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04/16/20: BMW makes major moves; Riot maps out Valorant esports; Nevada clears key leagues


Thursday April 16, 2020

Good morning! It’s Thursday, April 16, 2020 and this is your weekly Esports Brief.
The BMW Group is diving deeper into competitive gaming, and is launching a new international platform in addition to locking in partnerships with Cloud9 (U.S.), Fnatic (UK), FunPlus Phoenix (China), G2 Esports (Germany) and T1 (South Korea). The new partnerships will include content development across social media, information sharing, and technology transfer with its engineers and designers on hardware and software. BMW Motorsport is also continuing its simulated racing activities to build on success from 2019.

“Joining forces with the best teams in the world, we aim to use our design and innovation skills to help shape the discipline in the long term,” said Jens Thiemer, senior vice president consumer and brand for BMW. “Our esports involvement is an important milestone providing, for the first time, a new intersectionality with a dynamic and fast-growing community. We consider esports a promising, growing addition to our marketing activities.”

BMW will create unique content on various social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitch under the umbrella of the #UnitedInRivalry hashtag. Activations include: the development of hardware and software products tailored to gamers’ needs; BMW models used as future team vehicles with each organization having a team car featuring a custom livery with each organization’s logo.

Riot Games mapped out its initial esports plans for Valorant, the new competitive 5v5 tactical shooter which entered closed beta on April 7. The company announced three core pillars that would be used to build out the ecosystem – competitive integrity, accessibility, and authenticity. With an eye to build up the grassroots scene and to support this initial vision, Riot Games released the Valorant Community Competition Guidelines, designed to assist third-party tournament organizers confidently plan events and create opportunities for an amateur scene. Additionally, Riot Games has opened submissions for Valorant digital products through its developer portal. Leading up to the Beta launch, the title’s esports team led by Whalen Rozelle, Senior Director of Global Esports, met with more than 100 esports organizations to share their initial vision for esports and collect feedback.

The Teamfight Tactics: Galaxies Championship is also poised for takeoff, according to Riot, showcasing the top-tier play with competitors from all over the world who will compete for their share of a $200,000 prize purse. Riot unveiled details of the event on Monday, stating that the company was “creating a clear path to the Championship that will be globally accessible through both the in-game ladder and online tournaments” with plans to wrap up each set with a competitive global Championship. The Teamfight Tactics: North America Final will take place in mid-August across two days with sixteen qualified competitors to become one of the two players representing North America at the Teamfight Tactics: Galaxies Championship.

Major League Soccer and FOX Sports announced that eMLS Tournament Special presented by Coca-Cola and PlayStation will debut on Sunday on FS1 and FOX Deportes at 7p, hosted by FOX Sports Stu Holden, Rachel Bonnetta and Rodolfo Landeros, with color commentary from Mike LaBelle. Each subsequent Sunday at 7p, the five-episode series will team up MLS players and eMLS players from the same MLS clubs in single-elimination EA SPORTS FIFA 20 tournaments. The Week One Tournament pits the Chicago Fire against FC Cincinnati before the digital version of ‘El Trafico’ between LA Galaxy and LAFC takes the stage.

DreamHack and Riot Games struck an agreement to launch the Northern League of Legends Championship, a new Northern European league to be run by DreamHack. The NLC is supported by a new competitive ecosystem in Telia Esports Series, which is expanding from Finland to Norway, Denmark, and Sweden featuring national leagues and DreamHack-operated UKLC in the UK and Ireland. The inaugural season of NLC is scheduled to start in June 2020, and will be played online with the season finals planned to be held August 7-8 at DreamHack Summer in Jönköping, Sweden featuring 12 Northern Europe’s best League of Legends esports teams.

FIA World Rallycross Championship race drivers are diving into the new RX Esports series. IMG, the promoters of the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy, partnered with Motorsport Games and Codemasters to launch the World RX Esports Invitational. The Esports series will be held on the dates of selected rounds of the 2020 FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy that have been postponed beginning with the Catalunya RX Esports Invitational, on Sunday. The series features professional race drivers from around the globe, including Andretti Autosport’s Cabot Bigham, competing against gamers carried on the World RX YouTube and Facebook channels.

Electronic Arts, in partnership with FIFA, lined up a bevy of international broadcast partners for its “Stay Home. Play Together” initiative, anchored by the EA SPORTS FIFA 20 Stay and Play Cup, running today-April 19 as 20 professional footballers from world-renown clubs go head-to-head tournament. Four matches take place every day with the semifinals and Grand Final on Sunday. In addition to play on the EA Sports FIFA Twitch and YouTube channels, stateside carriers will include ESPN 2 and Telemundo. “We are committed to continue serving our sports fans with entertaining live and original content during this challenging period,” said Ray Warren, President of Telemundo Deportes. “We are excited to add the Stay and Play Cup to our esports offering, giving fans the opportunity to experience the thrill of their favorite clubs and stars playing while leagues are on hiatus.”

With field play off the table for the foreseeable future, Major League Baseball is now stepping up to the plate with its own esports players league, announcing a partnership with the Major League Baseball Players Association and Sony Interactive Entertainment for the creation of the MLB The Show Players League. The organization will serve as the first-ever competitive MLB The Show league solely featuring Major League players in an online event to engage fans around the world and raise funds for Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada. The 30-player lineup includes 11 former All-Stars, five World Series Champions and eight players age 25 or younger. Each participant plays in a round-robin format (i.e., playing every team one time) throughout the month of April for a total of 29 regular season, three-inning games. Following this regular season, the top eight teams will advance to the Postseason, which will largely mirror the MLB Postseason format and culminate in a World Series.

Torque Esports entered a broadcast partnership with ESPN for live coverage of its sim racing tournaments with the partnership kicking off over the weekend with The Race All-Star Series – Fully Charged by ROKiT Phones shown live on ESPN2 at noon. The Torque Esports events feature two separate competitions – the All-Star Cup, which pits the leading stars from Formula 1, Formula E, IndyCar, sportscars, and more against the world’s top sim racers; and the Legends Trophy.

DreamHack announced the return of its PUBG tournament, DreamHack PUBG Showdown. The tournament will be run all-online with participants and broadcast talent all taking part in the action. The tournament will begin with open qualifiers on April 21, 2020, and conclude with the grand final on May 10, 2020. Broadcasts, led by experienced PUBG talent, will be available from the closed qualifier, starting April 25, and onward. “Announcing the return of DreamHack PUBG Showdown feels great, and the all-online tournament format is perfect in these unprecedented times,” said DreamHack Chief Product Officer Michael Van Driel. “We at DreamHack are big fans of the ‘battle royale’ genre, and we know PUBG has a strong following here in Europe. We can’t wait to share this event with our fans.”

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Hearthstone Grandmasters returns tomorrow with Season 1 kicking off globally and will run every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through June 7 on YouTube Gaming, according to Blizzard. With $500,000 on the line, stateside casters will feature Dan “Frodan” Chou and TJ “Azumo” Sanders.

Blizzard also announced that World of Warcraft’s WoW’s 2020 Arena World Championship will be completely shifting to an online format this year, changing up its plans to now offer a new tournament with three stages: the AWC Cups, the AWC Circuit and the Finals. Eight online open-to-everyone tournaments will run May 22-June 14, earning AWC points, which will help teams qualify for the eight spots in the AWC Circuit. The top eight teams based by AWC points will be invited to compete in a round-robin tournament for their respective region, with the top four teams from each of those regions then seeded into two double-elimination groups.

The Call of Duty League unveiled plans to launch five online Call of Duty Challengers Cups, presented by PS4 throughout the season. Play will be open to players in North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region with each region getting its own tournament.

The Los Angeles Football Club is partnering with Allied Esports to produce the LAFC Gaming Charity Challenge Series – a 10-game FIFA20 series streamed live on to support Los Angeles-based charities in their fight against COVID-19. Series production features LAFC Lead Broadcaster Max Bretos hosting the live action, with special guest interviews and analysis from LAFC players and other media personalities as fans interact in a chat room while donating. “Producing LAFC’s online FIFA broadcasts allows us to support the team and the important push to raise money for the people on the front line of this pandemic,” said Jud Hannigan, CEO of Allied Esports. “Our transition to online production and events has opened the doors to a number of new relationships, and we’re thrilled to serve LAFC’s loyal fanbase during a time when positive spirit and community is crucial for us all.”

Formula E launched the first major fundraising initiative of its partnership with UNICEF, titled the ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge. The nine-week ‘race royale’ style esports competition showcases all the teams and drivers from the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, as well as a selection of top gamers in a move raise funds for UNICEF and increase awareness of the global coronavirus appeal. The ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge will feature two separate grids running in parallel, one comprised of drivers from the ABB FIA Formula E Championship and the other one filled by some of the fastest gamers and influencers. The winning gamer will make the transition from the gaming world to secure real-life track time on a Formula E circuit during a race weekend. Races will be staged each Saturday beginning with a pre-season test event on April 18, before point scoring commences the following weekend.

As mobile gaming continues to grow both domestically in North America as well as more rapidly internationally, PUBG and PUBG Mobile have been the focal point. PUBG was once leading viewership on Twitch but has since fallen by the wayside to newer titles. However, PUBG Mobile is not only the leading mobile game on Twitch, but on YouTube and Facebook as well. This week, Stream Hatchet compares the viewership of PUBG and PUBG Mobile as the mobile gaming industry continues to scale.
· PUBG Mobile generated 52% more total hours watched and 79% more esports hours watched than PUBG.
With 26 tournaments, PUBG was responsible for 17.4M less hours watched compared to PUBG Mobile with 21 tournaments.
· PUBG averaged 851k hours watched per esports tournament while PUBG Mobile averaged 1.89M over the sampled period.
For more information on PUBG, PUBG Mobile, and game streaming trends, please contact us at [email protected] or visit


Online optical brand Zenni is expanding the company’s presence within esports “to continue its commitment toward eye health education for the gamer community” adding new deals to become the Official Eyewear of the Houston Outlaws and the Pittsburgh Knights in addition to its initial partnership with the Golden Guardians from last year. Zenni will also continue its partnership with Lux Gaming and activate through a number of online events and content collaborations. In addition, Zenni debuted its @Zenni_Gaming social media channels on Twitter and Instagram today to promote upcoming events, giveaways and limited-edition product collaborations, such as Outlaws’ and Knights’ favorite frames and special edition, team-branded designs.

Kyle Larson was dropped from Chip Ganassi Racing after using a racial slur during a live-streamed virtual race that prompted partners such as McDonald’s, Credit One Bank and Chevrolet to pull their funding from the team. The organization stated that they fired the 27-year-old Larson on Tuesday in what was described as “an emotional call,” according to the AP.

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The videogame entertainment and news network, aka VENN, announced plans to move up its launch from fall to July, “largely in response to the current COVID-19 crisis.” VENN is headed by co-CEOs Ben Kusin and signed leases for its live studio in New York and production studio in Los Angeles. Among the new hires are: CTO Scott Gillies, former CTO for Vice and Red Bull Media House. The company also announced new investor, Kroenke Sports & Entertainment. Aaron Godfred, formerly of Fullscreen and Omaze, will head programming. VENN brought on former head of the VMAs, Jeff Jacobs.

Enthusiast Gaming Holdings partnered with daily fantasy sports company Monkey Knife Fight to help promote and build brand awareness of the platform. According to the announcement, MKF sees an opportunity to cultivate and grow its esports fan base to better position the platform to capitalize on the continued growth of the gaming industry. Enthusiast Gaming will leverage its media platform, activate its network of esports influencers and create custom content on YouTube and Twitch to reach its gamer communities and promote MKF’s platform.

Misfits Gaming Group unveiled a partnership with Softgiving, the Atlanta-based fundraising platform, to host a variety of online charity streams throughout 2020. The first MGG charity event will run through April 19, with proceeds going to Gift of Life Marrow Registry. “Esports has built an incredible community around fundraising, especially during this difficult time, and we’re excited to partner with Softgiving to increase our fundraising capacity across all our teams,” said Ben Spoont, CEO and Co-Founder of Misfits Gaming Group. “We’re doubling down on our efforts to give back by running a variety of charity streams throughout the year and we’re excited to kick things off with Gift of Life.”

Riot is changing the esports marketing game. For the closed beta of their second full game, Valorant, Riot decided to drop keys during livestreams of the game on Twitch. This encouraged marathon watch parties for avid Riot fans, and record spikes in viewership of the game on Twitch.

During closed beta, hype for a game can often dwindle after the initial announcement. In this drop, Riot cleverly created an inclusive way for many fans to control their access to the game, while increasing hype in droves. With such a successful strategy, everyone’s asking — what game will roll out this strategy next? Visit for more.

TSM president of esports Leena Xu and content king Myth opened the doors to the company’s new $50 million gaming facility, offering fans a glance into the “largest esports center ever created in North America.” The facility is 25,000 square feet and is slated to open later this spring. Assets include a closed theater toallow TSM to host launch parties for esports events, meetings and seminars as well as a sensory deprivation tank for players to float in for meditation and nap pods for streamers and employees to take breaks.

FaZe Clan locked in a partnership with e-commerce and culture platform NTWRK, which includes investor Jimmy Iovine, with the company also leading the latest round of funding for the gaming industry heavyweight. As part of this groundbreaking coalition, NTWRK has secured the global direct-to-consumer product rights for FaZe Clan and will immediately integrate the team’s apparel and merchandise into NTWRK’s platform. “Jimmy has always been a cultural seer,” says FaZe Clan CEO Lee Trink. “His belief in FaZe Clan as the next cultural wave, not just in gaming but in entertainment overall, is an incredible representation of the transformative shift happening right now.”

Gen.G is partnering with The Penn Relays, the oldest and largest track and field competition in the US to produce an all-new Digital Penn Relays, presented by The United States Marine Corps. The Digital Penn Relays will be the first ever digital livestream with gaming-related content designed to connect the community with competition and infotainment. The event will take place on April 24 from 12-5p on Twitch. Multiple teams of speedrunners and individuals will compete against each other to conquer custom-built Minecraft courses around famed Franklin Field, including hurdles, water, lava and an ice race course.

Method locked in a long-term partnership with Chinese live streaming platform DouYu that will see the organization showcase its Race to World First event on DouYu’s platform while select Method players will stream live on the platform.


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Nevada Gaming Control approved wagering on three esports events, opening the doors for sportsbooks to take bets on Overwatch League, League of Legends European Championship and the North America League of Legends Championship, per ESPN. Earlier in the month, Nevada approved betting on esports tournaments involving Dota 2 and Counter Strike.

Forevr, a new management company, announced its entry into the esports world. The company revealed a lineup of clients that include athletes and content creators such as Dota 2’s OG co-founder and team captain Johan ‘N0tail’ Sundstein, Finnish pro-player Topias ‘Topson’ Taavitsainen and Oleksandr ‘s1mple’ Kostyliev. Forevr’s clients also consist of Singaporean streamer Zxuan “ZX” alongside pro-streamer and Genflix Aerowolf brand ambassador Sherlin ‘SherlinTsu’ Susanto also known as Baby Shark. Marc Ogihara is founder with investor/advisor Frederik Byskov,

Razer will look to boost business partners during the COVID-19 pandemic by committing up to $50 million through the rest of the year. Three wings of the company—Razer Gold, Razer Fintech, and zVentures—will each receive a portion of the funds, and as a part of the initiative, with Razer offering businesses access to its hardware, software, and services.

This year’s Games for Change Festival is going virtual, running July 14-16. In addition, it will now be free to all attendees. “The Festival will continue to feature the formats you know and love, including engaging speaker sessions, panels, the XR for Change Summit, and the Games for Change Awards,” organizers said in the announcement. “We also recognize that networking is a major part of the Festival, and we will provide many opportunities for attendees to connect with mentors, funders, vendros, and of course, each other.”

2013: Injustice: Gods Among Us is released.
This star of Juno and Inception also made waves voicing Jodie in Beyond: Two Souls (pictured above). Who was she? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
What is the name of the mascot for the Fallout series of games? Answer: Vault Boy. Kudos: Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Lorrie Shilling/El Segundo; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank

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Line Producer and / or Unit Production Manager over 25+ years in the Entertainment field since 1991 based in Los Angeles, also have worked in the Atlanta area on a local basis Special Software: Movie Magic Budgeting and Scheduling, Excel, [email protected] (4/18)

Exp’d media rsrch & analytics professional within the direct response marketing world. 20+ yrs knowledge of media buying across all verticals, client services, acct mngmnt & data analysis. Seeking FT or consultant role. Expert in Nielsen, comScore, MRI, Simmons, Tableau. NYC area or remote welcomed. [email protected] (4/18)

Looking for an account management/client success position where I can apply my client dvlpmnt & relationship building skills. I have more than 13 yrs exp in addressing business pain points, developing creative partnerships, & helping clients succeed. Based in NYC. Google Suite, SalesForce, Zoho, Microsoft Office, Mac, and PC. Contact: [email protected] (4/18)

Experienced professional seeking an opportunity in marketing and promotions. I have 5 years of experience in Media and Marketing Strategy and am seeking work in Los Angeles. Contact: [email protected] (4/17)

I recently was let go from my position at FOX Bet as a VP/EP. Prior to that role I was with NBCUniversal as Director of Branded Content. I have 15+ years of experience in Marketing (social/digital), Commercial Production and Broadcast Television and VOD. Contact: [email protected] (4/17)

Creative Director -20 plus years of experience branding networks, launching shows (CBS, Fox, WGN America) on all platforms -Los Angeles, CA -editing (Premiere), copywriting, producing, English and Spanish VO. (4/17)

Manager/Director level Content Scheduling, Strategy and Acquisitions Professional with 8+ year’s experience over multiple highly rated cable brands. NYC Based. Fluent in GSuite and Microsoft Office. Contact: [email protected] (4/17)


Assists in R&D efforts for tools enhancements and prototyping of new technology.
Senior FX Artist
NetherRealm Studios
Chicago IL

Help drive the adaptation of new technology, tools and workflows with a forward looking goal of delivering industry leading animation.
Senior Technical Animator
NetherRealm Studios
Chicago IL

Collaborate with artists and designers on solutions that further our games’ vision.
Senior Software Engineer
Austin TX

Work alongside artists, designers, and writers to create industry-leading characters and creatures for BioWare.
Senior Character Artist
Austin TX

Working hand in hand with other developers to take system concepts to shipping quality.
Senior Systems Designer
Ready at Dawn
Portland OR

Maintain and extend the graphics engine on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC platforms.
Senior Engine/Android Programmer
Ready at Dawn
Portland OR

Collaborate with the production team to develop all aspects of the specified game-play experience from a technical perspective.
Senior Gameplay Programmer
Bend Studio
Bend OR

Work under the direction of the Lead Multiplayer Designer to concept, design and implement multiplayer game systems from the ground up.
Senior Multiplayer Systems Designer
Crystal Dynamics
Bellevue WA

Champion engineering and operational excellence, establishing process for regular assessment and improvement.
Manager, Software Engineering, AR/VR – Input Explorations
Seattle WA

Work with research and engineering teams to define and deliver custom optics and display projects.
Technical Program Manager
Redmond WA

Collaborate with the Art Director and Concept Artists to develop look and feel of assets.
Senior Character Artist
Sledgehammer Games
Foster City CA

Work with gameplay programmers to plan and implement object syncing across different networking environments.
Senior Network Programmer, Games
Santa Clarita CA

Design and create compelling and intuitive user interfaces for a games on console, PC, and mobile platforms.
UI Artist
Santa Clarita CA

Capture in-game video and screenshots with minimal direction and oversight.
Video Capture Specialist
Crystal Dynamics
Redwood City CA

Maintain and share extensive knowledge pertaining to military gear, uniforms and equipment.
Senior Character Artist
Sledgehammer Games
San Mateo CA