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07/09/20: Psynoix hitches a ride with IMG

Medias First Morning Read
Thursday July 9, 2020

Good morning! This is your weekly Esports Brief.
Psyonix is turning to IMG for global licensing representation for Rocket League and will see IMG look to locking consumer products based on the game. Categories could include apparel, toys, collectibles, accessories and innovative and creatively rich brand collaborations, according to reports. “During a time of remarkable esports industry growth, ‘Rocket League’ is one of the most popular games in the world. Rocket League’s combination of cars, adrenaline-fueled game play, competition, music and customization gives us the perfect scope to build a creative and fun licensing program that fans will love,” said Matthew Primack, senior vice president of licensing at IMG, per Variety. “We are looking forward to tapping into new territories and expanding the game’s global footprint through consumer products and collaborations.”

Longtime gaming staple The Sims is going competitive, with Electronic Arts partnering up with ELEAGUE and Buzzfeed Multiplayer for a reality competition series centered around EA’s long-running franchise. Titled, The Sims Spark’d, the show will feature contestants given creative challenges to build the most unique characters, worlds and stories via The Sims 4. The Sims Spark’d presented by ELEAGUE will debut July 17 at 11p on TBS, with encore telecasts airing on Saturdays at 8a on the network. BuzzFeed Multiplayer serves as the premiere digital destination, streaming each The Sims Spark’d episode on the Monday after it is televised. Rayvon Owen hosts with judges that include Kelsey Impicciche, Tayla Parx, and Dave Miotke.

Riot Games is teaming up with PAX to offer the PAX Arena VALORANT Invitational, spanning July 22-26. The tournament will feature 16 professional organizations as well as four influencer squads with competition co-streamed on both the PAX Arena Twitch channel andthe official VALORANT Twitch channel. Players will also be able to stream their points of view on their individual Twitch channels.

Activision Blizzard is backing Twitch streamer and FaZe Clan member Nick “NickMercs” Kolcheff in a move to expand his MFAM Gauntlet Warzone tournament series. ESPN reports that – in addition to helping with promotional support – Activision will up the prize pool for the MFAM Gauntlet to $100,000, doubling the amount for the June MFAM event. The gauntlet will move from a monthly-event format to a four-week series, with qualifiers and a main event each week. Week 1 of the series will begin with a qualifier at 3p on Monday.

Multiple sexual misconduct allegations against EVO co-founder Joey “MrWizard” Cuellar saw the company dismiss him in addition to cancelling its upcoming annual event, which would have run online this year amid the pandemic. After the allegations were revealed, multiple publishers – such as NetherRealm Studios, Capcom, and Bandai Namco – pulled their titles from the event, while a number of high-profile players also stated that they would not be taking part in the event. Tony Cannon was tapped to run the company in the interim.

The Call of Duty League confirmed that the remainder of its season, including the 2020 Season Playoffs and Championship Weekend, will be held online. With plans locked in, the company also unveiled “new technology improvements and measures we will be taking to further monitor for competitive integrity.” Changed will include a universal camera setup that will be active throughout all matches. The cameras will provide visibility for league officials to view and check each competitor’s console, controller, and monitor as needed. For each CDL Home Series, teams are provided a list of three servers (from a pool of nine) to test and determine which servers they prefer to veto. During the Playoffs and Championship Weekend, the league will increase the veto server options to five for each match. Finally, the CDL will bulk up production, technical, and officiating staffing teams.

USA TODAY Sports Media Group and Super League Gaming partnered up for a collaboration that kicks off with the premiere Madden NFL 20 Tournament where players will go head to head in a bracket-style competition, with the top 10 finishers sharing a cash prize. “The partnership with Super League enables USA TODAY Sports Media Group to bring its audience of over 60 million sports fans the opportunity to compete in online esports competitions,” said Chris Pirrone, General Manager, USA TODAY Sports Media Group. “Together, USA TODAY Sports and Super League are excited to provide a platform for mainstream video gamers to battle for supremacy in their favorite games, starting with Madden NFL 20.”

After 9 seasons, Psyonix detailed plans for RLCS X, a rebuilt and restructured Rocket League season that will move to an open event-based circuit format that culminates in an annual Rocket League World Championship, replacing the bi-annual season. Throughout the season more than $4,500,000 in prizing will be awarded across all regions with three Splits that each culminate with a Major. The World Championship has also been expanded to 16 teams (six from North America, six from Europe, two from South America, and two from Oceania). South America and Oceania will have their own circuit of events that will serve as official pathways to Majors and the World Championship.

Meanwhile, ESPN Esports and esports and gaming platform eFuse teamed up with Gamers.Vote for a Call of Duty: Warzone event, titled Women of the eRena, which will feature 32 women competing in a four-part series starting Thursday. The quads tournament will include eight teams comprised of streamers and celebrities, including U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team and OL Reign midfielder Allie Long, Aerial Powers of the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, esports hosts and streamers Erin Ashley Simon and Katie Bedford; and popular community personalities including AnneMunition, G2 Esports content creator Athena, Cloud9 streamer C9EmZ and former OpTic Gaming streamer and current Minnesota RØKKR director of content Ashley “MiDNiteMN” Glassel. Competition will begin at 4:30p on the ESPN Esports Twitch channel.

Complexity Gaming and the U.S. Army’s Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, part of the Installation Management Command, are joining forces to conduct a worldwide 12-week online esports tournament that is underway. The Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program will be promoting participation in the tournaments at the garrisons with competition featuring multiple game titles for Soldiers to compete in at their garrisons throughout the 12 weeks. The first game will be Madden NFL 20. “We understand the challenges with social distancing and the closure of certain facilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said the Department of the Army’s BOSS Representative, Staff Sgt. Adrian Mooney. “We wanted to bring a form of entertainment that would be easily accessible to Soldiers. It is a form of entertainment that most Soldiers already have the resources for in the comfort of their barracks or homes.”

Barnes & Noble College teamed up with the American Video Game League to launch Autumn Anarchy, a new college esports tournament. Autumn Anarchy will invite more than 500 gamers nationwide to compete in qualifying tournaments for the popular gaming title, Fortnite, as millions of fans tune in to watch the action. The tournament winners will receive $10,000 in scholarship prize money and gain entry into “Code Red,” one of the largest influencer esports events in the industry. Beginning in early September, Barnes & Noble College’s digital and in-store media channels will serve as the exclusive access point for student gamers to sign up for the Fortnite tournament via a dedicated email or QR Code sign featured at the front entrance of more than 150 participating Barnes & Noble College campus stores. An online qualifying tournament hosted on will kick off in September, and the top college teams will move forward to compete in an online championship livestreamed on Twitch in October.

Zaxby’s inked a deal to become the exclusive restaurant sponsor of Ali Hassan, aka “SypherPK.” Hassan is a professional gamer and streamer with 11 million followers across multiple online platforms including Twitch. His first Zaxby’s-sponsored livestreaming session was held July 2 and garnered nearly 300,000 unique viewers. His announcement stream generated over 100,000 hours watched worldwide during the 12-hour stream. The ongoing sponsorship offers viewers chances to win Zaxby’s gift cards and opportunities to play against SypherPK in upcoming streams.

The eNASCAR Heat Pro League named Fanatec as the official steering wheel partner for the esports series. The deal will see the drivers in the eNASCAR Heat Pro League all use Fanatec equipment throughout the championship and Fanatec branding appear in the game NASCAR Heat 5. Thomas Jackermeier, CEO of Fanatec, said: “NASCAR is without a doubt one of the greatest and most spectacular racing series on the planet and we are proud to work with Motorsport Games to make the virtual experience even more realistic. Fanatec will support the eNASCAR Heat Pro League with our NASCAR-licensed products for many years to come.”

Dignitas announced that online privacy and security firm ExpressVPN was named an Official Team Partner and the Exclusive VPN Provider of Dignitas. Through the partnership, ExpressVPN will provide Dignitas esports athletes with a secure online environment and ultimate protection from DDoS attacks for online competitions and live streaming. The partnership will provide Dignitas fans with unique, high-engaging YouTube content that shows off the skill and personality of Dignitas esports athletes while also highlighting the benefits of using a VPN for gaming and live streaming.

DreamHack inked a one-year agreement for 2020 with recycling company Pantamera. As part of the renewed partnership, the two organizations will collaborate with Samuel “SampeV2” Stronegger and Yacine Laghmari to create a new talk show format, which will be produced in the DreamHack Studio in Stockholm. A total of eight episodes will be released beginning on Aug. 4 , and continuing through October 2020.. In addition, Pantamera will attend DreamHack Winter (December 2020) where they will host a booth, and feature the new talk show live on stage.

Gen.G is teaming with Samsung to produce two mobile gaming events, a Minecraft Pocket-Edition Build Contest on July 16 and Lonestar Mobile Gaming College Championship on Aug. 1. “Mobile gaming has become a part of mainstream entertainment. We’re excited to bring these events around two of the most popular mobile games together with Samsung,” said Martin Kim, VP of Strategic Partnerships with Gen.G.

Did you know that MLS fans have the strongest crossover with esports fans? With FIFA as a leading crossover sports game, the opportunity for interacting with soccer fans during COVID is ripe for the picking. Want to see what esports soccer fans watch most? Let us know!


We’re searching for the most innovative executives in digital media who excel in digital content, marketing, advertising, social media to take their place on Cynopsis Digital’s “It List.” These are the people who shake up the status quo and are shaping digital media’s future.


Welcome to the 2nd half of 2020. With two quarters in the books, Stream Hatchet is proud to release our Q2 insights report. This week’s post highlights some of the top trends marketers should understand around streaming platform growth:
Total cross-platform hours watched doubled from 3.8 billion hours in Q3 2019 to 7.6 billion hours in Q2 2020, an increase of 98%.
· Mixer’s hours watched decreased by about 6% over the past year, which may have played a role in Microsoft’s decision to cease operations of the platform.
· Facebook Gaming grew the fastest over the past four quarters; a 320% increase in hours watched compared to YouTube Gaming’s 103% and Twitch’s 84.9%.
For the full report visit:

Riot unveiled a new way for LCS fans to earn rewards while watching the live matches with Drops starting with Week 5. After the Classic Showmatch on Friday, the opening game of Friday Night League pitting the Immortals/Dignitas will allow fans to collect items such as champions, skins and blue essence.

Facebook Gaming is teaming up with 11 athletes to “help connect and entertain fans at home while also raising money for COVID-19 relief and social justice.” All summer, these athletes will be streaming a game of their choice exclusively on Facebook via Facebook Gaming and on their own Facebook Pages while running fundraisers during each livestream. The athletes include: Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz; Julian Edelman, New England Patriots; Allie Long, U.S. Soccer/Reign FC; Brittney Griner, Phoenix Mercury; JaVale McGee, Los Angeles Lakers; Josh Richardson, Philadelphia 76ers and more. “Athletes continue to be remarkable forces for good on social media and we’re excited for this particular group to use Facebook Gaming this summer to entertain fans and raise money for incredibly important causes,” said Evan Shugerman, Facebook Athlete Sports Partnerships Lead.

IDC released a new study in partnership with Esports Charts detailing the apparent effects of the COVID-19 outbreak and pandemic on Amazon’s Twitch platform and on esports tournament streaming generally. The report did a deep dive into Twitch livestreaming results from September 2019 through May 2020. Highlights include:
· Using last December’s livestreamed hours watched as baseline, Twitch hours viewed in May were up 99% (1.72 billion vs. 867 million hours watched worldwide);
· Across Twitch’s 15 most consistently popular games from September 2019 to May 2020, total hours watched grew 88% between last December and this May, and these same top 15 most consistently popular games represented close to half (48%) of global Twitch hours watched since the beginning of this year;
· In the US, the survey stated that 72% of gamers who watched esports were male, which may actually be evidence of a diversifying audience, down deom 81% in a 2016 survey from Nielsen. Esports fans also skewed younger, with a mean age of 32 and 80% of esports fans being 44 or under.


The Pittsburgh Knights, and charity fundraising platform, Softgiving, announced additional talent for the Wiz and Friends Charity Livestream taking place on Saturday. The event will be hosted by Wiz Khalifa in his first-ever gaming live stream with Twitch streamer Austin emceeing the event. Additional talent includes: Twitch streamer and professional gamer xQc; rappers LoodyBoy, ChevyWoods, G Herbo and Ricky P; music producer Sledgren; YouTube talent Vikkstar; rapper and producer Ty Dolla $ign; producer TM88; rapper Lil Yachty; TV personality Steve-O; and FaZe Clan’s Nate Hill. The event will benefit Rise Above the Disorder.

CLG & Squarespace put out an open call to Anime artists to provide a portfolio for the opportunity to work with CLG on their 2021 League of Legends Match Graphic Series and earn $5,000 ($2,500 for winning & $2,500 for the series). Judges on this campaign are CLG Apex player NiceWigg, CLG Smash player PewPewU and LCS Assistant Coach xSojin. Artists have until the end of the week to submit and four finalists will be selected. The winner will be determined by both a fan vote and the CLG judges.

FaZe Clan announced a new capsule collection commemorating the late Juice WRLD and honoring the artist’s first posthumous album, Legends Never Die. Th collection pays tribute to the significant impact he left on the gaming community. In close collaboration with Juice WRLD’s camp and Quantum PFS, FaZe Clan’s in-house design team created the capsule drawing inspiration from Juice WRLD’s new project, his legacy and the moments he created together with FaZe Clan. Along with several graphic tees and a hoodie, the collection uniquely features a paintball jersey with matching mesh shorts, drawing from memories Juice made with FaZe Clan during a paintball game last year.

Bethesda’s game franchise Fallout is getting the TV treatment, with Amazon announcing plans to turn the post-apocalyptic title into a TV series that will be made by Kilter Films, the production company run by the showrunners for HBO’s Westworld. “Over the last decade, we looked at many ways to bring Fallout to the screen,” said todd Howard, Executive Producer at Bethesda Game Studios. “But it was clear from the moment I first spoke with Jonah and Lisa a few years ago, that they and the team at Kilter were the ones to do it right. We’re enormous fans of their work and couldn’t be more excited to work with them and Amazon Studios.”

Microsoft announced plans for its Xbox Game Showcase this year, locking in July 23 for the event at 9a PT. Geoff Keighley hosts a preshow at 8a.

While Pokémon GO celebrates its fourth anniversary, the mobile title has now topped $3.6 billion in lifetime revenue since launch, according to Sensor Tower. 2019 marked the title’s best year yet, drumming up $905 million globally. So far in 2020, according to the report, the game reeled in over $445 million for the first half of the year.


Cynopsis Sports Media Awards

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2013: Dota 2 is released.

In 1981, Buckner and Garcia scored big and created a fever with a song about what video game? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
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