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04/30/20: After a new deal with DreamHack & ESL, Twitch unveiled an Esports Directory

Medias First Morning Read
Thursday April 30, 2020

Good morning! This is your weekly Esports Brief.
Twitch dug in on its esports commitment, not only cementing a huge new deal with DreamHack and ESL, but also announcing the launch of its Esports Directory. Unveiling the new feature on Wednesday, the directory will place all of the esports content on Twitch in one central place to allow audiences to tune in to watch live events, catch up on past matches, discover new esports channels, and learn from the best pro players. It will feature key esports events around the world, like ESL Katowice, Rocket League Championships Series, Twitch Rivals, and the League of Legends World Championship to name a few.

As mentioned, DreamHack and ESL locked in a three-year deal with Twitch to bring some of the biggest esports tournaments organized by the two companies to be live streamed to the service on Twitch in 2021 and 2022. The deal announcement confirms Twitch as the global digital media partner of major ESL and DreamHack competitions on a non-exclusive basis in 2020, before acquiring exclusivity of English language digital live streaming of major events in 2021 and 2022. As part of the deal, all tournaments streamed in English within ESL Pro Tour for CS:GO and StarCraft II & Warcraft III, including the ESL Pro League, ESL One, Intel Extreme Masters, DreamHack Masters, DreamHack Open, ESL National Championships, will be exclusively on Twitch in 2021 and 2022. As part of the partnership, Twitch will become a centralized hub for streaming ESL and DreamHack competitions. The company will work directly with ESL and DreamHack to coordinate broadcast integrations and maximize sponsorships of some of the biggest esports tournaments going forward.

Let’s open with some viewership numbers, ESL Pro League is reporting that its inaugural season with 13 partner teams paid dividends, notching 48.2 million hours watched, up 113.2% over season ten, with 489,120 peak concurrent viewership (+17.1%), and average minute audience of 164,494 (+215.5%). Numbers do not include Chinese audiences.

Meanwhile, FOX Sports reports that Alex Bowman’s victory in the NASCAR iRacing event “at Talladega” drew 1,240,000 viewers across FOX and FS1 on Sunday. That’s 27% better than the prior race’s delivery of 974,000 viewers across FOX and FS1 and ranked as the 2nd most-watched esports telecast in television history. NASCAR iRacing now accounts for the five most-watched esports telecasts in television history.

The NBA 2K League announced that the start of its 2020 regular season will now begin on May 5, and offer at least six weeks of remote gameplay. All 23 NBA 2K League teams will participate in regular-season gameplay from their local markets with games simulcast live on the NBA 2K League’s Twitch and YouTube channels. Games will begin at 7p and run every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday with four distinct matchups each night. Over the course of the six weeks of remote gameplay, each team is scheduled to play at least eight matches that will count toward its regular-season record. Each match will be played in a best-of-three format, which will allow the NBA 2K League broadcast to switch between games in real-time and give fans more opportunities to experience the league’s key moments. The 2020 season will once again include three in-season tournaments: The Tipoff, The Turn and The Ticket.

The 2020 Overwatch League season locked in its May slate, which will now include the introduction of new single-elimination regional tournaments. During the first three weeks of May, all 20 teams will play three qualifier matches. Team records, map scores, and standard tiebreakers in those qualifier matches will determine team seeding in two regional tournaments in North America and Asia. Both tournaments have a combined US $225,000 prize pool with tournament champions receiving $40,000. Matches leading up to the tournaments will feature a wider variety of matchups in North America, with all 13 teams now able to play each other on shared servers.

Electronic Arts and ESPN announced new Madden NFL 20 Championship Series programming that began with five consecutive hours yesterday on ESPN2, and will continue with coverage of the Madden NFL 20 Bowl, with group play running May 6-9 at 5p, along with May 14-16. The Semi-finals and Finals will be carried on ESPN on May 16 starting at 5p. “At a time where live sports are paused, esports has stepped up as an incredible source of entertainment, inspiration and joy for fans across the world,” said Todd Sitrin, SVP and GM of the EA Competitive Gaming Division. “Through this exciting programming with ESPN, we can invite the broader sports community to be a part of the unique and authentic Madden esports competition, keeping gamers and traditional sports fans alike connected, while staying safe at home.”

Epic Games detailed plans to hold a solo invitational for the conclusion of the Fortnite Championship Series next month, dangling a $2 million prize pool and play set to begin on May 9. Spanning three weekends, Epic will invite top players in each region as well as feature an Open Qualifier for Champion Ranked players,

Meanwhile, the NHL is shoring up its content plans, partnering with ESL Gaming for the first-ever NHL Player Gaming Challenge presented by Honda with NHL players representing all 31 Clubs. In addition, the NHL’s newest franchise, NHL Seattle, will take part in the League’s latest #HockeyAtHome initiative. Over the course of four weeks, beginning April 30, each Club will be represented by one or two current players and featured in a one-time matchup against another Club. The National Hockey League Foundation and Electronic Arts will donate a combined $100,000 in support of the CDC Foundation’s COVID-19 relief efforts. Beginning today, Los Angeles Kings TV play-by-play announcer Alex Faust will host the series of weekly matchups, which will be released on Thursdays and Saturdays. NBC Sports carries the first series of games at 5p on NBCSN as part of its Hockey Happy Hour programming.

Riot Games announced the formal cancellation of the Mid-Season Invitational, which had been rescheduled until July as a result of COVID-19. “This decision also allows us to dedicate our global esports team and resources to planning for Worlds 2020. We are totally committed to delivering the biggest spectacle we’ve ever produced in China to celebrate our sport’s 10-year anniversary. While we must remain nimble with our plans, we are eager to celebrate everything that we love about League of Legends with a memorable Worlds 2020.”

Allied Esports Entertainment saw its shift of live event experiences to online during the COVID-19 crisis delivered increased engagement, registration, participation and viewership within its two business units, World Poker Tour and Allied Esports International. “Like everyone in the live entertainment and event industry, the first pillar of our business has been temporarily shuttered to help flatten the curve and put a stop to this global pandemic, which we fully support,” said Frank Ng, CEO of Allied Esports Entertainment. “Where we stand out is in the quick and strategic decisions we have made to continue to serve our loyal communities and our industries at a time when they need us most. We firmly believe that our heightened focus on our content and online services will not only carry us through these unprecedented times, but further funnel new fans to our live events when it is safe to bring everyone back together.”

Facebook Gaming recruited a lineup of top tennis athletes & celebrities to compete in Mario Tennis Aces as part of a live virtual tennis tournament titled “Stay at Home Slam” taking place on Sunday at 4p. Teams are set to include the pairings of: Serena Williams & Gigi Hadid; Naomi Osaka & Hailey Bieber; Venus Williams & DeAndre Hopkins; Maria Sharapova & Karlie Kloss; Kei Nishikori & Steve Aoki; Madison Keys & Seal; Taylor Fritz & Addison Rae; and Kevin Anderson & Ryan Tannehill. Competitors will play the video game from their homes across the country, and each will receive $25,000 donated to the charity of their choice, with the winner of the tournament receiving an additional $1 million in donation. “I am proud our IMG tennis clients came together so quickly to support a multitude of great causes,” said Max Eisenbud, SVP of tennis clients at IMG. “It is a testament to the people we work with across all our divisions that we were able to bring this to life in such a short amount of time.”

Don’t miss this one today at 1:30p! With live sports and esports events being cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak, where are the fans going during lockdown and how are they engaging? Find out by during Cynopsis’ Webinar: Building A Super-Bond with Fans During the Pandemic. You’ll learn how entertainment properties, leagues, rights holders & brands are strengthening their connections with fans. The panel of speakers include:
· Damian Bazadona, Founder & President – Situation
· Doug Bernstein, GM of House of Highlights – Bleacher Report
· Heidi Browning, CMO – NHL
· Nathan Lindberg, RVP, Global Sponsorships – Twitch
· Vikki Neil, EVP & GM Digital Studios Group – Discovery Inc
· Johannes Waldstein, CEO & Founder – FanAI Inc

Alex Jebailey unveiled plans to bump CEO from its June slot to December. Posting the news on Twitter, noting that “Moving to December also helps me avoid major liability if the pandemic continues. Ty for everyone’s patience as I work on it all.” Tentative dates for CEO 2020 are now Dec. 11-13.

The LEC will return with the kickoff of the Summer Season on June 12, that the season serving up two superweeks on Week 1 and Week 8, with games played from Friday through Sunday on those weeks. As part of this updated schedule, this year’s Summer Finals will now be held on September 5 & 6, while the European Masters schedule will shift the EU Masters Finals to September 19 & 20.

Meanwhile, the 2020 LCS Summer Split opens June 13. Due to the cancellation of this year’s Mid-Season Invitational, the Summer Split has been moved to start two weeks later than normal while both Saturday and Sunday’s game will feature a new start time of 4p, while Monday Night League will hold two LCS marquee games at 8p.

DreamHack announced the 2020 Summer Split of the UK League of Legends Championship as well as a partnership agreement that designates Barclays as the lead sponsor for the esports tournament. The next season of the UKLC is set to start on June 14, and will feature eight teams from the UK and Ireland.

Last year, Epic Games was the leading publisher in hours watched across the four North American streaming platforms. This year, however, Riot Games is poised to take the top spot as they continue to steal market share through Q1 2020 largely due to the VALORANT beta. This week, Stream Hatchet investigates the YoY growth between Riot Games and Epic Games as they battle for viewership in 2020.
· Riot Games has grown 33% year-over-year, outperforming Epic Games which has fallen 29% over the same time frame.
· Riot Games’ immense League of Legends esports presence combined with the VALORANT beta has propelled the publisher to an early lead in 2020.
· Epic Games’ Fortnite has fought back using global events, like the in-game Travis Scott concert, but hours watched remain down YoY.

For more information regarding publisher viewership trends, please contact [email protected] or visit

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Categories covering roles in tv & digital and sports & esports: Ad Tech Innovators, Corporate Visionaries, Directors Who Do It All, Game Changing On Air Talent, Industry Leaders, Innovators & Disruptors, Local & National News Ambassadors, Marketing Trailblazers, Operations Front Runners, Production Pacesetters, Public Relations Gurus, Data & Research Trendsetters, Social Media Groundbreakers and Tech Leaders.

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JBL locked in a deal with 100 Thieves. As the Official Global Gaming Headset Partner of 100 Thieves, the JBL Quantum Range will be featured at the 100 Thieves Cash App Compound, including the team rooms, streaming rooms and Nadeshot’s studio. The headsets will also be used by 100 Thieves competitive teams during practice and featured in esports content, including The Heist. The 100 Thieves player jerseys featuring JBL Quantum will be available to fans via a sweepstakes on JBL’s social media later this spring. Further engagements will be announced throughout the year.

HyperX announced the signing of Fortnite streamer Soleil “Ewok” Wheeler as a HyperX brand ambassador. Under the new sponsorship, Ewok will use HyperX gaming keyboards, mice, mousepads, SSDs, and memory modules while streaming. As a HyperX brand ambassador, Ewok will exclusively use HyperX gaming products and will receive the HyperX Heroes treatment, including a hero illustration inspired by her personal gaming persona. Ewok joins a growing line up of recognized talent on the HyperX roster, including U.S. Grammy award winner Post Malone, football player JuJu Smith-Schuster, basketball players Joel Embiid and Gordon Hayward, ice hockey player Filip Forsberg and international soccer players Raphaël Varane, Dele Alli and Marco Reus.

Riot Games and Red Bull are teaming up for a new League of Legends esports gaming series. The Red Bull Power Spike launches this week in partnership with Battlefy with all members of the official League of Legends Discord channel in the US able to participate in daily 1-v-1 tournaments, with a series of unique prizes on the line.

DreamHack and CORSAIR announced that the two companies have renewed their partnership for 2020. CORSAIR will continue its support of DreamHack Masters, DreamHack Open and DreamLeague through the end of 2020. Through its subsidiary Elgato, CORSAIR will also be the official partner of DreamHack’s Stream Studio, where streamers set up shop and meet their fans at DreamHack’s festivals.

Complexity Gaming announced a partnership with BALANCED Media|Technology, a crowdsourced healthcare AI company to donate unused computer processing power to find potential treatments for the COVID-19 virus. By combining the efforts of the gaming community to run the HEWMEN application, Complexity will be able to help process more than 200,000 FDA-approved medications and compounds against models of COVID-19 to see which combinations are most effective in treating the virus.

North American’s largest collegiate esports league, Collegiate StarLeague is teaming up with short-form video platform TikTok to launch the TikTok Cup. The new event will allow collegiate players to have the opportunity to compete online across four titles, earning their share of the $60K in prize money to support education expenses; that will be split amongst the winners. Starting May 9, participants can face off in the TikTok Cup playing Fortnite, League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Rocket League in online matches.

Major League Baseball unveiled its lineup of broadcasters for the upcoming MLB The Show Players League announcing that four different US sports television networks will now carry the contests, with its final days of competition running across on ESPN, ESPN2, FS1, as well as MLB Network. MLB Network and ESPN2 will carry select regular-season matchups, while the eight-player playoff tournament opens May 1 on ESPN, ESPN2, and FS1. The best-of-five championship series will be shown May 3 on ESPN. The MLB: The Show Players League will deliver a $175,000 donation to official MLB charities the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada.

Torque Esports locked in a broadcast partnership with European television sports network Eurosport. The agreement will see Torque Esports’ The Race All-Star Series be carried through Eurosport’s reach of over 150 countries and territories. “We’re thrilled to welcome Eurosport as one of our broadcast partners. Having live coverage, direct into European homes is a great step forward for the All-Star Series,” said Torque Esports President and CEO Darren Cox.

With the recent hype around the Valorant beta drops beginning to fade and with League of Legends playoffs progressing in Europe, Korea, and North America, League of Legends took back its long-standing place as most popular game, with LEC, LCK, and LCS leading as its popular streams.


FaZe Clan and Sugar23, Academy Award-winning manager-producer Michael Sugar’s emerging management and creative platform, partnered up to launch FaZe Studios in a move to fuel, produce and source new film and television projects. FaZe Studios will look to introduce “culturally impactful movies and television shows that specifically speak to and for youth, shaping the cultural zeitgeist.” FaZe Studios will operate in Los Angeles with Sugar23 running development operations. Foxhoven will be pointing the initiative for Sugar23, while Ramos and Okusanya (VP, Content) will be leading the endeavor on behalf of FaZe Clan.

Misfits Gaming Group reportedly inked Playwire to represent the organization throughout 2020. Esports Insider writes that the expanded partnership will see Playwire provide “access to previously unreachable brands and media agencies” in addition to managing all media agency sales for Misfits Gaming Group for the remainder of the year, leveraging the company’s “content and team sponsorships” with Playwire’s “diverse portfolio of gaming and esports media.”


After drumming up over 27.7 million unique Fortnite players who participated live 45.8 million times across the five Travis Scott virtual concert events, Scott released new merchandise in his Cactus Jack for Fortnite collection that include Astro Portrait T-shirts, Cactus Jack for “Fortnite” 12″ action figures, and World Event hoodies for $85 among the merch being offered.

HyperX announced a collaboration with Red Light Management gaming subsidiary Hit Command for upcoming live and online streaming events that would blend music and entertainment celebrities with HyperX’s esports and sports star talent roster. Some of the activities that HyperX is planning to participate in include product sponsorships, artist gifting, helping artists setup live streams, and general brand support for online opportunities, such as large-scale, global live stream events.

ESL drew up a three-year licensing agreement with GUNNAR Optiks, a gaming glasses brand, to bring both esports players and fans a new range of ESL branded gaming glasses. The companies will launch two collaborations later this year, with more to come in 2021 and beyond. “As we continue to lead exponential growth in esports we also strive to professionalize the athlete experience in esports. With our goal of providing unique and innovative functional esports products, it made perfect sense to partner with the leaders in gaming glasses, GUNNAR Optiks,” said David Hiltscher, VP Shop, Merchandise, Licensing at ESL Gaming. “We look forward to equip players across the globe with ESL gaming glasses designed specifically for esports players and their fans.”


A new report from SuperData projects XR hardware and consumer software to reel in $6.3 billion in 2020, down from a prior projection of $7.7 billion, with the impact of COVID-19 impacting the industry. According to the report, supply issues caused sales of major VR headsets to fall from Q4 2019 to Q1 2020. Location-based VR venues, which had enjoyed steady growth, were unfortunately the most heavily impacted segment due to COVID-19, projecting that revenue in the category will fall 72% to $141M in 2020.

Gamescom 2020 is off the on-site books in Cologne due to the German nationwide ban due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers reportedly confirmed an alternative, digital event “will definitely take place” in its stead.

Microsoft is reporting that there are now over 10 million Xbox Game Pass subscribers, and that during the last quarter the company saw “record levels of engagement,” with nearly 90 million monthly active users of Xbox Live.

Calling all Hollywood execs. The Hollywood Gaming Club is hosting its first event, a Call of Duty: Warzone tournament, in aid of the fight against COVID-19. The event is open to anyone who works in the entertainment industry, with all money donated goes to the World Health Organization. So far executives and assistants from CAA, TheFutureParty, Ryot, Twitch, Caffeine and Cavalry Media have all signed up to play. Details can be found at


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1999: Pokemon Stadium is first released.

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WGN America & Antenna TV:
Partner with Ad Sales on both digital and linear Insights and industry materials, act as a liaison for Digital Ad Operations, Programming, Marketing, Promo Scheduling, and News division. Provide insightful reporting and data analysis. BA degree & 2+ years of Media research experience at a broadcast or cable network, agency or vendor. Full info HERE (5/9)

VP, OTT >>
Whistle/NYC: Focus on generating revenue by selling our new OTT product: WhistleTV to large US companies and to multi-platform agency clients. 8-10 yrs in OTT sales and/or multi platform digital video, incl a track record of outstanding results in attaining quarterly revenue goals. Full info HERE (5/9)

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directly support our Sales team while focusing on international platforms. 2-3 years of exp in a similar role. Previous experience with international digital content programming is req’d. Full info HERE (5/9)

FilmRise/Brooklyn NY:
Grow, nurture and maintain contact with key AVOD, SVOD, Broadcast, etc. platform marketing divisions on behalf of FilmRise and our programming partners and content providers/licensees. 2-3 yrs of exp in a similar role. Full info HERE (5/9)

Remote/NYC area:
Seeking consultant specializing in advertising campaigns for TV tune-in. Hands-on media plan’g for TV tune-in, OTT and DTC. Full info HERE (5/8)

Fox News/NYC:
Retrieve, analyze, and confirm news information, facts, statistics, and contacts. 3+ years of experience in a research role or television production. A Bachelor’s degree and/or relevant work experience. Full info HERE (5/8)

INSP/Charlotte NC:
Oversee all of INSP’s website and digital content initiatives, driving development of smart strategies to fuel increases in all key metrics. 5+yrs exp leading mngmnt of a website property. Full info HERE (5/6)

Comcast Spectacor/NYC:
An innovative-thinking sales executive, who can work and thrive in an entrepreneurial environment& partner w/acct execs to facilitate overall commercial success. 3-5 yrs of exp in ad sales, sponsorship, business development, or related fields. Full info HERE (5/5)

Comcast Spectacor/NYC:
An innovative-thinking sales executive, who can work and thrive in an entrepreneurial environment. existing relationships with key decision makers (client direct, agency representatives, etc.) existing relationships with key decision makers (client direct, agency representatives, etc.) Full info HERE (5/5)

seeking an exp’d sales professional, with a strong work ethic and deep contacts, who can represent our full suite of Linear and Digital products & services. 5+ yrs of exp in a business dvlpmnt or sales role working on an international market(s) is req’d. Full info HERE (5/5)

lead strategic & impactful photo campaigns for original content unit photo, social, editorial & gallery shoots, & event photography. Strong PjM bkgd – ability to strategically plan & execute across multiple projects simultaneously. Info/Apply HERE (5/5)

Bravo & E!/Universal City CA:
Candidate bursting w/great ideas to develop stand-out work for our Social/Digital and Linear platforms. Proven creative experience within a Social agency, advertising agency or Entertainment environment. Full info HERE (5/5)

Bravo & E!/Universal City CA:
Exceptional creative thinker w/imagination, writing, producing and editing skills to create eye-catching idea lead promos and Social content. Exp with After Effects and/or other GFX applications. Full info HERE (5/5)

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with 18+ years’ experience in media and entertainment field. Background in producing B2C/B2B, experiential and special events with added experience in digital marketing seeking FT or freelance opportunities. NYC area. [email protected] (5/5)

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CHIEF OF STAFF/STRATEGY-OPERATIONS-EXECUTION/NYC or SF: 9+ years of experience leading strategic initiatives and working as a right hand to C-suite execs to help mng their businesses. Exp’d problem solver, builder and implementer with a history of impacting change and growth within companies and communities. Contact: [email protected] (5/1)

I am seeking a Producer or Coordinating Producer position. I am currently freelancing and I am open to freelance or full-time opportunities. I have over 25 years of exp and I am based in the MA area. Specific areas of expertise include live producing, studio and remote production, writing, and coordinating producer. Contact: [email protected] (5/1)

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