11/17/22: International Olympic Committee to host the first Olympic Esports Week in Singapore
|Thursday, November 17, 2022|
|Good morning! It’s Thursday and this is your early morning Esports brief.The International Olympic Committee will host the first Olympic Esports Week in Singapore in June 2023, the IOC announced Wednesday. The event, which will take place from June 22-25, “will showcase the best of virtual sports – hybrid physical and simulated sports,” according to a statement from the IOC. |
The four-day showcase will also feature the first in-person live final for the Olympic Esports Series, which was presented as the Olympic Virtual Series in 2021. More than 250,000 people tuned in for last year’s edition of the event, the IOC said, with competitors from more than 100 countries taking part in simulated baseball, cycling, motorsports, rowing and sailing competitions. The IOC said it will share details on the competition and participation in the Olympic Esports Series and Olympic Esports Week in early 2023.
“The first Olympic Esports Week marks an important milestone in our ambition to support the growth of virtual sports within the Olympic Movement,” IOC president Thomas Bach said in a statement. “We believe the exciting new format of our virtual sports competition, with live finals to be staged for the first time, is an opportunity to collaborate further with esports players and to create new opportunities for players and fans alike.”
The VALORANT Game Changers Championship drew 151,000 peak viewers on Day 1 of competition,according to data from Esports Charts. The all-women’s tournament began its first in-person world championship on Tuesday in Berlin with 10 teams competing for a $500,000 prize pool. The Game Changers initiative by Riot Games expands across VALORANT, League of Legends and Wild Rift and is designed to help bring women into the developer’s esports ecosystems. Competition will continue through Nov. 20 with matches every day.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s Rio Major became the first tournament in the esport where the final was not the most popular match of the tournament. Brazil’s CS:GO audience played a large part in the phenomenon, with viewers tuning in for local org FURIA’s run to the semifinals of the event. FURIA’s win over Natus Vincere in the semis drew nearly 1.43 million peak viewers, according to Esports Charts, while the final between Heroic and Outsiders tallied 1.17 million PV. IEM Rio was the first CS:GO Major in Brazil and on-track to become the most-watched CS:GO event in history – and likely could have gotten there if FURIA’s run continued beyond the marquee matchup with Na’Vi. Outsiders won the 24-team event and the lion’s share of the Major’s $1.25 million prize pool.
DreamHack will make its way to San Diego, California, for the first time in April 2023, according to an announcement from the company. The festival and esports tournament event recently announced ongoing programming for DreamHack Valencia, including the first-ever Snapdragon Pro Series multi-event championship in Spain with Wild Rift Game changers and Brawl Stars taking place there. DreamHack has yet to release information about its esports offerings in San Diego. It will also host events in Japan and Australia in 2023.
|SPONSORSHIP & ACTIVATION|
Cash App is ending its sponsorship deal with 100 Thieves and its compound, according to a report from Business Insider. The initial agreement, launched in 2021, made waves across the esports scene and gave 100 Thieves a marquee sponsor for its on-the-ground operations in competitive gaming as well as content creation and its business dealings. 100 Thieves called the agreement “the most comprehensive sponsorship deal in esports history” at launch. Business Insider reports the end of the partnership was what sparked July layoffs at 100 Thieves. Both organizations have yet to comment publicly on the decision.
TSM and FURIA responded this week to the fallout of cryptocurrency exchange FTX’s collapse amid uncertainty about how FTX’s bankruptcy filing would affect the teams’ deals with the former digital giant. TSM, which is formally known as TSM FTX after selling its naming rights 10-year, $210 million deal with FTX in June 2021, said in a statement that it is suspending its partnership with FTX going forward. FURIA, a Brazilian esports organization, announced it decided to cut short a one-year deal with FTX following the bankruptcy filing. That agreement, which was worth $3.2 million, previously made FTX the jersey sponsor for FURIA, which has backers including Satander, Red Bull and HyperX to help buoy the company. It’s still unclear what the League of Legends Championship Series, which had a seven-year sponsorship deal from FTX, plans to do. LCS organizer Riot Games has not commented on the bankruptcy filing or FTX’s remaining financial obligations to the league.
Complexity Gaming has re-opened its Frisco, Texas, headquarters at The Star, a Dallas Cowboys facility. The HQ, known as the Lenovo Legion Esports Center, will host community programming for the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Complexity announced, including weekly offline esports events, watch parties and more. “The Star is a cornerstone of the Frisco community, and our headquarters have become a local esports and gaming hub for current and future generations of gamers,” Complexity CEO Jason Lake said in a statement. “We’re looking forward to reopening our doors of the Lenovo Legion Esports Center to the community.”
EXCEL Esports has acquired Hitcap, a coaching platform for League of Legends, the organizations announced. EXCEL will operate Hitcap’s platform going forward, and the British esports organization will also take over Hitcap’s social media presence and adjust branding to reflect the new ownership. EXCEL said in a statement it hopes to expand Hitcap’s offerings to include pro player perspectives to users leveraged by the organization’s current rosters.
Brazilian organizations Vivo Keyd and Stars Horizon will merge and become Vivo Keyd Stars to build on each other’s esports offerings. Stars Horizon, which primarily operates in CS:GO, and Vivo Keyd, known for its VALORANT squad, will bring together their first-person shooter expertise through the deal. Vivo Keyd also recently purchased a League of Legends franchise slot in Brazil. “I and Edu Kim got closer and quickly saw that we had a lot of synergies to work together,” Star Horizon president Pedro Schmidt told Esports Insider. “Since then, we’ve started talking about how to join forces and do even more for esports as a whole.”
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|YOUGOV LIVING DATA INSIGHTSHas the World Cup already kicked off for U.S. gamers?|
EA Sports’ FIFA franchise witnessed a significant month-over-month increase in Consideration scores, and is the most in-demand sports title among American gamers ahead of the World Cup.
Former DWG KIA athletic director Kim “kkOma” Jeong-gyun has left the team following a quarterfinals exit at the League of Legends World Championship. The veteran coach and manager, who won three world championships as a coach with T1 and helped lead DWG KIA to a runner-up finish at Worlds in 2021, saw his team slump in the knockout rounds this year and fall to South Korean rival Gen.G in the quarterfinals. DWG KIA has made it to Worlds every year since 2019 but has yet to make it over the hump and win a title; kkOma’s arrival in 2020 after a stint with Chinese org Vici Gaming was aimed at changing DWG KIA’s fortunes, but after another knockout stage loss, the team parted with him as well as top laner Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon and its head coach and assistant.
Complexity was selected as the 11th Halo Championship Series partner team,with in-game cosmetics on the way and the chance to bring the HCS to Texas in the future, according to an announcement from the organizations. “Halo is a historic franchise with a highly engaged global fanbase that adds to Complexity’s large following, which has grown tenfold in the past 18 months,” GameSquare CEO Justin Kenna said in a statement. “We are proud to have been selected to join HCS and we are excited by the many opportunities that are available to partner teams.”
Falcons, a Saudi Arabian esports organization, has signed CS:GO veteran Kenny “kennyS” Schrub following his departure from G2 Esports earlier this week. The French player had up-and-down performances with G2 and has been on the team’s bench since late 2021. Falcons features an all-French roster including other CS:GO luminaries such as Nathan “NBK-” Schmitt and Ali “hAdji” Haïnouss.
Longtime North American Dota 2 powerhouse Evil Geniuses released their entire roster Tuesday and confirmed the organization will move its Dota 2 program to South America. EG, which finished at the top of its group at The International 11 but was swept in the upper and lower bracket of the knockout stage, parted with veteran star Artour “Arteezy” Babaev and Andreas “Cr1t-” Nielsen, who were both with the organization for six years, in the process.
Former CS:GO pro Emil “HeatoN” Christensen has become a major shareholder and CEO of GODSENT,according to a statement from the company. The Swedish esports standout hopes to help rebuild the team, which cut the majority of its CS:GO roster in mid-2022 and has struggled to build relevance in the higher tiers of the esport. GODSENT also announced a clothing line dedicated to Christensen’s arrival.
Netflix president of worldwide advertising Jeremi Gorman has joined GameSquare’s board of directors, GameSquare announced Tuesday. The former Snap and Amazon executive will work with GameSquare and its esports brand, Complexity Gaming, to foster revenue growth and additional marketing opportunities for the parent company and its affiliates. “The company has a unique platform that is resonating with brands, and I look forward to sharing my insights and experience with management and the board,” Gorman said in a statement. “Gaming and esports is an incredibly exciting space that is transforming the way that brands connect with fans.”
Indianapolis-based esports organization Beastcoast announced NBA player Gordan Hayward as a senior investor on Wednesday. Hayward, who played collegiately at Butler in Indy and currently plays for the Charlotte Hornets, “will support the esports organization as it further deepens its roots in Hayward’s home state of Indiana,” according to a statement. The move follows Beastcoast’s August announcement that it would occupy space at Butler’s Esports Park, an on-campus facility dedicated to competitive gaming. Major players in Beastcoast’s staff, such as CEO Grant Zinn, have relocated to the city in recent months. ““I’ve always admired how Gordon uses his platform as an NBA player to advocate for the gaming community,” Zinn said in a statement, “so it made complete sense to partner with him as we take the next step as an esports organization.”
Organizer Geoff Keighley announced the finalists for The Game Awards on Tuesday, including five esports categories and several competitive gaming titles in overall game categories. The Game Awards will honor the best esports team, game, individual player, coach and event at the Dec. 8 ceremony, and esports titles Apex Legends and Fortnite are up for the Best Ongoing game award. Games such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, Apex Legends Mobile and several sports and fighting game esports titles are also up for honors.
|READYUP EVENTS OF THE WEEK|
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|TRIVIAThe latest game in the Pokémon franchise releases on Friday; when did the first two titles in the series release in the U.S., and what platform did they release on? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city). |
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
What Christmas story adaptation starring Tom Hanks released on this day? Answer: The Polar Express. Kudos: Rob Casalaina-ITN/New York; Lorrie Shilling/El Segundo; David Westberg-SAG•AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/Los Angeles
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Creating wireframes, mockups, prototypes and animated UI designs;
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Ensure quality meets expectations and direction from the Art Lead and deliver the work in time.
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