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08/06/20: Fnatic broke down the effects of the pandemic on esports

Medias First Morning Read

Thursday August 6, 2020

Good morning! This is your weekly Esports Brief.
Esports organization Fnatic released research about the shape of the esports industry during the pandemic , which saw the majority of this year’s events cancelled or postponed, with 31.6% of events shifting from LAN events to online, while 23.5% of events were simply canceled. With audiences soaring and more people playing games to pass the time, the company determined a number of key takeaways…
· Esports has shown resilience to COVID-19 and its adaptability and relative success within entertainment shows it can adapt to overcome serious existential challenges.
· Of all the winners from the COVID-19 content crunch, developers, streaming platforms and streamers seem to have fared best.
· Esports tournaments viewership has held up and grown significantly, with traditional sports entrance also driving esports viewership.
· Fast movers into the esports space can take advantage of a rapidly rising industry at the beginning of a big popularity spike.
· Developers made the lion’s share of revenue gains generated due to the influx of engagement.
· Creators, entertainers and IP holders hold more attention now than pre-COVID.

The V10 R-League, created by Gfinity in partnership with Abu Dhabi Motorsport Management, unveiled teams who will be participating in the new venture with Williams Esports, BWT Racing Point Esports Team, Ford (Fordzilla), and JAESA TEAM SUZUKI among the first of eight teams to be announced. The league format will pit the eight teams against each other in a round-robin format, earning points towards the league table until one team is crowned champion. The V10 R-League is the first competition to be part of the previously announced Global Racing Series.

PUBG Corporation announced an extension to its 2020 esports calendar with the addition of PUBG Continental Series 3 in November. As with each previous PCS event, PCS3 will consist of four regional tournaments across North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Asia. Each of the teams will fight for the right to be crowned their region’s Grand Champions and win a part of their regional $200,000 prize pool. . Initially scheduled to conclude after two weeks, the PCS2 Grand Finals will now expand to 24 matches per region, four matches per day, played over the course of three weeks.

Riot skedded the first Teamfight Tactics Galaxies Championship to run Sept. 3-4 with a third day featuring the top eight players from the tournament previewing Set Four. A total of 16 TFT competitors will take part, playing five rounds in two lobbies. The top four players with the most points in each lobby will advance to day two, competing for the Galaxies Championship title and a $200,000 prize pool.

Riot Games also punched its ticket to host the 2020 League of Legends World Championship completely in Shanghai from Sept. 25 to Oct. 31. The country will again host the event in 2021 before making a return to North America to host Worlds in 2022. Most of the competition will be played without a live audience, although Riot noted that it remained open to the possibility of an audience for the finals, which will be played in Pudong Soccer Stadium.

The all-online DreamHack Open Summer begins Stage 2 of the competition on August 7 and 8, featuring four regional tournaments over two days. The Oceania regional tournament starts first, followed by the European and North American regions the day after. DreamHack Open Summer Asia starts with Stage 1 on August 7. The tournaments feature a combined prize pool of $300,000. DreamHack Open Summer will be broadcasted from the Monster Energy DreamHack Studio in Stockholm, with talents and players participating from their homes.

ESL announced that IEM New York will begin on Oct. 6 as an online event. Because of travel restrictions, the event will be split up into three divisions: North America, CIS, and Europe and offering a prize pool of $250,000.

Allied Esports announced its participation in the VALORANT Ignition Series, Riot Games’ first official tournament series for the game, with the creation of Allied Esports Odyssey. The online European tournament will be produced from Allied Esports’ HyperX Esports Studio in Hamburg, Germany, from August 11-16. “The Ignition Series has allowed partners from all over the world to experiment with a vast amount of competitive formats, allowing fans of VALORANT esports to help us identify which competitive structures lead to the most exciting matches,” said Kasra Jafroodi, Esports Strategy Lead for VALORANT Esports. “The format Allied Esports Odyssey is testing with their event will provide viewers with an innovative competition that will further grow the competitive scene in Europe.”

Twitch is partnering with Cxmmunity to launch an esports league for historically Black colleges and universities that will see students at HBCUs receive scholarship and educational support through its Twitch Student program, while Twitch will help the schools expand their esports programs.

NBA fans are happy now that the season has restarted, but what esports did they likely watch while traditional sports were shut down? Our data shows that NBA fans have the greatest affinity for NBA2K, followed by Madden NFL. What esports are you surprised to see on this chart?

Red Bull and Riot Games’ League of Legends Championship Series are teaming up for this year’s Red Bull Solo Q, described as the “ultimate 1v1 experience for amateur League of Legends) players.” The US will be in the mix for the first time, with both U.S. and Canadian online qualifiers beginning this month. In celebration, Red Bull will release all-new Red Bull Solo Q cans, featuring LoL champions Conqueror, Alistar, and Yasuo alongside competition branding.

After receiving criticism for a partnership with NEOM, a Saudi Arabian state-sponsored city development initiative, the League of Legends European Championship announced late Wednesday that it is ending the deal. Multiple commentators and team members expressed dismay after the deal was announced. “As a company and as a league, we know that it’s important to recognize when we make mistakes and quickly work to correct them,” Alberto Guerrero, director of esports EMEA at Riot Games said in a statement, per ESPN. “After further reflection, while we remain steadfastly committed to all of our players and fans worldwide including those living in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, the LEC has ended its partnership with NEOM, effective immediately.”

The Ways You Can Include Us & Build Long Term Partnerships

Thursday, AUG 27 | 1:00-2pm ET

“Black owned media is not supported by many companies and that is the very definition of systemic racism. Let’s use this opportunity to work together and achieve a positive change.” –Byron Allen, Chairman & CEO, ALLEN MEDIA GROUP

(Sponsored by TheGrio/ES Networks)

Every week, Stream Hatchet identifies and ranks the top sponsored streams across the leading distributors: Twitch, YouTube and Facebook, in our series “#Ad of the Week”. This week’s leading brand was Postmates through a Mizkif sponsored segment. While Food delivery. Charmin and Warframe also generated significant viewership with boxbox and CohhCarnage, respectively. Here are the key takeaways:
· Mizkif’s sponsored stream with Postmates captured over 101k hours watched while playing the trending new game Fall Guys.
· League of Legends streamer boxbox recently teamed up with Charmin’s partner program to feature a sponsored stream on Monday, July 27th.
· The sponsored segment brought in 50k hours watched over a 4 hour stream. The average audience for the #ad was just under 12k while CohhCarnage was showcasing the intergalactic warfare.
For more case studies on how to activate with influencers and esports, visit us at:

Twitter reports that, with over 1 billion Tweets sent in the first half of 2020, gaming conversation on that platform hit an all-time high. FaZe Clan led the pace on most Talked About Esports Teams, followed by MiBR, G2 Esports, paiN Gaming, FNATIC, Flamengo Esports, T1, Cloud9, 100 Thieves and FURIA Esports.

Sports content studio game1 signed a content partnership with global gaming and esports company, VY Esports to work on a slate of content projects together. The initial project phase will begin with five unique projects that will range from elevated esports events, reality-based programming exploring the gaming world, nostalgia-focused specials, an unscripted studio show featuring celebrities and athletes, and a documentary project exploring the bigger stories beyond the game. game1 and VY Esports will also explore additional projects within the realm of esports and gaming and work together to match up brands with the content and events that VY creates. “We launched VY Esports to force a paradigm shift in the content and storytelling efforts found in esports and gaming – a shift that has been long overdue,” said Oleg Butenko, CEO & Founder of VY Esports. “Working with game1 will certainly help us achieve our lofty objectives – their creativity and connectivity is second to none.”

Big news out of China on multiple fronts. The country’s top video game and social media company Tencent Holdings is reportedly looking to merge game streaming platforms Douyu and Huya in a move to consolidate, according to Reuters. Tencent seeks to control or at least become the biggest shareholder of the merged entity, the sources added. Huya and Douyu are ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, as China’s most popular video game streaming sites, “where users flock to watch esports tournaments and follow professional gamers.”

Riot Games scored by an agreement with Chinese streaming video platform Bilibili that grants the platform exclusive broadcasting rights to its major League of Legends global events. The three-year deal, reportedly valued at $113 million per Beijing News, kicks in with this autumn’s 2020 League of Legends World Championship and also include the annual Mid-Season Invitational as well as All-Star events. Bilibili will also create original streaming and on-demand video content around the competitions, and help co-produce a 10th-anniversary documentary special about the League of Legends World Championship.

Elsewhere in China, DreamHack and ESL locked in a one-year deal with DouYu, one of China’s leading streaming platforms, that will see the ESL Pro Tour for StarCraft II and WarCraft III be live streamed exclusively in 2020 and 2021, covering standard Mandarin and other Chinese languages and dialects. “Here at ESL we are always looking for opportunities to extend our distribution portfolio to reach as many people as possible”, said Frank Uddo, Senior Vice President Global Media at ESL. “DouYu is a premier streaming platform and this deal, for the StarCraft II and WarCraft 3 ESL Pro Tours, marks a significant step in our ambitions to provide the best viewing experience for Chinese-speaking fans all around the world.”

ESL and DreamHack also cemented a deal in Brazil, where the companies entered into a three-year media rights deal with the country’s leading media outlets Globo and Omelete. The partnership aims to bring Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) in Portuguese to the Brazilian CS:GO community. As part of the deal, all tournaments within ESL Pro Tour for CS:GO, including the ESL Pro League, ESL One, Intel Extreme Masters, DreamHack Masters & DreamHack Open, will be broadcast in Portuguese language via respective distribution channels of Globo and Omelete.

Sponsored Content:
Ross Innovation
s in Esports | A Customer Case Study

Ross Live | 2020 esports week featured a live case study presentation featuring James Dean, Founder and CEO at ESL UK, and Andrew Wagnitz, Director of Broadcast and Technology at Next Generation Esports (NGE). Cameron Reed, Esports Business Development Manager with Ross Video, sat down with James and Andrew to discuss how esports productions have been able to achieve “more with less”. The group also discussed how the industry has had to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic and where esports is headed in the future. Click here to see the results.

T1 Entertainment & Sports signed an expanded streaming deal with Twitch that will now apply to all of the org’s players and content creators. “T1 is excited to expand its partnership with Twitch beyond the League of Legends team and Korean markets,” said T1 CEO Joe Marsh in a news release. “As T1 continues to grow its global presence, we know that Twitch is the best streaming platform for our players and content creators to connect with fans around the world.”

NHL player Mitch Marner joined the ownership group of OverActive Media, where he will, “become the latest ambassador and an important part of OverActive’s brand building efforts.” “With roots in the city of Toronto, our entire organization is thrilled to welcome a hometown hero and hockey superstar like Mitch Marner to our investor family,” said Chris Overholt, CEO and President of OverActive Media. “Mitch’s authenticity within the Call of Duty scene and his interest in growing the esports industry will be such great additions to our fanbase and to each of our franchises.”


2K unveiled a partnership with the NFL Players Association and will be able to put the numbers, names, images and likenesses of over 2,000 NFL players in their respective team jerseys on the pixelated field. “2K has a proven track record of high-profile and successful business relationships with other sports leagues, professional athletes and their collective fans,” Steve Scebelo, interim president of NFL Players Inc., the marketing and licensing arm of the NFLPA, said in a press release. “The label makes some of the best sports video games in the world, and we look forward to working with 2K, our players and OneTeam on future projects.”

Blizzard Entertainment confirmed that BlizzCon will return in virtual form early next year. This year’s event was cancelled in May as a result of the pandemic, but on Activision Blizzard’s earnings call this week, Blizzard president J. Allen Brack stated that a virtual version will now run in “the early part” of 2021.

Niko Partners announced the release of its 2020 Esports in Asia report, available at Takeaways include data that Asia has 510 million esports fans and 595 million esports gamers and that the continent generated nearly half of all global esports revenue in 2019 at $519 million. As a result of COVID-19, esports streaming viewership increased by 75-100%. “Asia is at the forefront of the world’s esports industry, but this doesn’t just mean it’s the largest market. We are seeing the future for all global regions in what is already playing out in Asia in regards to esports tournaments, esports tourism, mobile esports, government support and the development of esports infrastructure,” said Alexander Champlin, Niko’s Senior Analyst of Esports. “While the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly impacted the industry, the ways that Asia is managing and moving past these roadblocks is certainly going to serve as a roadmap for the rest of the world.”

GameCo announced the launch of iGameCo, a new brand highlighting the company’s activities across esports betting, skill-based iGaming, and Video Game Gambling for regulated mobile casinos and sportsbooks across the country. “iGameCo is the culmination of years of research and development in combining video games and esports for regulated casinos and we’re proud to bring our leadership in land-based Video Game Gambling™ to digital casinos and sportsbooks,” said Blaine Graboyes, Co-Founder and CEO of GameCo. “We invented the first-ever skill-based games for retail casinos and now we’re expanding the category to bring this experience to regulated gaming markets worldwide, providing casinos with the products to attract and monetize the next generations of customers.”


Evil Geniuses recruited former Houston Outlaws president Chris DeAppolonio to serve as Chief Innovation Officer for the team. He will continue “the evolution of EG as an organization in finding new and innovative revenue streams from both within and outside traditional endemic models.”

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2008: Turner Broadcasting announces plans to sell GameTap
In which game franchise would you find John Marston? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

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