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08/13/20: Honda is taking its promotion to the Rift

Medias First Morning Read

Thursday August 13, 2020

Good morning! This is your weekly Esports Brief.
The LCS gassed up its first Summoner’s Rift Arena Banners partner, with Honda stepping up in addition to announcing a new in-game moment that will be dubbed the Honda Performance Play. The banners and in-game moment will appear in broadcast when playoffs kick off today and mark Riot’s first-ever in-game branded product for the LCS in a move to echo stadium signage from traditional sports venues. Honda has already partnered with the LCS and the move comes a year into the deal.

Earlier in the week, Buffalo Wild Wings also ordered up some LCS, locking in a multi-year partnership that will designate the sports bar brand as the Official Sports Bar of Riot’s North American league. The deal also creates the first-ever streaming deal between an esports property and a major restaurant chain to livestream events at scale. The first event live-stream at participating Buffalo Wild Wings will be the LCS 2020 Summer Playoffs beginning Friday, August 14 at 4p. As an Official Partner of the LCS and Academy League, Buffalo Wild Wings will have rights to activate the partnership throughout the leagues’ marquee events, including the Spring and Summer Playoffs. Beyond streaming, Buffalo Wild Wings will be able to use official trademarks for the LCS in both on-premise and digital marketing materials and to create unique menu items and customer merchandise. Buffalo Wild Wings and the LCS will also work together on a variety of co-branded initiatives such as promotions and broadcast integrations during LCS events.

Showing growth with each outing, the Valorant Ignition Series locked in its final stop for 2020 in North America in Pop Flash, hosted by B Site Inc. Teams scheduled to compete include B Site founders Cloud9, Dignitas, Team Envy, Gen.G, Immortals and T1, as well as Sentinels, T1 and Team SoloMid. The most recent Valorant Ignition Series event was completed on Sunday at the FaZe Clan Invitational. The eight-team Pop Flash event will be played entirely online from Aug. 26-30 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. “We’re excited to join the VALORANT Ignition Series with Pop Flash,” said Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles, Vice President of Brand at B Site. “B Site is honored that we can help to lay the foundation for a brand new global esport in a way that sets a standard for sustainability and future success. Pro team organizations are just beginning to find their footing in this new arena and events like this will be a crucial stepping stone for player recruiting and team development.”

DreamHack announced the postponement of its remaining festivals in 2020: DreamHack Rotterdam, DreamHack Hyderabad, DreamHack Atlanta, DreamHack Winter and DreamHack Madrid as a result of the pandemic. “The goal for all of us at DreamHack is to provide great experiences at our events, which thrive by bringing communities together for these shared and beloved festival weekends all around the globe,” said DreamHack Co-CEO Marcus Lindmark. “We have never had to postpone events like this before — but these are extraordinary times, and the safety of our attendees and staff has never been more important than now.”

The ESL Mobile Open is returning, dangling $400,000 across four titles, which will again include Asphalt 9: Legends, Auto Chess, Clash of Clans and PUBG Mobile. The event comes via a partnership with AT&T, with season five notching a 204% rise over the previous season with participation up 48%. Qualifiers are already under way and the season will conclude in mid-Oct.

This fall will see Collegiate StarLeague step up to host a new collegiate league featuring HBCUs with 16 teams on deck to compete formally in early 2021 but offering a taste of what’s to come starting with a September Invitational. The Undefeated broke the story. “We (CSL) have been working with leaders from various HBCU schools for the past two years thinking through the proper ways for bringing the complete ecosystem for gaming and esports to support the students and participating school administrations,” said Wim Stocks, CEO of WorldGaming & Collegiate StarLeague. “Certainly competition is at the nucleus of this is (and what we/CSL stand for at the end of the day) but as well for the larger programming and support around developing curriculum for the business of esports, career-skills building and counseling, advisory services for the schools, internship programs, on-campus events, etc., etc. We and all at CSL are honored to be part of this great set of initiatives.”

You’ve got the eye to aim, now try bringing that talent to our judges table! The Tempest Awards need a few more judges and are looking for help to sort through and evaluate this year’s awesome contenders. If interested, please shoot me an email. [email protected]. Thanks!

The World Showdown of Esports lined up WSOE II: Tekken 7 & SoulCalibur VI, with Tekken 7 caster Reepal “RIP” Parbhoo, SoulCalibur VI casters Zachary “N3cromaster” Unger and Mark “MarkMan” Julio on-board as talent. The tournament series, sponsored by the United States eSports Federation will see the West Coast qualifying matches held on Aug. 29 with finals Sept. 5, followed by the East Coast qualifiers on Aug. 30 and finals Sept. 6.

As restarting the NFL looks more and more like a difficult prospect, we can’t help but wonder: what are NFL fans doing with their time? In the esports world, it looks like they’re playing a lot of Madden NFL, followed by NBA 2K and Hao. Call of Duty and Rocket League come in at 4th and 5th place. What games did you expect to see on this list? And are there any games that shock you? Let us know at [email protected]

ESL and Warsteiner announced their Official Supplier partnership for ESL One Cologne 2020: Online. The competition runs Aug. 18-30, with 32 teams fighting for a share of the $500,000 prize pool. The cooperation will also see the newly created Warsteiner Music Contest debut as producers and musicians from the Music and Gaming community to participate and get the opportunity to be included in the broadcast and to have their song signed by Enter Records. “We are excited to once again be partnering with Warsteiner. Continuing our long-standing, successful partnership, we now introduce a new and exciting segment with the Warsteiner Music Contest, adding on to an already thrilling competition for the audience with ESL One Cologne and enriching the fan-experience and creating a wholly new point of attraction.”, said Stephan Schroeder, SVP Global Brand Partnerships EMEA at ESL.

BLAST and newly-signed sponsor Saudi Arabian project NEOM have mutually agreed to end their partnership 15 days after the deal was announced, according to HLTV. The decision comes after CS:GO teams partnered with BLAST reportedly called for a meeting to pressure the tournament organizer to end the partnership.

Speaking of which, Riot Games will create a global deals council and ethics committee following the controversy it found in a partnership with NEOM, a Saudi Arabian state-backed city development, per ESPN. The establishment of the global deals council features a new internal deal tracker that will provide company-wide transparency for all business development and sponsorship deals occurring in Riot’s global operation. The council will feature representatives from the Global Esports team, Riot’s social impact division Karma, and its legal and diversity and inclusion teams.

Tempo Storm cemented a new partnership with Dr. Squatch, an organic, natural personal care brad for the grooming industry. This partnership marks Squatch’s first with an esports/gaming company. “It was really important to us to collaborate with a sustainable and all-natural company like Dr. Squatch during a time of such uncertainty and stress for people all over the world,” said Tempo Storm Senior Partnerships & Marketing Manager Ryan Turner. “We want gamers to take care of themselves and we see this partnership as a way to help to ensure that our community has access to products that make them look and feel good every day.”

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Last weekend after a mysterious hiatus, DrDisrespect returned to live streaming on YouTube Gaming reaching nearly 1/2 million peak viewers. In a similar fashion, Ninja’s first stream on YouTube after his contract with Mixer ended due to the platform ceasing operations has garned headlines, along with Shroud’s official resigning to Twitch. While Ninja didn’t have the mysterious disappearance or countdown teaser that Doc did, he still managed to generate solid viewership. Comparatively, Dr Disrespect’s return to streaming was his best stream yet while Ninja saw his peak back in 2018. Here are the KPIs:
· Dr Disrespect reached is all time highest peak viewership with his first YouTube stream last Friday with over 485K concurrents.
· The 2x Champ’s previous peak on Twitch came in February of 2018 reaching around 388K viewers.
· Ninja’s debut stream on YouTube generated a peak of 165K viewers which was incredibly successful compared to his viewership on Mixer in the months prior.
For more insights, visit us online at:

Speaking of steaming, Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek is officially back with Twitch after singing an exclusive deal with the platform following the closure of Mixer. He originally left the platform in 2019, with his new deal assisted by talent agency Loaded. His return on Wednesday delivered nearly half a million viewers for his stream.

Team Liquid is launching Liquid+ into open beta, described as a “groundbreaking fan engagement platform to reward Liquid fans for regular online engagement with players, teams and the club and rewards fans for supporting the team and its more than 100 pro players and streamers. When fans connect Liquid+ to the sites and social media accounts they use to interact with Team Liquid—such as Twitch, Discord, Twitter, or Reddit—Liquid+ will award them points for the engagement they show. Those points can be redeemed for in-game currency, event tickets, Team Liquid swag and tailored fan experiences with Team Liquid personalities, to name a few.

Enthusiast Gaming is expanding its reach and entered into a binding share purchase agreement to acquire 100% of the issued and outstanding shares of Omnia Media from Blue Ant Media Solutions Inc. The deal will “create the largest gaming media, esports and entertainment platform in North America by users, with 300 million video game and esports fans monthly,” according to the announcement. (See our Q&A below.)

ESL is opening the doors to CSGO HUB, a new community resource for Counter Strike: Global Offensive as beta, which keeps track of all statistics for players and helps elevate their game to a new level. Players will have access to a weekly report card, identifying mistakes and highlighting areas for improvement.

Sponsored Content:

Ross Innovations 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.


Noble Esports was added to the portfolio of investor Kyle McDougal, who acquired 100% of the organization. According to the announcement, Noble’s current management will remain intact, overseen by CEO Sheriff Fenix.

Abu Dhabi Motorsport Management
struck a deal with Veloce Esports in a move that will see the launch of YAS HEAT, a simulation racing team that will make its debut in the inaugural season of the V10 R-League.


POWER PLAYERS: Menashe Kestenbaum
Fresh off the acquisition of Omnia Media (see above), Enthusiast Gaming continues its aggressive pace of expanding its reach within the gaming sphere of influence. In addition to forming the largest gaming media, esports and entertainment platform in North America by users, with 300 million video game and esports fans monthly. The Media platform generates over 30 billion ad requests and approximately a billion views per month, while its esports division, Luminosity Gaming, boasts seven professional esports teams under ownership and management, including the Vancouver Titans Overwatch team and the Seattle Surge Call of Duty team. Cynopsis Esports asked Menashe Kestenbaum, Founder and President, Enthusiast Gaming, about the company’s strategies.

Kestenbaum on the effects of the pandemic: As the pandemic suspended most traditional sports that rely on arenas full of fans to be successful, esports has truly been in the spotlight. Esports has gained a lot of traction over the last few months, and we’ve seen a lot of brands, advertising agencies, and betting platforms pivot from traditional sports to esports in order to reach the highly in-demand audience of 18-34 year old males.

One of the most important things we’ve learned is that gaming is the new social network, and especially during the pandemic we’ve seen increased traffic and engagement across our entire platform of gaming and esports communities – which has increased even more to 300M+ viewers with the addition of Omnia Media. Built by people with a shared passion for gaming, these communities provide a safe space to interact and engage with each other and are an extremely important way for younger generations to communicate.

On priorities: Our number one priority is and has always been the safety and well-being of our teams and players. Although the pandemic limited traveling and in-person esports tournaments for our players, our Luminosity platform allowed them to continue streaming, producing unique content, and playing competitively from the safety of their own homes. The pandemic has provided us the opportunity to get creative with our esports platform in how we engage with our fans, including some exciting collaborations with Twitch over the last few months to create new, unique experiences.

On goals: We are building the world’s largest platform of communities for gamers and esports fans – the social network for global gamers. We are now North America’s largest gaming media, esports, and entertainment platform, and with the recent acquisition of Omnia Media, we engage with over 300 million people on a monthly basis. We want to continue building and growing the platform by creating more exciting content, reaching more gamers, and building more communities.

We also want to continue building our esports organization, Luminosity Gaming, signing more exciting team members and cementing its status as one of the top esports organizations in the world.

On challenges: The uncertainty of the future and constant hedging of our bets as to whether COVID-19 will continue for a long time. It is not a static, finite situation that we all understand and can prepare for, so the guesswork keeps us on our toes and requires us to prepare for multiple scenarios. We are also always working to shine a brighter spotlight on the value of the global gaming community – informing and educating brands on the massive scale and level of engagement that it brings to them and their audiences.

On the acquisition of Omnia Media: On a foundational level, the acquisition helped by tripling our revenue, adding on another 100 million users a month, and giving us access to massive influencers and a team that is really skilled and knowledgeable in the space. Overall, the acquisition is synergistic with all of our key priorities for growth which include:
· Own More Viewers – Omnia adds 3.2 billion monthly views, 90 million unique monthly visitors and 1,000 more YouTube channels.
· Create More Content – Omnia produces ~30 gaming shows per week and is a content engine to fuel increased engagement of gaming communities via a fully built out production team in Los Angeles.
· Sell More Ads and Subscriptions – premium inventory increases direct sales and margin accretion. This in turn drives influencers and blue-chip sponsors with increase in subscription formats and concepts.
· Develop New Revenue Streams – increases owned and operated content, including Omnia’s network of over 500 gaming influencers and talent management services, and e-commerce and content licensing.
· Improved Analytics for Advertising – extensive data set and improved analytics for targeted advertising.

343 Industries is tapping the brakes on Halo Infinite, announcing that the game’s release has been delayed until 2021 due to multiple factors, including the pandemic. “Today I want to share an important Halo Infinite development update with the community,” the developers posted. “We have made the difficult decision to shift our release to 2021 to ensure the team has adequate time to deliver a Halo game experience that meets our vision.”

Ford Models is turning its attention to esports and gaming, with the launch of a new division at the agency Ford Models Esports and Gaming will rep esports and gaming talent and work with leagues, sponsors, and other stakeholders to promote one of the fastest-growing segments in tech, and with opportunities for cross promotion with other talent categories and clients. Among early clients are Hot 97’s and Logitech G’s gaming media personality and content creator, the “HipHopGamer.” He will be joined at by other recently signed leading gaming talent that includes “Games Award” nominee for “Best TikTok Gaming Creator,” OVERTFLOW, as well as ESPN ESPY winner professional Madden and NBA2K League player, Timothy “oLarry” Anselimo. Ford has signed gaming veteran, motivational speaker and content creator, Ivan “OG King Curt” Curtiss, professional Street Fighter gamer, Chris “Chris T” Tatarian and CGS alternate turned veteran shoutcaster and host of the Paladins Premier League, the Paladins Collegiate World Championship, the NBA 2K League, and NACL, Paul “Rabies” Santoro.

Torque Esports is changing its name to Engine Media Holdings, Inc. and announced that the company expects to formally complete the acquisition of Allinsports (in early September.

The Global Esports Federation saw Ireland Esports, the official governing body of esports and gaming in Ireland, sign on as the org’s newest member. Since launching in Dec. 2019 in partnership with Tencent, GEF now boasts members representing over 55 countries.

The Game Developers Conference announced that its 2021 edition will be a hybrid model, with organizer Informa Tech revealing that GDC 2021 will run July 19-23 as a hybrid physical and digital show at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.


Activision Blizzard recruited Major League Baseball deputy commissioner Tony Pettiti to oversee its esports and entertainment efforts, serving as President of Sports and Entertainment and reporting directly to CEO Bobby Kotick. “Tony is one of the most highly regarded executives in sports and entertainment,” Kotick said in the announcement. “His success in media and as Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer of Major League Baseball is the perfect blend of skills to help us realize our aspirations for esports and our related businesses. He is admired by owners, media executives, players, and fans.”

Esports agency Evolved acquired ARC, a French esports agency founded by alumni of global media company Webedia’s esports division. Led by esports agent Nathan Laprade, the group will continue to operate out of Paris and service clients across Europe. “The team at ARC has a proven track record of success in representing top esports talent in Europe, and fighting as hard as possible for their clients,” said Ryan Morrison, CEO of Evolved. “In working together, we’ll set the standard for player representation in Europe and make great strides to support the European esports scene. I’m pleased to welcome the team to the Evolved family and look forward to uniting our efforts to grow our reach and support our mission across the globe.”

In light of the current Covid-19 crisis, we’re conducting a survey to formulate insights & analysis of our market and how it will affect the future. Feedback form you will help us publish a thorough report that will provide the media sector with a trusted benchmark for expectations.

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Everyone who takes the survey will be entered to win a $100 Amazon gift card.


2003: Electronic Arts announces the opening of EA Montreal
Trivia: Name the character pictured above from Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
In which game franchise would you find John Marston? Answer: Red Dead Redemption. Kudos: Julie Reuther/Sydney; Danny Araque/NY; C.J. Bottitta-Big Picture Productions/Apex; Michael Maniaci-BSTV Entertainment/Red Bank; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Jason Morrow-Toyota/Houston; Julie Schell/Chicago; David Westberg-SAG•AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Greg Dudsic/Venice; Andy Babb-Super League Gaming/Santa Monica Allison Weiner MMSI, Warwick

Cynopsis Team

Chris Pursell
Kerry Smith
Division President
Access Intelligence

Roberta Caploe

Cynopsis Ad Sales
Mike Farina

Albert Nassour

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Mike Farina

Check out more jobs in Cynopsis Classifieds »
Job of the day
Corona, CA

Seeking individual to support all areas of the programming team’s responsibilities, including editorial, research, analysis, scheduling and presentation of all content categories. Min 2yrs exp in media and enter, with focus programming. Full info HERE

A+E/NY: Support Int’l, Corp Dev and Corp Divisions, incl domestic & int’l mergers & acquisitions and general corp matters in addition to support of relationships with int’l channel partners & int’l content sales. YOU NEED: JD, min 7yrs legal exp at a major law firm or in-house counsel at a media company, exp in an active M&A practice, content licensing exp & strong negotiation & drafting skills. Full info HERE (8/26).

MAVTV MOTORSPORTS NETWORK/Corona, CA: Seeking highly qualified individual to take the lead in developing innovative strategies based on insights and trends to position MAVTV to consumers, clients, and partners. Must have marketing background – Dig, Social Media and/or Consumer Mktg preferred. Full info HERE (8/25)

MAVTV MOTORSPORTS NETWORK/Corona, CA: Seeking individual to support all areas of the programming team’s responsibilities, including editorial, research, analysis, scheduling and presentation of all content categories. Min 2yrs exp in media and enter, with focus programming. Full info HERE (8/25)

Magnolia/New York, Knoxville, Austin: CD w/a strong eye to oversee dev of original programming for Magnolia partnering with Chip & Joanna Gaines. Build new talent and concepts across varying platforms. 7+ yrs network/production exp req’d. Full info HERE (8/24)

Newsmax Media/Washington D.C.: Seeking proven on-air reporter, in possession of an already-developed contact list, including many “who’s who” leaders in Congress, and related government agencies. Min 3 yrs exp with outstanding writing/production skills. Full info HERE (8/21)

Newsmax Media/NYC:
Responsible for the production and execution of live political news programming, and recorded video segments for television, and digital platforms. 3+ yrs experience line producing. Full info HERE (8/19)

Newsmax Media/NYC: Responsible for designing and building prime time show, managing show hosts and production team, identifying and integrating guests, overseeing and executing the production of key video & graphic elements. 3+ yrs EP exp or political news & talk programming. Full info HERE (8/19)

Newsmax Media/NYC: Responsible for designing and building shows, managing show hosts and production team, identifying and integrating guests, overseeing and executing the production of key video & graphic elements. 3+ yrs EP exp or political news & talk programming. Full info HERE (8/19)

Newsmax Media/NYC: Write for fast paced news and opinion show. You are an exceptional storyteller with a command of political news and cultural trends. At least 3 years of national or large market local news experience. Full info HERE (8/19)

Newsmax Media/NYC:
Responsible for the production of live news & talk show, and recorded video segments for television, and digital platforms. 3+ yrs in TV news and/or talk production. Full info HERE (8/19)

Omnia Media/LA or NY: Seeking individual to sell a portfolio of social and digital ad products, including custom branded content, video spons, programmatic inv and influencer mktg. With a strong grasp of video games/gaming culture, and dig platforms. 4 yrs exp in video content/dig media. Full info HERE (8/15)

VICE Media/Brooklyn, NY: Seeking experienced editor for cutting trailers, TV campaigns, digital spots/campaigns, special content and in-house reels. Must have 5 yrs exp, be able to thrive in a fast-paced environment as well as prioritize on-going assignments. Full info HERE (8/15)

Kanopy/Remote, USA:
Seeking multi-disciplinary background candidate with mrktg, business strategy, and data analytics exp. Plus a passion and knowledge of the entire film ecosystem. Min 5 yrs dir-to-consumer mktg exp at a subscription-based/video streaming co with a proven record of executing growth mktg strategies. Full info HERE (8/15)

The Hive/Knoxville, TN: Seeking highly qualified individual to oversee the orderly day-to-day function of production operations, with a particular emphasis on post prod operations for TN & NY offices and TN facilities management. Reports directly to the Pres and VP of Production. Full info HERE (8/15)

Nickelodeon/NYC: Seeking a group brand leader responsible for the development of mktg strategies in support of Nickelodeon and any of its related content and sub-brands. Min 7yrs exp in consumer strategy, digital, marketing or media. Full info HERE (8/14)


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