07/08/21: Collegiate Esports’ Big Bond; CDL will crown champs in LA; Gen.G bags Crocs
| Thursday July 8, 2021 Good morning! This is your weekly Esports Brief. The collegiate esports community got a shakeup when industry heavyweights CSL Esports, The National Association of Collegiate Esports, Nerd Street, and Mainline unveiled a partnership to launch NACE Starleague, which will become the largest collegiate esports league in North America with more than 14,500 students from 600 colleges and universities. Additionally, the formation of NACE Starleague creates numerous potential broadcast opportunities. NACE Starleague operations will begin in fall 2021 and host multiple tiers of skill levels to be inclusive of all collegiate programs from student-run club to school-sanctioned varsity teams with registration opening in early August for varsity. NACE will help oversee match rules in compliance with game publishers, student-athlete verification, recruitment best practices, and varsity team development.|
In addition to supporting NACE Starleague broadcast, live event operations and ticketing, Nerd Street will be providing college teams with increased access to in-person play, training facilities, and broadcast production. Mainline’s digital infrastructure will provide team management, student authentication for colleges and universities, deep sponsorship integrations, and up-to-date privacy and legal compliance.
“This partnership marks a truly historic milestone for collegiate esports,” said Rob Johnson, CEO, CSL Esports. “Combining the efforts of four major players in collegiate esports is a transformative moment to create more access and opportunities for student-athletes and further elevate the sport in ways that were previously not possible. The new NACE Starleague and our partnership will not only advance the competitive experience for student-athletes and provide them with an ideal place to showcase their skills, it will also help colleges and universities navigate the space as program numbers soar across North America.”
“Our partnership will bring together the largest number of North American institutions and students that collegiate esports has ever seen,” said Michael Brooks, Executive Director of NACE. “Working together with some of the biggest powerhouses in the collegiate esports industry enables us to bring the greatest value to students and administrators while maintaining the institutional voice for students and staff. That voice is critical for the long-term success of esports. Additionally, students and institutions will all have opportunities at all levels including varsity, junior varsity, and club. This, in turn, enables us to grow each space together.”
“I’m excited to be a part of a changing tide that unites businesses in our industry to cooperate instead of excluding one another,” said John Fazio, CEO of Nerd Street. “We hope that this partnership will define success in a way that drives greater collaboration amongst our peers in the industry, and ultimately delivers value to our stakeholders: the gamers.” NACE Starleague matches will be run on the Mainline tournament platform, the preferred collegiate esports tournament software platform in North America.
“Mainline is extremely proud to support NACE Starleague with their efforts to continue to grow collegiate esports through this dynamic partnership,” Said Chris Buckner, CEO of Mainline. “We are excited they have selected us as their preferred software in their efforts to drive continuity and scale for their esports events and competitions.” COMPETITION The Call of Duty League detailed plans for the Call of Duty League Championship Weekend from Aug.19–22, running live from the Galen Center in Los Angeles, with $1.2 million up for grabs for first place and competition running at noon daily. In addition, the Call of Duty League is inviting fans to attend an event for the first time since the start of the pandemic, announcing that tickets were on sale for the Stage 5 Major slated to run July 29-Aug. 1 at Esports Stadium Arlington. Fans will be able to join for the final two days of the major,
After being forced to scratch plans for The International 10 in Stockholm,Valve announced that Bucharest, Romania would now play host to the famed Dota 2 championship. As a result of the move, TI10 will now begin Oct. 7, with the playoffs starting on Oct. 12 at the Arena Nationala.
WePlay! is launching a $100,000 CS:GO league for academy teams in partnership with Astralis Talent, FURIA Academy, Young Ninjas (NiP), Na’Vi Junior, mouz NXT (mousesports), BIG Academy, Virtus Pro Prodigy, and Fnatic, per HLTV. Competing teams in the WePlay! Academy League season one will launch on July 19 with an online round-robin group stage that will see the top three teams advance directly to the double-elimination playoffs.
EVO announced a late add to its lineup for this year’s Evo 2021 Online event, adding Skullgirls 2nd Encore to the mix of main titles being showcased and joining Guilty Gear Strive, Mortal Kombat 11, Street Fighter V, and Tekken 7.
Blizzard announced that The Arena World Championship returns for Shadowlands Season 2 Circuit on August 31, as the top 16 teams across North America and Europe face off in the Season 2 Circuit and their share of the $160,000 global prize pool. They’ll compete in a four-week round-robin, beginning on July 31, with the top four teams in each region advancing to the Shadowlands 2021 Grand Finals for a shot at standing as the best PvP teams in all of Shadowlands and the $300,000 prize pool
Esports Business Summit is coming at you fast, bigger and better than ever! Be sure to check out our program and first wave of speakers for this year’s killer event, running Oct. 18-20 in Las Vegas. Get in early, and join us for the most engaging experience yet with special partners, speakers, surprises and events in store as the esports industry reemerges from the pandemic. Check out EsportsBizSummit.com and get your tickets today!
PUBG Mobile ranked as the world’s most popular mobile esport in 2020, according to Esports Charts, notching 134.5 million hours watched for the title. Garena’s Free Fire took a close second with 132.2 million hours watched, followed by Arena of Valor and Mobile Legends Bang Bang and Clash Royale rounding out the top five.
The Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Professional League will reportedly expand to Brazil, marking a shift from its Southeast Asia roots, per Dot Esports. Currently, the MPL runs in four countries in the region: the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia. STREAM HATCHET TRENDS Stream Hatchet is pleased to release our latest “Q2 2021 Live Streaming” report.One of the biggest growing trends this past quarter was music live streaming. When the global shutdown put a pause on live events, music was one of the industries that utilized live streaming platforms to adapt to virtual audiences. It was so successful that Twitch created a “Music” category. The communal, interactive nature of live streaming provides the audience with real time engagement, like listening parties.
Here are some key insights on the growing Music category:
* Since the creation of the “Music” category on Twitch, channels have generated a total of over 230M watch hours.
* The top Twitch music channel of Q2 2021, Sintica, generated 1.2M hours watched.
* Some of the most popular Twitch music channels, like Monstercat, are 24/7 radio stations that help promote small artists of a certain genre.
For more on how Stream Hatchet can help marketers stay ahead of trends within the video game and esports industries, visit us online at:www.StreamHatchet.com. SPONSORSHIP & ACTIVATION ESL Gaming and Monster Energy tied up a deal for the beverage brand to become a new Global Partner with activation that includes 18 competitions within the ESL Pro Tour CS:GO, including Intel Extreme Masters, the ESL Pro League, DreamHack Open, and ESEA Premier; as well as ESL Gaming’s Dota 2 properties, ESL One and DreamLeague Dota 2 leagues. In addition, they will become the first-ever global partner of the analytics platform CS:GO Hub. “What started as a new and exciting partnership between DreamHack and Monster Energy in 2014 has since developed into one of the longest and most successful partnerships within the esports and gaming industry,” said Monster Energy CMO Dan McHugh. “Not only have we enabled top-tier DreamHack esports tournaments, but we have also been an integral part of their festivals throughout the world with exciting on-site activations that have gathered fans of all ages and backgrounds. We look forward to growing our relationship even further with ESL Gaming and being a part of the future of esports across the globe.
ESL Gaming also partnered with global cryptocurrency platform Coinbase.Under the terms of the deal, Coinbase will become the “official cryptocurrency partner” for select ESL events in 2021 and 2022, starting with IEM Cologne 2021. Other events include the ESL Pro Tour circuit for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, StarCraft II and Warcraft III.
Gen.G revealed a partnership with Crocs with activation that includes a ‘Build Your Life in Color‘ Minecraft event that runs through July 9. Judges include Avery ‘LittleSiha’, Jerome ‘JeromeASF’ Aceti, Ryan ‘RyGuyRocky’ Damon, Jimmy ‘Solidarity’, Steffen ‘Doc M77’ Mössner, ‘IYMAN’, ‘ACAU’, and ‘Pacckker’. “The ‘Build Your Life in Color’ competition is another example of how Crocs continues to innovate by creating authentic relationships with brand fans and consumers on the digital stage,” said Crocs SVP & Chief Marketing Officer Heidi Cooley. “Just like Crocs, the world of Minecraft is inspired by creativity and self-expression, and we’re excited to collaborate with Gen.G on a program that brings Crocs together with the gaming community.”
CLG secured a deal with lighting and smart home device manufacturer Govee in which Govee will become the Official Lighting Partner of the org. The deal will see CLG & Govee offer players with desktop gaming lighting, create cobranded RGBIC LED lighting products, and collaborate on marketing campaigns across social media, streaming, and the web.
Razer locked in a partnership with Ninjas in Pyjamas and will now equip all team players with gaming peripherals that include mice, headsets, and keyboards. The brand will also work with NiP’s players during ‘the research and development phase of new esports products’.
OverActive Media, parent company of MAD Lions, Toronto Ultra, and Toronto Defiant, expanded its partnership with Toronto-Dominion Bank in a deal that will now seeTD Bank become a sponsor of the company’s CDL franchise Toronto Ultra. The bank will also continue to sponsor Toronto Defiant, OverActive Media’s Overwatch League franchise. TD Bank also picked up naming rights for OverActive Media’s ‘Player Lounge.’
Fnatic locked up a global partnership with global cybersecurity and digital privacy firm Kaspersky, that will deliver multi-channel digital content campaigns, digital event series’, and place the Kaspersky brand mark on the jersey of the Fnatic Rising League of Legends team. Content will be showcased across the team’s digital channels, including multiple content series’ produced by Fnatic, activations in digital events. To Do Today: Enter for a Tempest Award
Put your company in the spotlight as one of the esports’ most prestigious players. Time is running out: your entries are due next week on July 15.
Winners will be named live during the Esports Business Summit at the Tempest Awards Gala on October 19.
READY.SET.ENTER. PLATFORMS Engine Media Holdings announced that its Winview Inc. is suing DraftKings Inc, alleging infringement of patents owned by Winview. The lawsuit alleges that various gaming services provided by DraftKings infringe Winview’s United States Patent No. 9,878,243 entitled “Methodology for Equalizing Systemic Latencies in Television Reception in Connection with Games of Skill Played in Connection with Live Television Programming” and United States Patent No. 10,721,543 (the “‘543 Patent”) entitled “Method Of and System For Managing Client Resources and Assets for Activities On Computing Devices.” The action seeks the recovery of damages and other appropriate relief. TEAMS Excel Sports secured a $27 millionfunding round, led by investment fund JRJ Group, which first acquired a majority shareholding in 2018 alongside TOMS Capital LLC. Amongst the new investors joining them are IPGL Ltd, the family office of Michael Spencer; the family office of Alan Howard; and the international private equity firm TNF Investments.Funding will go to helpExcel strengthen its infrastructure, open up operations in new areas and develop the XL.gg digital platform.
Swiss organization Team BDS is entering the LEC, announcing that it had purchased Schalke 04 Esports’ slot in the league. Schalke 04 will continue to compete in the LEC until the end of the 2021 season. We wish the team the best of luck in their remaining matches and look forward to making some great final memories together.
London-based global esports performance brand Fnatic has unveiled a set of safeguarding policiesdesigned specifically for pro gaming. Fnatic’s goal is to develop a safer system that protects current and future gamers. It also includes a policy which outlines the risks faced by those under the age of 18.
ROSTER MOVESMSG Sports named Greg Kim as Head of CLG. Kim previously served as the Director of Esports for Evil Geniuses and will now oversee all business operations for the CLG org. ”As a New Yorker and a lifelong fan in both sports and gaming spaces, I couldn’t be more thrilled to join an esports organization as storied as CLG and to be affiliated with Madison Square Garden Sports, my hometown franchise,” said Mr. Kim. “I’m excited to lead CLG into the future, and I look forward both to advancing the business and collaborating with our passionate fanbase to build further upon the organization’s legacy.”
DreamHack Chief Strategy Officer Tomas Lyckedal is reportedly departing the company after a 12 year run. Esports Insider reports that Lyckedal joined DreamHack at the age of 23 as the company’s Head of Esports and Editor in Chief of DreamHack Magazine. READYUP GAMES OF THE WEEK TRIVIA
According to the Pixar movie Wreck-It Ralph, in what game does Ralph appear? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia QuestionFor our connoisseur crowd, name the classic 1980 game pictured last issue. Answer: Missile Command. Kudos: Julie Reuther/Sydney; Ken Horisaka-Student/Tokyo; Brian Traynor-Endeavor/NY; Rob Casalaina-ITN/NY; Matt Sauter-WideOrbit/Harrisburg; Joe Heyer-Spectra Partnerships/Philadelphia; Creed Heilskov-ImOn Communications/Cedar Rapids; Jason Morrow-Toyota/Houston; Julie Schell/Chicago; Daniel Hanson/Vail; Andy Babb-Super League Gaming/Santa Monica; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Greg Dudsic/LA Cynopsis Team Chris Pursell
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