07/22/21: Atlantic & Xbox go Green; Riot’s Wild Rift plans; BLAST feels the Twitch
| Thursday July 22, 2021 Good morning! This is your weekly Esports Brief. Atlantic Records is plugging in to a new competition gaming initiative, teaming with Xbox to launch The Green Room, described as an “innovative music and gaming crossover event series presented in partnership with VaynerSports and eFuse. The series debuts on July 27 at 6p, exclusively via the official Atlantic Records YouTube channel. The series is hosted by Mitch “OG Pickle” Long and Joey Franchize and will feature ten gaming squads competing. Each team is composed of an Atlantic recording artist, a high-profile streamer and a renowned athlete.|
Among the artists taking part in the debut event are A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Against The Current’s Chrissy Costanza, Childish Major, Bankrol Hayden, Jucee Froot, Surf Curse, Sueco, Bizzy Banks, and MILES, as well as streamers Vikkstar, HusKerrs, Clutch Belk, Destroy, Tommey, Expel, Scope, Demi, BobbyPoff, and athletes including UFC fighters Sean O’Malley, Stipe Miocic, Chris Weidman and Max Halloway, NBA/WNBA stars Seth Curry, Tre Jones, Cole Anthony, Aerial Powers, and NFL player Marquez Valdes-Scantling. In between rounds, The Green Room will showcase a wide variety of exclusive content including music videos, interviews, and much more. The Green Room viewers will be able to get in on the action via an array of exciting contests and giveaways with prizes ranging from exclusive merch to tickets to upcoming tours, an Xbox Series X and other gaming equipment.
“Gaming clears my mind, whenever I’m stressed, going through anything, it helps me relax and get my mind off things. I’m a big fan of Gary V and Vaynersports, and am excited to be a part of this,” Bankrol Hayden said. COMPETITION Riot Games mapped out its plans for Wild Rift esports, with Leo Faria, head of Wild Rift esports, laying out the company’s vision for competition and writing that “We’re building a new esports ecosystem that is self-sustaining and independent of LoL Esports on PC,” and noting that “ Wild Rift esports is not viewed here at Riot Games as a gateway to LoL Esports” with an eye to make the game a true global mobile esport by investing significantly in western regions, like the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East. Early priorities will include: focusing efforts on Wild Rift at the professional level and making esports viewing on a phone a better experience.
Overwatch League is returning to live events just in time for the 2021 postseason, which kicks off in September. The league announced that the 2021 Overwatch League Grand Finals will be held at the Galen Center in Los Angeles on Sept. 25, while a playoff event will run Sept. 16-19 at the Esports Stadium Arlington in Dallas.
ESL Gaming and Intel Corporation are reporting big numbers for the Intel Extreme Masters Cologne 2021 event, which peaked with more than 840,000 people watching the 3-0 grand final between Natus Vincere and G2 Esports (excluding China), and ranking as the second highest viewed non-Major CS:GO tournament of all time, after IEM Katowice 2020. Up next in the ESL Pro Tour for CS:GO is ESL Pro League Season 14 which is set to take place on Aug. 16 – Sept. 12, followed by IEM Fall which will be held on Sept. 28 – Oct 10.
With the Olympics underway in Tokyo, the IOC revealed numbers for the first-ever, Olympic-licensed event for physical and non-physical virtual sports, the Olympic Virtual Series. The org revealed that nearly 250,000 participants from over 100 countries totaling more than 2 million OVS entries. In addition, the event drew over 750,000 videos views to Olympics.com, with nearly a million unique users. “This inaugural Olympic Virtual Series has been a tremendous opportunity for the IOC and the Olympic Movement to take an important first step into the virtual sports space,” said International Olympic Committee Sports Director Kit McConnell. “After many years of exploring how we can engage with esports and the gaming community, we are proud to have collaborated with these five International Federations and passionate audiences to celebrate virtual sports with participants from around the world.”
After a year of hiatus due to COVID-19, the FGC’s Smash series of events will return for the eighth time, hitting California in January. Genesis 8 will run on Jan. 28 with the finals scheduled to be played on the 30th at the San Jose Civic theatre in San Jose. The event will feature both singles and doubles competitions for both Smash Ultimate and Melee as its signature titles, with Rivals of Aether and Smash 64 also being highlighted.
PUBG Mobile and Gamers without Borders are teaming for a new charity tournament, titled PUBG MOBILE World Invitational and offering $3 million. The event will be divided into two tournaments, called PMWI East and PMWI West with the winner of each receiving $1.5 million. The event will span July 22-25.
Game developer Konami is rebranding its soccer sim title PES to eFootball, with an eye to deepening its competitive offerings.The game will now shift away from annual releases and become a free to play game on all platforms that will instead offer regular updates. Highlighted on the game’s road map was were a slate of esports tournaments set to kick off in winter 2021.
eFuse forged a deal with College CoD to host two tournaments this summer designed to help collegiate players increase their visibility and launch a potential professional career. Play starts with the 2021 College CoD Summer 8’s from July 29-Aug. 1, eligible players will be able to compete against top talent from around the country on PlayStation, Xbox, and PC via Battle.net. The second tournament, the College CoD Summer Open, will span Aug. 28-29.
Pause! Urgent message that your Tempest Awards entries are due in one week. This is the esports industry’s most referenced list of the most innovative companies and executives, with categories that span production, talent, and technology. Don’t wait and miss the last window. Enter now! STREAM HATCHET TRENDS MMOG, or more commonly, MMO, stands for massively multiplayer online game consisting of thousands of players exploring a massive open world on a single server. With Final Fantasy XIV seeing a surge of new players joining the game and Amazon Games’ closed beta for New World reaching nearly 200K Steam players, it looks like MMOs are beginning to make a comeback.
Here are some key insights about popular MMOs in live streaming:
· WoW Sanctum of Domination: Race to World First (RWF) winners Echo Guild generated a combined 6.9M hours watched across Twitch.
· Since Asmongold started playing FFXIV, average viewership grew almost 6x compared to the rest of the year.
· Warframe’s Tennocon 2021 Twitch stream generated 433K peak viewers, showing the game is still relevant within the genre.
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 resigned 100 Thieves co-owner and top female variety streamer Rachell “Valkyrae” Hofstetter as a brand ambassador and HyperX Hero. As part of the sponsorship, Hofstetter will participate in various HyperX marketing initiatives, including social activations and brand campaigns. “HyperX is excited to be working with Valkyrae for another year and supporting the larger gaming community,” said Khoi Nguyen, influencer marketing manager, HyperX. “Valkyrae is constantly pushing the limits of what it means to be a content creator, bringing her positivity-focused message to her fans, and we are thrilled to be part of that narrative for all that is good in gaming.”
Dignitas recruited a partnership with the U.S. Air Force. As the Official Military Service Partner of Dignitas, U.S. Air Force will work with Dignitas to curate unique content experiences with talent. Additionally, the organizations will create and host an online broadcast esports event to be held in the later half of the 2021 calendar year, continuing the success of the co-branded Dignitas and U.S. Air Force 2020 ‘Wingman Series’ Counter Strike: Global Offensive Tournament.
DTC eyewear company Zenni named three-time Call of Duty League Champion James “Clayster” Eubanks (with the New York Subliners) as its newest brand ambassador with an exclusive CDL eyewear partnership. Clayster collaborated with Zenni to curate a collection of eight frames just for gamers. Additionally, during the CDL Stage V last week, Zenni unveiled the Official Call of Duty League Eyewear Collection complete with a signature pair ($49.95) and a total of 36 team styles (each $33.95), representing the 12 CDL teams.
BLAST Titans, running July 23-25 & July 31-Aug. 1 teamed up with Western Digital’s WD_BLACKgaming brand as the sponsor of its Apex Legends event. The partnership will include product giveaways, collaborative content opportunities, branding across the tournament’s digital and physical assets and exclusive activation of the in-game replay segments. Looking for the best in online video content, advertising and talent
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SAVE $150 BEFORE 8/3 PLATFORMS Speaking of BLAST, the company revealed a big partnership with Twitch and Amazon ahead of this week’s aforementioned Apex Legends event BLAST Titans. Twitch and BLAST will work together to focus on enhancing viewer and fan experience of the tournament through unique features like Twitch chat and Drops. As part of the deal, BLAST Titans will broadcast exclusively on Twitch, where the English language broadcast will be shown live from Twitch.tv/BLASTTV. Amazon will also own the ‘match predictions’ segment of the broadcast and social media activations, providing visibility to its Prime Gaming and online shopping offering. BLAST and Amazon will also work with influencers to engage the Apex Legends community throughout the tournament, offering a more integrated viewing experience to fans.
EA SPORTS Madden NFL and ESPN announced plans for their second consecutive Madden Ratings Week from July 25-30, revealing the player ratings for Madden NFL 22, launching worldwide on August 20. As part of content throughout the week, ESPN will reveal player ratings on top programs, including the elite Madden NFL 22 “99 Club” during Get Up each morning. Top ten players from several positions will be discussed daily on First Take, SportsCenter and NFL Live. Additionally, NFL alumni ratings adjustors, including Chad Johnson, Marshawn Lynch and Alex Smith, will be part of the coverage, helping reveal the ratings in the kickoff show, a primetime special on Friday and daily on First Take. TEAMS Gen.G and Toyota gassed up the “Toyota Sedan: Drive Your Game” campaign, a 10-day gaming stream virtual race that will include nine content creators across three teams. The competition runs through July 28 and sees content creators in League of Legends, Minecraft, Rocket League, and Teamfight Tactics teamed up in a “race against time to complete the most gaming challenges and for the most engaged audience.” “Streaming is an essential part of the gaming landscape and we are excited to continue to deliver fresh content with a fun twist to our fans. We have a vibrant history with Toyota so it was fitting to partner with the brand to bring this event to life,” says Martin Kim, VP of Strategic Partnerships at Gen.G.
Team Liquid announced the team’s new European ecommerce store, with doors opening tomorrow and offering most items available in the Team Liquid’s catalogue. In celebration of the opening, the org is re-releasing its Naruto Shippuden apparel collection for EU residents.
Swedish esports team Ninjas in Pyjamas dropped two limited edition digital team jerseys as NFTs with 103 NFTs available in total that were released and sold out in under two minutes. The collection was called ‘Shinobi Shozoku’ and the team became the first-ever esports team to release a team jersey in digital form and as an NFT.
Netflix confirmed reports that the platform was becoming a player in the gaming industry, and would be adding game operations into the company’s current subscription model, noting that the company was offering games as a new content category. According to reports, Netflix is planning to include games as part of its current subscription service at no extra cost to users.
Esports Fashion Group released its full agenda for Esports Fashion Week, which begins on July 24 and featuring companies such as H4X, We Are Nations, XSET, and September Doves, who will all debut apparel collections that “showcase the innovation and growth of the esports fashion ecosystem.” Hosts for the event include model & streamer Azalia Lexi, streamer & industry professional Garrett Smith, esports desk host & presenter Lottie Van-Praag and esports desk host & model Barney Banks.
KRAFTON signed Adi Shankar to create and serve as showrunner an upcoming animated project based on PUBG. “As a player, I’ve been crushing the competition in the Battlegrounds since PUBG released in 2017. I’m grateful to KRAFTON for the trust and confidence they’ve placed in me to execute my vision as a filmmaker and I’m excited to embark on this journey together,” said Adi Shankar in the announcement. “To me, this animated project represents another step in the evolution of mending the torched bridge between the games industry and Hollywood. I look forward to revealing to everybody what winning a chicken dinner looks like.”
GameSquare acquired Cut+Sew and Zoned for up to $7.85 million paid in cash and shares. According to the announcement, the acquisition will bring additional marketing capabilities to GameSquare and will help to increase the brand’s capabilities in numerous sectors including traditional sports, gaming, emerging technology, new media, music and fashion.
Twitch named Christine Weber as the company’s new CTO, which she will look to drive innovation in engineering. “I’m beyond thrilled to join the incredible Twitch team as chief technology officer and help drive the industry-leading innovation and solutions our community expects from Twitch,” Weber said in a state to press. “I look forward to working alongside the leadership team and among our fantastic team members to continue to make Twitch the best place to live stream and grow as a creator.” READYUP GAMES OF THE WEEK Tackle TV’s Most Pressing Business Challenges
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Manages the On-air Program Log construction process; the playlist delivery to Master Control and the reconciliation of such logs for TV One/Cleo TV. Work with Advertising Sales department to assist in placing of spots and create detailed reports. Demonstrated ability to work independently, with a high degree of accuracy and accountability required. Full info HERE (7/29)
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Crown Media is seeking an experienced marketer to join a growing team supporting linear cable networks Hallmark Channel & Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, along with its growing SVOD service, Hallmark Movies Now. This is an exciting opportunity to join a company with top-tier brands and help Crown Media maintain its position as a leader in entertainment. Full info HERE (7/28)
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