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04/09/20: ESPN picked up broadcast rights to the LCS Spring Split

Thursday April 9, 2020
Good morning! It’s Thursday, April 9, 2019 and this is your weekly Esports Brief.
League of Legends is coming to ESPN, courtesy of a new deal that will see the network partner with Riot Games to serve as the official U.S. linear and authenticated streaming platform for the 2020 League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) Spring Split Playoffs. Matches will air live on ESPN2 or the ESPN app, with all matches available on demand in the ESPN app immediately following competition. The LCS Spring Split playoffs kicked off on April 3 and 4 with the top six teams and comprise of three rounds before culminating in a grand final on April 19 where a new champion will be crowned and go on to represent North America at the 2020 Mid-Season Invitational in July against teams from around the world.

“We’re excited to work with Riot Games to create innovative content opportunities around this amazing franchise system,” said John Lasker, vice president of digital programming at ESPN. “Showcasing one of the most popular esports in the world with the LCS’ Spring Split playoffs allows ESPN to serve new audiences.”

“Now more than ever, coming together to watch and enjoy elite competitive gaming has the power to unite us as a community”, said Chris Greeley, LCS Commissioner, Riot Games. “We’re thrilled to bring the very best of the LCS to new audiences and existing fans through this partnership and look forward to some high-skill games on the Rift as we crown a new Spring champion.”

The Intel World Open has now been postponed until 2021 due to the COVID-19 crisis. Featuring titles such as Rocket League and Street Fighter V, the event was originally slated to take place in conjunction with the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. “Due to the evolving global situation … the Intel World Open, and the planned May 2 online qualifiers, have been postponed until next year,” Intel said in a release on Wednesday. “Though we were excited to witness the best Street Fighter V and Rocket League players, we must focus on the health and safety of the community first. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as quickly as we can. Though we will have to make adjustments to ensure everyone’s safety, we are committed to bringing Intel World Open to life. Thank you for your continued support.”

Univision’s TUDN and Liga BBVA MX, the top-tier soccer league in Mexico, announced the “eLigaMX by BBVA Tournament,” an EA Sports “FIFA 20” gaming tournament that will feature player representatives from each Liga MX club competing head-to-head in a 17-matchday season on Playstation 4 that mirrors this year’s Clausura schedule with the top eight teams advancing to a single elimination playoff format. Play begins Friday at 3p with TUDN set to carry up to three matches per day, excluding Thursdays, with play-by-play performed by TUDN talent, and special guest commentary by Liga MX players. Each Liga MX club will be represented by three players from its current roster, who in turn will compete as their real-life team throughout the tournament

ESL Pro League reports that Season 11 broke another all-time viewership record, notching a new EPL peak record with over 16% growth in comparison to the previous high, made during the Season 9 finals. In total, the league registered more than 22.6M hours watched which is an all-time record, surpassing the Season 10 best score.

IndyCar’s iRacing Challenge event at a virtual Barber Motorsports Park averaged 165,000 across all NBC Sports viewing platforms on Saturday afternoon, according to frontstretch, to notch an audience that was 55% of the actual race at Barber pulled last year on NBCSN, which notched 296,000 viewers on NBCSN.

Activision Blizzard announced that the Call of Duty League will resume this Friday. Matches will follow the original Call of Duty League schedule, beginning with the Dallas Empire homestand that was supposed to take place on March 28-29, but all matches will now take place online with remote broadcast operations. Play runs Friday-Sunday

The NBA 2K Players Tournament Quarterfinals this week will now be held on Thursday on ESPN2 and the ESPN App. Competition starts at 7p with Rui Hachimura/Devin Booker.

DreamHack announced that, due to the ongoing health and safety concerns in the world, DreamHack Masters has been rescheduled and will move to an online format. DreamHack Masters Spring will be split into two time periods: May 19-30, with the group stage of the regional championships in Europe and North America running parallel, and the playoffs taking place between June 8-14. The other two regional championships, Asia and Oceania, will also run simultaneously June 2-7.

Meanwhile, BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment is significantly trimming its lineup for both the TEKKEN and SOULCALIBUR World Tours, announcing that multiple events, starting with TEKKEN Round Pro 9 on April 25 and running through Kiungo Games running June 20-21 have all been removed from the tour until further notice. “BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment is committed to delivering the best and safest tournament experiences possible in support of both the fighting games community and the greater esports community. We want to thank our competitors, fans, and event teams around the globe for their patience, understanding, and perseverance as we combine our efforts to fight Covid-19 together.”

ESL and Valve Corporation launched ESL One: Road to Rio powered by Intel as the first of multiple online regional competitions that will act as the official qualification method to ESL’s CS:GO Major in November 2020. The event will feature 56 of the world’s best teams across divisions in Europe, CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States), North America, South America, Oceania and Asia. The competition will span four weeks between April 22-May 17 and will feature $255,000 in prize money.

The Cynopsis Top Women in Media Awards is gearing up to celebrate the women whose contributions to entertainment, tech and sports & esports are elevating the space. Join us as we applaud them for all they give to our industry by nominating a deserving colleague today. Honorees will be celebrated at the annual award gala taking place on September 24th in NYC. Nominations are due one week for today. Click here to get started.

The United Soccer League is seeing ESPN carry the league’s new Rocket League esports competition. The USL eCup: Rocket League Edition will serve as a month-long tournament that will be participated in by 32 teams from across the organization’s professional ranks, in the Championship and League One with play streamed on the ESPN App and

The 2020 Mutua Madrid Open, originally slated to run May 1-10 but postponed until at least July 13, will now offer fans the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro, a tournament running April 27-30 that will be a “virtual replica of the tennis competition,” with many of the world’s top tennis stars who would have been on the court planning to complete from their own homes. The clay court tournament will still take place in Manolo Santana Stadium, but recreated via the Tennis World Tour videogame. The participants in both draws will play for a purse of more than $161,000. with the winners “being able to donate a portion of their winnings to their peers affected economically by the tour’s hiatus.”

The month-long online soccer gaming tournament from French champions Paris St Germain will be carried around the world by beIN Media Group. Competition started yesterday will take place every week. Competition will be televised in the United States, France, Asia-Pacific, and 24 countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

Beyond the Summit unveiled plans to host an online $100,000 Dota 2 competition starting Friday. The BTS Pro Series will run through April 26, and features eight teams from Southeast Asia and another group of eight from North and South America. The winner of each division will win $50,000.

Riot Games is the master at driving viewership to their games. Other gaming news seemed to have ceased yesterday as all eyes turned to VALORANT to check out new gameplay and a chance to land a beta key for early access. With all the hype surrounding the game, VALORANT had high expectations but its popularity on streaming platforms certainly didn’t disappoint. This week, Stream Hatchet analyzed VALORANT’s beta launch compared to other notable games launches over the past few years.
· VALORANT generated 36% of the total sampled hours watched and more than doubled the next highest sampled average concurrency (Fortnite Chapter 2 launch).
· The VALORANT beta launch was just shy of the total hours watched generated by the CoD: Warzone launch, Apex Legends launch, and CoD: Black Ops 4 launch combined. The difference in hours watched was less than 100k.
· VALORANT’s peak concurrency was about 300k higher than the Fortnite Chapter 2 launch. Fortnite’s Black Hole incident was one of the most viewed events in 2019 but fell short to a beta launch.
For more information regarding VALORANT viewership data, please contact [email protected] or visit
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Kia inked a deal with Rogue’s League of Legends European Championship team in Berlin. As part of the deal, Rogue will leverage their friendship with partners Imagine Dragons as well as Steve Aoki and Nicky Romero for some musical talent and dedicated video content around the agreement with Kia. “Thanks to the brilliant work of our parent company ReKTGlobal, we at Rogue couldn’t be more excited about our partnership with Kia. Kia with its history of supporting competitive League of Legends at the highest level as sponsor of the LEC is a fantastic fit for our brand. We look forward to presenting uniquely creative content for Kia utilizing what our brand stands for: connecting music icons with League of Legends superstars.” – Anna Baumann, Managing Director, Rogue Sports Europe GmbH.

Speaking of which, HyperX locked in a sponsorship program with ReKTGlobal’s London Royal Ravens Call of Duty League squad, which will now see the team’s training facility getting the support of HyperX gear. HyperX will also sponsor two Rogue teams, including its Rainbow Six Pro Team and its Rocket League teams. “HyperX has been a mainstay in competitive PC gaming for as long as I can remember,” said Dave Bialek, CEO of ReKTGlobal. “It’s an honor to have their logo on our jerseys, and their gear powering our champions’ play.”

HyperX also signed on to sponsor Allied Esports’ new online tournament offering. Allied Esports Online Tournaments Presented by HyperX are open to all levels of play and offer cash and/or HyperX products as prizing for each competition. Tournament fees are dependent on the game, with some competitions free to play. HyperX will work with Allied Esports to drive participation to the online tournaments through social media and other marketing promotion. “The current landscape has required us to come together as a team, pivot quickly and lean on trusted partners,” said Jud Hannigan, CEO of Allied Esports. “Our relationship with HyperX continues to grow and we’re fortunate to be able to work alongside them to enhance this experience for our existing community members and the fans we will engage for the first time through this new offering.”

Meanwhile, the Houston Outlaws and Zaxby’s announced their new partnership for 2020, bringing the Georgia-based restaurant chain into the world of esports through the team’s south Texas representation in Activision-Blizzard’s The Overwatch League. With this agreement, Zaxby’s becomes the team’s Exclusive Quick-Service Restaurant and will collaborate with the Outlaws organization and players to create unique content and integration into fan-based streaming and online experiences this year.

Elsewhere, Lucas Oil Products is expanding its presence in esports, beginning with a focus on the competition surrounding the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series and the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series. “Lucas Oil has always tried to be on the cutting edge of all that it involves itself with and eSports is one of the new leading areas of development within racing,” said Morgan Lucas, Senior V.P. of Sales for Lucas Oil. “We have a great family of Lucas Oil supporters and that racing goes hand-in-hand with that. eSports is an important way for us to expand our exposure to new groups while creating a bond with our existing racing community”

Subaru of America is teaming with sim racing platform iRacing. The car manufacturer will be the entitlement sponsor of the Subaru iRX All-Star Invitational rallycross championship, which will see pro drivers from rally, rallycross, Indycar, and NASCAR participate in the event alongside sim racers in a six-round championship that begins on April 10.

Cheese snack brand Babybel is getting into the esports game courtesy of a new deal with Spanish org Team heretics, serving as the squad’s official cheese snack and marking the brand’s first partnership in the industry. The partnership will see both companies work together on initiatives that promote healthy habits while gaming.

With the shift to esports, how can brands create digital lift? When Dixie Vodka 150 enlisted NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin for the iRacing Invitational, they saw a 532% lift in daily follower growth following the event. By creating digital partnerships that bridge the traditional sports to esports gap, all parties win. Visit for more.
Twitter’s Rishi Chadha released the platform’s monthly rankings for the gaming and esports industries, noting sharp upticks in the category with so many consumers stuck at home. On the team front, FaZe Clan returned to the top spot as the most-discussed org for the month of April.

Continuing to dissect Valorant’s debut on Tuesday, Riot’s new first-person shooter helped propel Twitch to its most watched day of all-time. The title drew 1.7 million peak concurrent viewers, behind only the 2019 League of Legends World Championship Finals, but delivering 34 million hours watched. Anchored by the debut of the game’s beta release, Twitch topped 4 million concurrent users to set a platform record.

Facebook is adding a Tournaments feature to its existing video game venue, designed for grassroots esports play. The feature allows individuals and organizations to create their own online competitive gaming events using Facebook’s library of video games, with organization happening virtually, from brackets to leaderboards.

NASCAR announced a slate of new fantasy and prop betting offerings on the eNASCAR Pro Invitational Series, created courtesy of NASCAR’s official gaming partner, Penn Interactive. Alongside the launch of the game, Penn also announced that it would serve as the entitlement sponsor of the upcoming eNASCAR Pro Invitational Series event from virtual Dover International Speedway on Sunday, May 3. “During this time of uncertainty, eNASCAR has provided sports fans around the world with an exciting form of sports entertainment that is helping restore some normalcy to the weekend,” said Scott Warfield, NASCAR managing director of gaming. “Now, courtesy of our partners at Penn Interactive, fans can foster an even deeper connection with the new series and have even more incentive to tune into eNASCAR on FOX and FS1.”

Meanwhile, FanDuel Group announced the official launch of its new Props Pick’em eHoops Player Tourney for the NBA 2K Player Tourney. The initiative will feature eight questions each day for fans to answer for the next game day. A $5,000 prize of FanDuel site credit will be awarded each game day, in addition to a $5,000 prize for the overall winner of the tournament. Players will lock in their answers to that day’s questions prior to the start of each televised session.


League of Legends Championship Korea will shift to full-time franchises for the 2021 competitive season. The domestic South Korean league is the last of the four major League of Legends regions to move to franchising. The LCK will hold their final relegation/promotion series at the end of the current 2020 LCK Spring split.

Spacestation Gaming is teaming with NASCAR Xfinity driver Will Rodgers, who will now represent the organization as well as race in a specially-designed car while the two will launch a racing team together.

New NBA 2K x Nike’s Gamer Exclusive limited-edition shoes are being released ahead of the MyPLAYER Nation Playoffs. NBA 2K20 players will get a chance to compete in the MyPLAYER Nation Playoffs to earn limited-edition digital shoes for their online avatar and a chance to purchase a real pair of sneakers through the Nike SNKRS App. The first Gamer Exclusive shoe will be revealed today, with challenges beginning on April 11 and in-game playoffs starting on April 18. The rest of the shoes will be revealed throughout the playoff season.

The Golden Guardians will donate all proceeds from their online merchandise sales this month to benefit an emergency relief fund for restaurant workers, with the donation going to the Restaurant Workers Community Foundation “During this unprecedented time of COVID-19, we are proud to help restaurants and their employees remain on their feet,” said Hunter Leigh, head of GSW Esports, in a news release. “The launch of our new online merchandise store provides Golden Guardians fans a great opportunity to purchase new loungewear from home while supporting a great cause.”

Playfull, a platform that rewards League of Legends players with physical prizes for playing the game, partnered with Cloud9 to offer branded team merchandise. “Cloud9 is excited to partner with Playfull to reward our community with C9 merch and experiences!,” said Jack Etienne, Co-founder and CEO of Cloud9 in a post. “Creating more channels for fan engagement opportunities, experiences, and feedback is important to us at C9, and we believe partnering with Playfull is a key step in strengthening that pursuit through their sound data-driven approach and market experience.”

Nerd Street Gamers launched an online retail store in partnership with We Are Nations. For the first time, the public is able to purchase Nerd Street Gamers as well as Localhost branded apparel including t-shirts, long sleeve shirts, and hoodies. The high-end gaming PCs used at Localhost facilities will be available for sale in the near future.


The Entertainment Software Association notified partners that E3 2021 will run June 15-17, 2021, according to multiple reports. The ESA cancelled this year’s event due to concerns about the COVID-19pandemic but will now reportedly offer a “reimagined” event for 2021.

Microsoft announced that all of its internal and external events will shift to a digital model until next summer in order to prevent spreading coronavirus, according to GamesIndustry. The company confirmed last week that all 2020 events would be digital only, but the new mandate will keep that mantra through July 2021.


Esports Engine named Arica Kress as Head of Strategic Partnerships, who most recently served as an event consultant for the U.S. Soccer Federation. She also help roles as Vice President of Marketing & Communications for Columbus Crew SC and Event Producer for Copa América Centenario.

Andbox announced that Mike LaBelle is joining the company as a content creator. The multi-time FIFA national title winner will look to showcase FIFA content streamers in the NYC area. “I have always shared in Andbox’s vision to grow the gaming community in New York and am proud I can now support that mission alongside them,” said LaBelle. “As we continue to grow and motivate new streamers and content creators, I want to be a part of that movement, to collaborate and support the wider goal.”

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On This Day
2007: Interplay sells IP rights for its Fallout franchise to Bethesda Softworks for $5.75 million.
What is the name of the mascot for the Fallout series of games, pictured above? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

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Music Mix/Naples FL: Seeks Production Co. or Producer/Investor for a new reality concept that follows a small energetic crew around country interviewing popular bands; up and coming artists in the music industry – back-stage, live performances, record label interaction. Full info HERE (4/23)

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Oversee the building, development and localization of studio-based Chyron package. Minimum of 7+ years in production and technical operations is necessary. Full info/apply HERE (4/14)

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Great! Can it actually read “Television Producer” (rather than “Production”)? Also can it read “for a list of credits and relative experience, please contact: [email protected] (4/14)

I’m a journalist, editor, and podcast host with 17 years of experience. I’m looking for opportunities to write, interview, edit, copy edit, or facilitate conversations. Contact: [email protected] (4/14)

Non-fiction Writer/Producer/CT NY metro area: With 20 years broadcast experience available to write, produce and story edit I’m seeking freelance production work. I can work with your prod co remotely to log, write and or create radio cuts or rough cuts with scripts. Email Sue at [email protected] (4/14)

Creative Techie, Communications pro seeks role:
Creative, Development, Assisting, Production, Post, Tech, Assets. Humorous, personable, enthusiastic, detailed, problem solver. Polymath 20+ yrs: QC, GFXdsn, photography, mangmnt, editing, collaborating. Competent: MS, Google, Adobe, SocialMedia. LA-818. [email protected] (4/10)

Development/Business Affairs Consultant: Former ProdCo president with 35 years experience is available to help with development / business affairs for ProdCos. One-Sheet writing, pitch decks, strategic business plans for time-buys/sponsorship et al. All forms of contracts for development, talent, releases etc. approved at all cable networks. Solid relationships with cable biz affairs depts. Greater Los Angeles [email protected] (4/10)

SITUATION WANTED >> VP Development/Acquisitions: with over 15 years experience producing, developing and selling content. Los Angeles based. Highly versed in Spanish language and diverse markets. Can be reached at 310.850.2110 / [email protected] (4/10)


Provide thought leadership and collaborate with other team members to continue to scale our architecture.
Senior Software Data Engineer
Take-Two Interactive

Develop, mentor, and oversee the operations of our infrastructure team managing cloud technologies and automation development.
Senior Manager, Cloud Infrastructure & Automation
Take-Two Interactive

Maintain and improve the existing site infrastructure, and support your fellow Engineers.
Infrastructure Engineer
Rooster Teeth
Austin TX

Develops strategies for responding to future security challenges. Demonstrates effectiveness of the program for implementation on an organization-wide basis.
Senior Security Engineer
Bellevue WA

Work closely with the game marketing teams, corporate marketing teams and exec leadership.
Lead Designer – Corporate Marketing
Jam City
Culver City CA

Design, configure, deploy, monitor, and troubleshoot production network infrastructure and associated services.
Senior Network Engineer
Machine Zone
Palo Alto CA

Provisioning of new servers for existing clusters and making sure they are monitored accordingly.
Senior Site Reliability Engineer, Big Data
Machine Zone
Palo Alto CA

Conduct in-depth market and consumer research to develop overall market positioning, creative strategies, audience targeting and consumer segmentation.
Senior Product Marketing Manager
San Mateo CA

Analyze Treyarch’s graphics & engine tech and design innovative solutions to keep its competitive advantage.
Lead Graphics Engineer
Santa Monica CA

Work closely with the Art Director and a team of artists and level designers to assemble and detail game environments.
Senior Environment Artist
Foster City CA

Implementing complex and highly scalable end-to-end data pipelines, using Elastic Beanstalk, Kinesis, EMR, Spark, Hive, Druid, Cassandra.
Senior Data Engineer
Glu Mobile
San Francisco CA

Design and implement new systems and pipelines.
Senior Software Engineer – Backend (Python)
Glu Mobile
San Francisco CA

Design and code innovative, scalable, and robust features.
Senior Software Engineer, Episode
Pocket Gems
San Francisco CA

Design and code innovative, scalable, and robust features.
Senior Software Engineer, Core Games
Pocket Gems
San Francisco CA

Lead your design team to define the creative vision, technical specifications, fun factor and product content for assigned software products.
Lead Game Designer
Jam City
San Francisco CA