05/20/21: Misfits open Agency; World Series of Warzone on deck; ESL plots hot summer
| Thursday May 20, 2021 Good morning! This is your weekly Esports Brief. Misfits Gaming Group is cranking up the heat, with the global esports and entertainment company entering new waters through a pair of deals this week. The news includes the launch of The Misfits Agency, described in the announcement as “a next-generation, hyper-agile media company vertical solely devoted to the esports and gaming audience and the brands that are vying to access it.” The org will be run by content creator Amy Palmer, delivering social content creation and building intellectual property. Early clients include SoFi and Hasbro. The Misfits Agency will be working with SoFi on a yearly content slate, focusing on targeting the gaming community and their fans. The Hasbro agreement sees Misfits Agency create and produce a high-level content campaign starring influencers like Sushibae, Pack a Puncher, and Sceptic.|
“Creating our own agency within Misfits Gaming Group marks the evolution of where our industry is heading,” Ben Spoont, CEO of Misfits Gaming Group shares. “Offering brands and companies the opportunity to reach the most loyal audience in the world through authentic content and campaigns creates value for the esports and content creator ecosystem, and brands who want the next-generation messaging.”
In addition, Misfits Gaming Group partnered with Dexerto to create and package premium sponsored/branded content across its platforms. MGG and Dexerto will collaborate to bring their collective expertise in creative programming to develop content packages that tap into Dexerto’s distribution – 25M monthly unique users, 80M monthly page views, 100M monthly video views, and 10.5M social followers globally – and MGG’s roster of esports pros and gaming entertainers. COMPETITION Activision opened the doors to the World Series of Warzone, a new esports slate that will offer competitors $1.2 million in prizes across four major online events with the opening round of qualifiers launching on May 24 and the first event, a trios competition, running June 23 in the North America region. The World Series of Warzone will be draft-based event where squads earn points for each kill and for how well they place in each individual match. These squads also play for a greater team of 10 squads led by a Captain, with the top Captain Team based on all of its squad’s points receiving additional prize winnings. The five captains will be announced at a later date.
ESL announced plans for ESL One Summer 2021, featuring a dozen teams in an online Dota competition from June 16 to 20 with a total prize pool of $400,000. ESL One Summer 2021 holds open qualifiers on May 25 and 26 with two teams making it out of the single-elimination bracket into the closed qualifier.
The Arena of Valor World Cup is finally back and will now be held online from June 19 to July 18, according to Tencent and Garena, offering a $500,000 prize pool with 16 teams competing from nine regions in total: Chinese Taipei (three), Thailand (three), Vietnam (three), Indonesia (two), Korea (one), Mainland China (one), Japan (one), Malaysia/Singapore/Philippines (one), and Brazil (one).
Electronic Arts is cranking up the prizing for the Apex Legends Global Series Championship, announcing that fans can bolster the prize pool by purchasing item bundles in the Apex Legends store and bring the total potential prize pool up to $3 million, tripling the original $1 million. In total, five different bundles will be sold through June 1.
Overwatch League reports that May Melee generated upticks in viewership over last year’s numbers, reporting an Average Minute Audience of 95,000 on YouTube and up 51%. According to Forbes, the league stated that viewership for each of the qualifying weeks in the West region more than doubled year-over-year as well to 89,000, 76,000 and 77,000 for weeks one, two and three, respectively.
Wizards of the Coast is rethinking its esports plans for Magic the Gathering, announcing that the company will launch a new organized play system following this year’s Magic World Championship XXVI event in October. The 2022 season will instead deliver fewer events for MPL and Rivals League players with the elimination of League Weekends as well as the postseason Gauntlet tournaments. At the conclusion of next season, the MPL and Rivals League will both be eliminated and players next year will instead compete for a spot at Worlds.
The*gameHERs, a women-led interactive platform for gaming, announced their first ever collegiate divisionavailable for colleges and universities nationwide. The*gameHERs Collegiate Division will look to offer “a safe, inclusive online community for women, non-binary and femme-identifying students who game and/or have a desire to work in the gaming industry.” Students will have to ability to connect and interact with other like-minded humans across the country that share the same passions. The multi-faceted program is being developed with the help of a variety of strategic partners including Lenovo Esports, e-cruitment platform Stay Plugged In, eFuse, and Evil Geniuses’ Genius League. “At Lenovo, we believe society should be inclusive and welcoming to all, including in esports,” said Jeff Palumbo, Global Esports Solutions Manager at Lenovo. “Together with the*gameHERS, we’re providing more opportunities to women, femme-identifying and non-binary gamers to do more of what they love doing in a supportive environment.”
The FIFAe World Cup formally announced its return to Londonafter last year’s hiatus due to the pandemic. Running Aug. 6-8, the EA SPORTS FIFA 21 Global Series pinnacle features the 32 best players from all over the globe battling for the FIFAe World Cup 2021 trophy.
Call of Duty League’s Minnesota Røkkr is teaming with eFuse to co-host the sixth Women of the eRena event, which will be played in Call of Duty: Warzone on May 26. The women-only event is presented by Activision and features 16 teams competing for prize money. STREAM HATCHET TRENDS There has been tons of buzz around cryptocurrencies in the past few months. While not all the talk has been positive, the trend of cryptocurrencies continues to grow online. Live streaming sites, like Twitch, have proven to be a popular forum to discuss the topic.
Although Bitcoin is known as the face of cryptocurrency, Cardano has gained substantial value and is the second-most-mentioned crypto in chat. What makes Cardano different from other cryptos is that it’s an open-source project that is software-only. xQcOW’s channel had 82 mentions of ADA in chat, mostly while playing Grand Theft Auto V. A well-known phrase associated with Cardano is “Cardano to the moon” where investors joke the surge in growth will take the currency to the moon. There were 190 mentions of that phrase in the last 30 days and 301 mentions of “ada to the moon.”
· Bitcoin has been the most talked-about cryptocurrency on Twitch over the past month with 356K mentions. xQcOW’s channel had the most mentions of Bitcoin in the last 30 days with 775.
· The popularity of Bitcoin on Twitch may be attributed to the acceptance of the cryptocurrency as payment on the Amazon-owned live streaming site.
· The growth of online crypto-casinos has also pumped the mentions of cryptocurrencies on live streaming sites. Popular streamers like xQcOW have held sponsored streams showcasing online gambling and, inevitably, generating chatter about the coins.
For more on how Stream Hatchet can help marketers keep ahead of trends within the video game and esports industries, visit us online at: www.StreamHatchet.com. SPONSORSHIP & ACTIVATION HyperX is partnering with the National Hockey League as the Official Gaming Headsets supplier of the 2021 NHL Gaming World Championship. The one-year deal sees HyperX provide headsets to the GWC broadcast team and qualified competitors, engage in product placement opportunities throughout all phases of the global tournament, and participate in community giveaways during the matches on Twitch. “As we have paused live special events temporarily due to COVID-19, having the best equipment for our competitors in a remote broadcast environment is paramount,” said Chris Golier, NHL Vice President of Business Development and Innovation. “HyperX is the category leader in headsets and we are thrilled to partner with them to provide Cloud headsets to our talent and competitors for a superior audio experience this NHL GWC season.”
Esports Technologies. a global provider of advanced electronic sports wagering products and technology, lined up a new marketing partnership with NBA star Jordan Clarkson of the Utah Jazz. He will serve as a brand ambassador and partner with Esports Technologies on marketing campaigns to raise awareness of the brand across digital and social platforms.
FACEIT entered into a partnership with New York-based coffee brand Death Wish Coffee with the partnership delivering a slate of campaign activations for FACEIT users to take part in, including missions, community nights, and sweepstakes. The deal is the coffee brand’s first foray into esports.
Boost Gaming signed on as an official partner of the Celebrity Esports Superstar League, with the deal set to include online shop activations and exclusive offers for viewers during its inaugural season. The celebrity-focused entertainment esports series is slate to launch on May 28.
Gamers Club, a gaming platform owned by Immortals Gaming Club, signed on Intel and Acer as sponsors of the Pride Cup, a Brazilian online tournament to promote the LGBTQIA+ community. The Pride Cup runs May 18-June 18 and will feature CS:GO, VALORANT, and League Of Legends.
76ers Gaming Club announced a multi-year partnership that names Zipchair the Official Gaming Chair of the team. Zipchair will equip 76ers GC players and staff with 76ers GC-branded gaming chairs and furniture for use in NBA 2K League competition, team training, player streams and other content at both the Philadelphia 76ers Training Complex and official team house.
The London Royal Ravens, ReKTGlobal’s Call of Duty League franchise team, announced the addition of leading esports and sports betting platform, Midnite, as team sponsor. This new partnership will include jersey sponsorship, content creation, and more. “The London Royal Ravens proudly stand as the sole team representing the United Kingdom in the Call of Duty League, so we’re thrilled to be partnering with another UK-based organization in Midnite,” said Brad Sive, Chief Revenue Officer at ReKTGlobal. “Midnite is the best-in-class, so we know this partnership will add value to our community that are Royal Ravens fans, as well as those that are fans of traditional sports.” Measurement & Data Virtual Conference
SESSION SPOTLIGHT: Attribution – Where Are We Now?
What are some of the new techniques and systems for tracking the consumer journey through this ever-changing media landscape of new platforms, delivery systems and changing consumer behaviors, especially after the pandemic changed viewing and purchasing patterns?
Paul Donato (ARF) will moderate the discussion on June 15 at 2:20pm between John Vilade (Premion), Jessica Daigle (TEGNA), & Sunil Soman (WarnerMedia).
REGISTER NOW PLATFORMS Sony is reportedly adding an automated system that will allow the PlayStation to offer betting optionsto players. A patent was reportedly filed on May 13 by Sony Interactive Entertainment and is titled “E-Sports Betting Platform” and details a system where users are able to bet currency (including Bitcoin) or digital items, with odds that are determined by AI.
Allied Esports reached an agreement with streaming workflow platform MuxIP to distribute hundreds of hours of content to select OTT platforms available around the world. The multiyear agreement is Allied Esports’ first distribution deal for originally produced content. More than 250 hours of Allied Esports-produced competition and broadcasts from HyperX Esports Arena Las Vegas and international online tournaments is now available on the Allied Esports channel on streaming platforms PLEX, RiverTV, SportsTribal TV, Switch TV and HerogoTV. “The demand for high-quality esports content continues to grow exponentially as streaming platforms expand their entertainment programming and overall reach,” said Jud Hannigan, CEO of Allied Esports. “We’re thrilled to tap into our library and introduce new viewers and fans to some of the top competitive gaming content in the world.”
Esports Media Inc, the company behind Esports.gg, announced a new partnership with Razer. “Esports is a part of Razer’s DNA,” said Khang Thai, Sr. Global Esports Lead at Razer. “I am excited to work with such a talented crew at Esports.gg because their team is filled with leaders in their respective areas, and reporting on the exciting things happening in esports through their lens is critical to continuing our leadership in the industry.”
All Sports Television Network entered into an agreement with Racing Unleashed AG. Under the terms of the agreement, ALL SPORTS will feature the e-Motorsports company’s international competitions on the network and two companies will collaborate on additional projects to bring the technology to America. “I was first introduced to Racing Unleashed on our Racemax television series. As soon as I saw their segment, I wanted to work with this company,” stated ALL SPORTS President Roger Neal Smith.
eUnited struck a partnership with Apple Pay for a new online store and series of online tournaments titled eUnited Arena. Apple Pay will serve as the exclusive payment option across eUnited’s ecosystem including tickets and merchandise. eUnited Arena is a weekly tournament series that begins on May 26 and will feature Call of Duty, Rocket League, Fortnite, and Super Smash Bros. INDUSTRY June sees the return of Summer Game Fest, an all-digital, free global fan festival. Featuring updates for fans from more than 30 of the industry’s leading game publishers, developers and platforms, Summer Game Fest will include a lineup of original programming, publisher live stream events and more. The event will include updates for fans from the following partners, with more to be announced: 2K, Activision, Amazon Games, Annapurna Interactive, Bandai Namco Entertainment, Battlestate Games, Blizzard Entertainment, CAPCOM, Devolver Digital, Dotemu, Electronic Arts, Epic Games, Finji, Frontier, Gearbox Publishing, Hi-Rez Studios, Inner Sloth, Koch Media, Mediatonic, MiHoYo, PlayStation, Psyonix, Raw Fury, Riot Games, Saber Interactive, SEGA, Steam, SQUARE ENIX, Tribeca Festival, Tencent Games, Warner Bros. Games, Ubisoft, Wizards of the Coast, and Xbox. Summer Game Fest will blast off with Kick Off Live!, a spectacular world premiere showcase streaming globally on June 10 at 2p ET. “As a free, fan-first, global experience, Summer Game Fest will bring the entire video game community together for a memorable month of announcements and updates,” said Geoff Keighley, curator, Summer Game Fest. READYUP GAMES OF THE WEEK ROSTER MOVES
Immortals Gaming Club named Jordan Sherman as the company’s new president and CCO. Sherman joins from Gen. G, where he serves as Head of Revenue.
Esports Engine tapped Alfred Chak to serve as its Chief Operations Officer where he will work with the company’s senior leadership on short and long-term business strategies, as well as executing business expansion and growth plans while overseeing the operational initiatives and financial reporting across the company. GET SMARTER, FASTER
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