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11/19/20: Nerd Street’s new avenue; JBL’s Quantum Drive; Call of Duty’s 2020 launch

Medias First Morning Read

Thursday November 19, 2020

Good morning! This is your weekly Esports Brief.
Nerd Street Gamers is launching a new monthly subscription service titled Nerd Street+, designed to give gamers “a gateway to a curated library of competitive opportunities and access to the equipment needed to compete at the highest level.” Subscribers will gain unlimited access to live and digital weekly competitions, discounts on larger monthly tournaments and camps, and monthly training time at a network of esports venues across the country. The Nerd Street+ subscription will launch with nationwide access to all of Nerd Street Gamers’ own Localhost facilities (Philadelphia, Denver, Austin, and St. Louis) as well as partner venues including Esports Stadium Arlington, HyperX Esports Arena Las Vegas, Axis Replay in Atlanta, Balance Patch in Boston, Digital Battlegrounds in Orlando, with more.

“By curating competitive opportunities from a variety of platforms and unifying our partner venues alongside our own, we’re organizing the esports landscape and lowering the barrier of entry for gamers.” said John Fazio, CEO of Nerd Street Gamers. “Thanks to our rapidly growing network of venues empowering communities with competitive experiences that anyone can participate in, Nerd Street+ will ensure every gamer has an opportunity to take advantage of the life and career opportunities esports has to offer.”

The Pro Bowl is going virtual as the National Football League and Electronic Arts announced plans to present the 2021 NFL Pro Bowl presented by Verizon via Madden NFL 21. After the announcement that the Pro Bowl game will not be played in Allegiant Stadium in 2021, the NFL will incorporate several additional elements which will ultimately comprise this new virtual Pro Bowl experience. EA SPORTS and the NFL will create a week-long series of matchups featuring celebrities, NFL Legends, current players, and streamers playing as the official Pro Bowl rosters in Madden NFL 21, culminating with 2021 Pro Bowl players facing off within Madden NFL 21.

ESL Gaming announced another installation of the PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS (PUBG) tournament DreamHack PUBG Showdown. The winter-edition tournament will once again be run as an all-online competition. In addition to the European competition, the PUBG Showdown Winter will now expand into North America and Latin America. “It feels great to announce another installment of our popular PUBG tournament,” said Mike Van Driel, SVP, Game Management at ESL Gaming. “This year’s previous two tournaments have been really appreciated which makes it all the more exciting to end the year by expanding into two new regions with our biggest prize pool so far.”

Nov. 21 sees Epic Games unleash the $1M Super Cup. Competition will be divided into multiple regions. The $1M Super Cup marks the final event of a circuit of Marvel-themed tournaments that has happened since the release of the new Fortnite season in September, named Marvel Knockout Super Series.

ESPN and Psyonix carry The Maui Esports Invitational featuring Rocket League and delivered by goPuff starting today across the Rocket League Twitch channel, ESPNU and ESPN2. The final eight teams that advanced from the group stage include two teams representing competitors from the 2020 Camping World Maui Invitational, Indiana University and University of Alabama, two teams from the open qualifier, Northwood University and Louisiana State University, and four leading esports programs, Illinois Wesleyan University, University of Utah, University of Missouri and University of Illinois.

The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association partnered with esports league provider PlayVS to offer competitive gaming opportunities for its 12 member institutions. PlayVS will serve as the conference’s official esports provider for select gaming titles, such as Fortnite, Rocket League, and League of Legends, and will begin offering competitive gaming seasons this fall. PlayVS will provide participating CIAA schools access to esports gaming events and leagues, including a newly launched HBCU Esports League, that offer students an opportunity to compete for championships as well as earn scholarship money and merchandise. Additionally, the CIAA will collaborate with PlayVS on educational and career initiatives, for its students, within the esports and gaming industry.

ESL Gaming revealed DreamHack StarCraft 2 Masters: Last Chance, the final ESL Pro Tour tournament of the year in StarCraft II. The tournament, which is closing out its first year of the ESL Pro Tour for StarCraft II, begins with qualifiers on Dec. 8, with the Main Tournament starting on Jan. 12, 2021. “ESL and DreamHack share the same vision of creating an open-ecosystem that allows aspiring pro players to rank up and follow the path ‘from zero to hero,’” said Shaun Clark, Director of ESL Pro Tour at ESL Gaming. “This tournament will bring stellar young talent who want to take their skills to the next level. We can’t wait for what will surely be an amazing competition.”

JBL unveiled a “first-of-its-kind” global gaming tournament titled the JBL Quantum Cup in partnership with ESL. The vent launches Dec. 11 as consumers will be able to watch the key names in esports face off across Fortnite, Valorant and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) and consumers will be able to compete during qualifying rounds of the global Fortnite challenge for a chance to advance to the finals of the JBL Quantum Cup and play against the pros. Participants will include the likes of Ninja, SypherPK, and members of 100 Thieves and FaZe Clan. “Esports is growing faster than anyone expected, so being able to unite pro streamers with fans for the first time ever in this unique three-day tournament is a huge moment for us,” said Ralph Santana, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at HARMAN. “With billions of people regularly tuning in to simply watch gaming tournaments, JBL is changing the game with the first competition that puts viewers at the center of the action.”

Bud Light announced its own console, titled BL6, described as “a high-powered gaming PC complete with a one-of-a-kind self-cooling aluminium can pack to store Bud Lights while gaming.” The item will feature a beer cooling system to store 12 oz. Bud Lights, and the PC comes pre-loaded with BandaiNamco games such as Tekken, Soulcalibur and RBI Baseball 20 as well as a high-definition projector screen. The BL6 will be available for auction on, with all proceeds being donated to The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s (NRAEF) “Change is on the Menu.”

Campbell’s Chunky ordered up a deal with the NFL for EA SPORTS Madden NFL 21. The two brands have partnered to bring players never before seen content and experiences through a new program called Champions of Chunky: Old School vs. New School, which includes Campbell’s Chunky-themed gear and challenges in The Yard, the new backyard football-inspired mode in Madden NFL 21. In addition to the first of its kind integrated experience, the brands announced the Champions of Chunky Yard Invitational, a tournament for competitive players in The Yard that will take place on Dec. 5 at 7p.

ESL is teaming with communications agency DDB in a move designed to elevate the ESL & DreamHack brands around the world. “For the past 20 years, we have been on the forefront of launching leading brands into the esports sphere, creating game-changing brand partnerships,” said Mark Cohen, Global SVP Brand Partnerships at ESL. “Our cooperation with DDB FTW enables us to introduce their clients to our target audience and develop innovative brand strategies together for esports fans worldwide.”

Dignitas, the esports vertical of New Meta Entertainment Inc., announced a new partnership with Zenni, the nation’s largest online eyewear retailer, through Dec. 31, 2020. Dignitas’ women will wear Zenni Blokz eyewear to protect their eyes from the blue light that emits from digital screens during competition and live streaming. “Partnering with a leading online eyewear brand like Zenni presents an incredible opportunity to level up our female initiatives,” said Heather Garozzo, VP of Talent at Dignitas and former professional gamer. “Both Zenni and Dignitas share similar goals of elevating women in the esports space while striving to create positive counters to online harassment.”

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Stream Hatchet analyzed the latest Call Of Duty launch this past week to measure the fan-favorite game’s growth year-over-year. This year’s title, Black Ops Cold War, released last Friday and immediately generated substantial viewership. When comparing the peak viewers during launch weekends, Cold War produced a 36% increase from last year and a 14% increase from 2018’s Black Ops 4. Clearly, Call Of Duty is trending in the right direction – especially in collaboration with the success the Call Of Duty League saw in its inaugural season. The foundation is set to build on the momentum for yet another great year for Call Of Duty.
· The launch of Cold War reached about 638K peak viewers beating the previous two titles during each of their launch weekends.
· In addition to the successful release of Cold War, Call Of Duty still generates massive viewership for their Warzone gamemode originally from the Modern Warfare title. However, the made will also be compatible with Cold War making the value of the new game that much higher.
· Twitch streamer NoahJ456 generated the highest peak for an individual channel over launch weekend with over 115K viewers tuning in to see his “zombies” gamemode stream.
For more data about games and live streaming, please visit

NBCLX, a new TV and OTT network designed for millennials and Gen Z-ers, is tapping into esports. Beginning today, NBCLX will now showcase esports titles from ESR 24/7 eSports Channel that are set to include holiday-themed video game mini-challenges, competitions and interviews with esports insiders. NBCLX’s esports programming schedule will feature: Thanksgaming, Age of Coronavirus (starting Nov. 22), Holiday Smash (Dec. 11), Toast with the Most (Dec 28), as well as 2021 shows Playing with Words and Kills, Thrills & Chills. “NBCLX is smart to engage the exploding esports audience. Our high-quality but down-to-earth, home-brew entertainment will connect with ordinary gamers and non-gamers, as opposed to flashy shows focused only on elite players,” said Wendy Wang, CEO of ESR

Twitch scored a new viewership record in October, according to StreamElements and in there newest report, with 1.6 billion hours watched in Octoduring the month, and nearly doubling the 839 million hours that platform drw for the month in 2019.

Misfits Gaming Group revealed a new event, “Plunder in the Sky,” set to run Dec. 4 at 4p and featuring its Call of Duty League™ team, the Florida Mutineers. In “Plunder in the Sky,” players will compete in Call of Duty: Warzone as part of the Call of Duty Charity Invitational event. “Plunder in the Sky” celebrates the continued partnership between the gaming industry and non-profit sector by inviting 12 charity organizations to participate and benefit in the live fundraiser, including: Call of Duty Endowment, American Cancer Society, Gamers Outreach, Wounded Warrior Project, Make-A-Wish Greater Los Angeles, Quest to Conquer Cancer, Gift of Life Marrow Registry, Miami Cancer Institute (part of Baptist Health South Florida), St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital, No Kid Hungry, and Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Meanwhile, the Call of Duty League’s New York Subliners are launching NYSL’s $100,000 WarzoneMania with 20 teams vying for the prize pool on Dec. 10 and 12. The 20 team captains will participate in a special live draft on Dec. 1, selecting from a pool that includes “some of the top players and content creators from the Call of Duty community, all of who have been assembled specifically for this competition,” per Andbox.

Beasley Esports, in conjunction with Samsung, H-E-B and Zenni, opened the doors to the Houston Outlaws Most Wanted Content Creator Search as a casting call to find the three Most Wanted Content Creators for 2021. Throughout the next several months, candidates will go through a series of content challenges to qualify for the opportunity to be selected among the final three winners. The top eight candidates will be invited to appear on a live broadcast on Feb. 15 to conduct their final challenges live. The Outlaws have tapped Overwatch League Host Malik Forte as the official spokesperson on behalf of the program and host of the February 15 broadcast. “

NRG Esports is expanding its turf with the opening of a new content space in downtown Los Angeles titled The Castle and described as “a cutting-edge space for influencers and creatives to connect and enjoy one-of-a-kind installations, elevating gaming tournaments and content creation,” according to Yahoo. The Castle offers a dozen different areas that sport unique themes, including the Oval Office Wreck Room, a dressing room filled with pop-culture props and costumes, and a gaming room outfitted with a 40-foot television.

Immortals Gaming Club revealed that The Esports Development League will become the official development league of IGC’s Immortals League of Legends team. IGC’s Immortals League of Legends players will be collaborating with ESDL on some custom educational content for ESDL’s structured training programs. In addition, Immortals’ staff, players, coaches and general managers will work with ESDL to amplify and add to ESDL’s offerings and collaborate on a biannual Scouting Showcase

76ers Gaming Club, the NBA 2K League team of the Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment portfolio, announced an interactive esports partnership with Saint Joseph’s University. The partnership will feature an exclusive, six-part digital content series, profiling the backgrounds of 76ers GC players and exploring the lives of GC players.

UK-based streamer Vikram “Vikkstar” Singh Barn is joining the ReKTGlobal family as a co-owner of the London Royal Ravens. Singh Barn is a co-founder and frontman behind the content creation collective known as the Sideman and is widely known for streams involving his Call of Duty: Warzone play.

Evil Geniuses is partnering with former ESPN talent Jacob Wolf and producer Thomas Tischio for the creation of a new original live program that goes behind the scenes as League of Legends enters its free agency period. Jacob Wolf’s [Evil] Free Agency Show presented by AT&T will cover all of the news as it breaks during League of Legends’ competitive offseason. Rallying alongside Evil Geniuses and AT&T, BMW, Buffalo Wild Wings, Razer, Monster Energy, LG UltraGear, and Motorola Edge+ have all additionally signed on as sponsors to support this event.

Hawks Talon Gaming Club, the official NBA 2K League affiliate of the Atlanta Hawks, announced a content series called Talon Takeover which will feature celebrities, entertainers and influencers playing NBA 2K21 online with the team’s Head Coach Wesley Acuff. The first stream in the series which will take place at tonight at 8:30p with 24kGoldn on the team’s Twitch channel.

FaZe Clan revealed its first-ever FaZe Clan Holiday Drop Schedule, lining up multiple releases throughout the holiday season. The upcoming drops will feature inline and talent collections as well as limited-edition merchandise collaborations. “We are thrilled to offer our fans a look into what we are dropping over the next few months so they can plan for the holiday season,” says FaZe Clan’s VP of Marketing Taav Cooperman. “This has been an impactful year for FaZe Clan’s apparel business and we are proud to close out 2020 with this lineup of products and groundbreaking collaborations. We will continue bringing exciting merchandise moments to our fans by collaborating with meaningful partners that join us in our mission to define gaming and youth culture.”

Liquid Apparel debuted a new partnership with Japanese-inspired lifestyle brand tokidoki. The launch collection—a 16-piece mix of apparel and accessories—brings to life Team Liquid’s adorable mascot Blue in the iconic tokidoki style, alongside classic characters such as Kaiju, Ninja Skater and Salaryman. The deal marks tokidoki’s first foray into esports.


Queens Gaming Collective is open for business, serving as a women-led gaming and lifestyle brand. According to VentureBeat, Queens “gives creators, streamers, and competitors equal access to the infrastructure, resources, and representation needed to build fair and profitable careers in the gaming industry.” The group is financed by a $1.5 million investment from a gaming-focused financial group, consisting of BITKRAFT Ventures, as well as strategic investors Assia Grazioli-Venier and Rachel Springate.


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2006: Super Mario 64 is released.
Name the Oscar-nominated actor (and Bandit) who appeared in the game “Saints Row: The Third.” (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).

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In the game Risk, which continent is worth the most? Answer: Asia. Kudos: Creed Heilskov-ImOn Communications/Cedar Rapids; Andy Babb-Super League Gaming/Santa Monica; David Westberg-SAG•AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA

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