serve new communities of gamers and accelerate gaming culture globally.”
Massively popular role-playing game Elden Ring is getting an expansion, developer FromSoftware announced, sparking renewed interest in a title widely considered the best game of 2022. There are few details on the expansion, titled “Shadow of the Erdtree,” beyond that FromSoftware has confirmed that it’is in development. The announcement comes a week after publisher Bandai Namco announced Elden Ring had sold more than 20 million units ahead of the Feb. 25 one-year anniversary of its launch.
EA has cut about 200 employees from its quality assurance workforce, according to a report from Kotaku. The employees were all focused on battle royale title Apex Legends, which is developed by Respawn Entertainment but published by EA. The work done at the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, office will be delegated out to a global team of remote playtesters, EA said in a statement.
Ampere Analysis reports that global console spending fell in 2022, with supply chain issues affecting Sony and Microsoft as a catalyst for the 7.8% year-over-year decrease in spending to $56.2 billion, according to a report from GamesIndustry.biz. Nintendo products were included in the analysis, though a lack of hardware updates beyond introducing an OLED version of the Nintendo Switch in late 2021 made little impact on the downswing in spending. According to the report, however, Microsoft holds the smallest share of console market spending, with 27.3% of revenue going toward Xbox products. Nintendo is second at 27.7%, while Sony owns 45% of the market.
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Remember: March is ___ History Month. ([email protected] with your answer, and be sure to include your name, company and city). Answer to Our Last Trivia Question: What is the name of the upcoming expansion for Destiny 2 set to release next week? Answer: Lightfall Kudos: Tom Moore | Kalt Productions, Los Angeles
|AD SALES MARKETING MANAGER >>
Drive advertiser revenue growth on a TOP 25 network. Develop sales materials, presentations, one-sheets. Manage B2B marketing projects & execute sponsorships. Strong deck-writing abilities, positive attitude, self-motivated, collaborative, creative, superior communication skills with a keen eye for detail. 5+ yrs in Sales Marketing preferred. Full info HERE
DIRECTOR, AD SALES RESEARCH
Collect, analyze, & interpret audience data (Nielsen, MRI, iSpot, etc.) for recurring sales reports & ad hoc requests. Synthesize large data sets from multiple sources into compelling & strategic insights for our Linear, CTV, and Distribution sales teams to drive revenue. 10+ yrs of exp. in a TV research role, including managing & leading staff. Full info HERE
RESEARCH ANALYST >>
REELZ, NYC: 2+ years exp generating & analyzing competitive viewing & advertiser information. Support sales, programming, marketing and finance. Working knowledge of NPower, StarMedia, iSpot TV and MRI. Expertise in Excel & PowerPoint. Full info HERE
DIRECTOR OF AD SALES – PLATFORM PARTNER
BBC GLOBAL DIGITAL NEWS & STREAMING
BBC Global Digital News & Streaming is looking for a highly skilled, NY based, Director of Ad Sales – Platform Partner. The purpose of the role is to launch BBC Studios Youtube and social advertising proposition across the Americas, deliver advertising revenues across the BBC Studios global portfolio and build a best in market Partner Sales team. Full info HERE
LOG EDITOR, COMMERCIAL OPERATIONS
CHICAGO, IL, NEW YORK, NY – Hybrid, Remote
Prepare and update the daily assigned program log for TV One or Cleo TV. Manage the placement of key clients by using detailed instructions to ensure correct placement as ordered by the Advertising Sales team. Bachelor’s degree in a related field or 2+ years of experience in Broadcast Cable Log Operations. Full info HERE
SR. PROMO EDITOR
SILVER SPRING, Hybrid, Remote
Video editing, with primary responsibility in marketing and digital media. Work with creative marketing teams to complete their production assignments. Contribute creative ideas that will help elevate the brand. Organize, Manage and Archive Avid Media Projects and files. 10 years of video editing exp. including 5 years of promo editing exp. Full info HERE
ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE – AD SALES >>
GREAT AMERICAN MEDIA/CHICAGO Remote
Strategically sells linear & digital properties to drive Ad Sales revenue. Works with agencies & clients to develop unique advertising solutions for their brands. Requires 5-10 years of sales experience with established agency & client relationships. Seeking a motivated, self-starter with strong negotiation, communication & presentation skills. Full info HERE
SALES PLANNER – AD SALES >>
GREAT AMERICAN MEDIA/NEW YORK, Hybrid/Remote: Works with Account Executives to service clients daily. Builds sales plans, maintains media schedules & handles client requests such as stewardship, liability, and traffic concerns. Seeking a motivated, self-starter with strong communication, problem-solving & time management skills. Must have 1+ year of planning experience. Full info HERE
MOTION GRAPHIC DESIGNER >>
LONG STORY SHORT MEDIA/WASHINGTON, DC: Bring creative concepts to life through design and animation. Motion Designer will work in a team environment to share fresh design perspectives and create engaging high-quality content for a variety of subjects and media. Full Info HERE
SALES MANAGER >>
NEXSTAR MEDIA GROUP/INDIANAPOLIS: Provides leadership for the broadcast/digital sales teams. Makes decisions regarding hiring, evaluation, promotion and operation of account executives and sales assistants. Develops and executes sales strategies that exceeds revenue targets in local, new business and digital revenue. Min 5 yrs of media sales exp; management exp. preferred. Full info HERE
VICE PRESIDENT BUSINESS AFFAIRS >>
HEARST MEDIA PRODUCTION GROUP/CHARLOTTE, NC: Focus on FCC compliance, brand integrity for all current series and day-to-day business affairs for development and production. Strategize with management and outside counsel on business issues, and draft, review and execute various short-form business documents. Legal background and/or related experience is preferred. Full info HERE
SENIOR MANAGER, ACQUISITION AND OUTREACH >>
TELEVISION ACADEMY/LOS ANGELES, Hybrid: Develop, build, and execute member acquisition plans (monthly, quarterly, and annual) with measurable targets, optimize program performance and deliver strategic plans to achieve/exceed specific campaign KPIs. Identify and implement A/B tests & tactics, innovating & continually seeking to drive and improve. Min 4 yrs’ exp. in an acquisition role. Full info HERE
VICE PRESIDENT, MARKETING & ON-AIR PROMOTION >>
REELZ/ALBUQUERQUE, NM: Develop strategic approaches and tactical planning for on-air promotion, guiding the creative process from creation through post-production, and managing the execution of consumer marketing programs for on-air promotion and off-air advertising. Responsible for full on-air presentation and format management. Min of 8-10 yrs exp. Full info HERE
ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE – AD SALES >>
GREAT AMERICAN MEDIA/NYC, Hybrid, Remote: Strategically sells linear & digital properties to drive Ad Sales revenue. Works with agencies & clients to develop unique advertising solutions for their brands. Requires 3+ years of sales experience with established agency & client relationships. Seeking a motivated, self-starter with strong negotiation, communication & presentation skills. Full info HERE
SALES ASSISTANT – AD SALES >>
GREAT AMERICAN MEDIA/NYC, Hybrid, Remote: Provides workflow support to ensure effective campaign delivery for advertisers. Verifies order and schedule accuracy and entry. Monitors accounts while booking and maintaining inventory. Works closely with Account Executives and Sales Planners. Seeking a motivated, self-starter with strong communication, analytical & problem-solving skills. Full info HERE
PARTNERSHIPS MARKETING SPECIALIST >>
HEARST MEDIA PRODUCTION GROUP/CHARLOTTE, NC: Manage development of revenue-generating partnership solutions. Responsible for developing multi-platform media sales materials and partnership proposals for prospective partners including brands, non-profits, and high-net-worth individuals. Create and update sales materials. 5+ years of relevant marketing experience required. Full info HERE
MANAGER, COMMERCIAL OPERATIONS
CHICAGO, NYC, Hybrid, Remote
Supervise & train copy coordinators & log editors for accuracy & attention to detail of building a commercial log & reading agency instructions. Monitor employee performance & output; provide back-up for all desks including log editing, added value insertion & continued communication with marketing for all custom creations. Min of 3 yrs of exp. Full info HERE
TRAFFIC MANAGER >>
WHYY/Hybrid, PHILADELPHIA: Create monthly programming grids for 12.1 and 12.3. Update programming grids when schedule changes are made. Prepare daily logs & submit to Centralcast Joint Master Control. Work w/WHYY Traffic Specialist who creates programming grids for 12.2 and logs for 12.2 and 12.3. 3-5 yrs of management exp. & working with data or traffic systems. Full info HERE
LOCAL MULTIMEDIA SALES MANAGER >>
WALA FOX 10 TV/MOBILE AL: Build a steady stream of new business, constantly recruit to grow the sales team, developing client solutions with account executives using digital and television products. Generating a weekly forecast of revenue, regularly attend sales calls with account executives. Skilled negotiator and problem solver. Proven history of developing new business. Full info HERE
Remote, must be licensed in NY or CA
Negotiating and drafting development deals, shopping agreements, amendments, talent deals, above-the-line contracts, PSAs, production release templates, trade-out agreements, specialty releases and other necessary documents. Shaping corporate and production legal policies. 5-10 yrs of entertainment legal exp. working with a law firm or production. Full info HERE
STANDARDS AND PRACTICES SPECIALIST >>
HEARST MEDIA PRODUCTION GROUP/CHARLOTTE, NC: Provide S&P notes on unscripted Educational/Informational series in development, production, and post, ensuring all content adheres to FCC regulations, HMPG’s internal standards, and network mandates. Contribute to bringing HMPG’s diverse slate of family-friendly series and positive programming to millions of viewers each week. Full info HERE
SR. DIRECTOR, CONSUMER MARKETING
SILVER SPRING, Hybrid, Remote
Lead the Consumer Marketing media, promotion and marketing campaigns by prioritizing shows & campaigns across the brand, and support for each of those priorities. Work with internal research and marketing analytics team to gather and organize past performance and insights, construct goals and objectives, and develop target definitions. 7+ yrs exp. Full info HERE
Manage Azure subscription, Resource Manager, Azure Active Directory, DNS, Azure Site Recovery (ASR) and developer tools for Azure.
Senior Cloud Engineer – Azure
Design and participate in development of multiple concurrent backend and server-side software development projects.
Backend Python Engineer
Implement, configure, and manage security tooling and concepts such as CASB and DLP.
Security Engineer II
Develop and maintain thorough understanding of products and infrastructure; become subject matter expert.
Senior Software Engineer
Create a wide range of high-quality environment art assets including props as well as interiors and exteriors of structures.
Collaborate with fellow leads and seniors, and mentoring a team of like-minded designers in concepting and executing product and promotional launches.
Works with Designers and Engineers to prototype new game features.
Mobile 3D Animator
This role will require daily decision making to keep up with the fast-growing pace of NZXT.
Engineering Manager, Global DTC
Work closely with QA and your technical leadership to ensure the stability and accuracy of game systems by identifying, communicating and resolving defects.
Senior Software Engineer
Work with design and other engineers to provide feedback and then create clear and estimable technical designs.
Systems Software Engineer – College Football
Responsible for collaborating with and leading a small team of internal and external keyframe animators to plan and create in game navigation and combat animation.
Lead 3D Key Frame Animator: Creatures
Hidden Path Entertainment
Lead engineers to achieve technical excellence and driving technical teams to best-in-class performance optimization and stability.
Lead/Sr. Systems Software Engineer – C++ (Ripple Effect)
Design and implement quest and area content with minimal director oversight.
Develop plans for map updates and evolutions.
Level/Environmental Designer (Multiplayer)
Santa Monica CA
Troubleshoot and maintain levels to stay in frame rate, memory, and design spec.
Senior Environment Artist
Santa Monica CA