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12/07/23: GTA VI trailer thrills; Shopify wins Game Changers; G2 scoops up CDL spot

Medias First Morning Read

Thursday December 7, 2023

Good morning! It’s Thursday and this is your early morning Esports and Gaming brief.

Rockstar Games released its first trailer for Grand Theft Auto VI this week, with fans worldwide bringing viewership of the teaser to more than 100 million in just a couple days. The latest edition of the Grand Theft Auto Series, announced just more than a decade after the release of Grand Theft Auto V, has the makings of one of the biggest moments in gaming in the next couple of years.

GTA is one of the best-known action franchises in the world, with decades of history across multiple platforms. GTAV remains one of the most popular games in the world, with more than 190 million units sold and a strong community of content creators and players in the online version of the game despite the lengthy break between new titles.

While 2023 was one of the best years in recent memory in terms of quality (and frequency) of releases, GTA VI alone is sure to make 2025 similarly memorable.


Shopify Rebellion are the VALORANT Champions Tour Game Changers champions following a thrilling 3-2 final win over Team Liquid Brazil. The 2022 runners-up got their title this time around while helping to set an all-time record for VCT Game Changers peak viewership of more than 293,000, according to Esports Charts. Despite Shopify leader Melanie “meL” Capone, who had been diagnosed with COVID-19, having to play remotely during the final, duelist Ava “florescent” Eugene shined in her first-ever offline Game Changers event with a record-setting 112 kills to lead her team to the top.

The Apex Legends Global Series revealed details of its partnership program for Year 4 of the circuit, with teams including OpTic Gaming, FaZe Clan, TSM, and others headlining the list of 12. The ALGS partners will receive financial support as well as opportunities to activate at ALGS events, along with other avenues for driving fan support. Creator-led organizations like Moist Esports and Disguised also made the cut, signaling the growing importance of these teams and their impact across multiple esports. “The fanbase is incredibly passionate and the watch parties were so fun to host,” Disguised owner and content creator Jeremy “Disguised Toast” Wang said in a statement. “It’s an esports I can see us being in for a long time with the support of EA, and I’m excited to have Disguised as a partnered team for 2024.”

The PUBG: Battlegrounds esports scene is set to expand its team support system in 2024, with PUBG Corporation announcing the addition of two new teams to its partner program. The organization is currently reviewing applications for its partnership slots and re-evaluating current members, it announced, with a focus on potential partners’ stability in the esports space as well as the size of the team’s existing audience. PUBG Corporation announced its initial eight partner teams in January 2023, so expect some quick decisions and more information in the new year.

ESL Impact revealed its 2024 competitive program and several strategy shifts to promote the sustainability of the women’s league. ESL FACEIT Group’s diversity-focused Counter-Strike initiative will step back from standalone events in 2024 and is also shifting its regional slots to accommodate higher participation rates in Europe than in its North America and South America regions. The changes, ESL said, will be reviewed at the end of next year as well.


This week brings two editions of REV/XP Presents!

REV/XP Presents features Heather Garozzo of RAIDIANT. Garozzo is the founder and Executive producer of RAIDIANT, the 1st woman inducted into the Esports Hall of Fame, and a 20-year industry veteran. Learn more about RAIDIANT at

In this episode of rEv/XP Presents, Chris talks to Jordan Barclay, the founder of Spawnpoint Media. Spawnpoint focuses on creating family friendly content through stories in games such as Minecraft. Jordan, also known as EYStreem, has over 8M subscribers on his YouTube channel and shares great insights for brands looking to tap this younger, engagerd demographic. Check out Jordan on YouTube here:


Riot Games announced a multi-year partnership and investment in data platform GRID that will see GRID become Riot’s official data provider for League of Legends and VALORANT esports. The partnership is an extension of the companies’ work on the VALORANT Data Portal, a tool created for pro organizations to better analyze in-game results. GRID and Riot will start work on a League of Legends version of the portal for the coming year.

Esports organization Sentinels are working with drink brand ADVANCED on a yearlong partnership to bring a new energy drink, Hopium, to online storefronts. The co-branded beverage, along with affiliated clothing, are the start of what both parties hope will lead to additional partnered activations in 2024.

Cloud9 is working with Toei Animation on a One Piece merch drop, the companies announced. C9 will incorporate the manga and anime title’s swashbuckling branding into the apparel line, which will be available online and at a pop-up event in Los Angeles on Dec. 9.

Fortnite “Big Bang” Event Shatters Streaming Records: A New Chapter in Digital EntertainmentThe recent Fortnite “Big Bang” event has set the live-streaming world ablaze, breaking records and redefining what’s possible in digital entertainment. Across major live-streaming platforms, Fortnite hit 7.3 million peak viewers, shattering previous records.
The conclusion of Season 27 and “Fortnite OG” not only showcased what’s coming in Fortnite Chapter 5 but also highlighted the game’s growing influence in the pop culture sphere. Featuring a live concert by renowned rapper Eminem, the Fortnite Big Bang event was one of the biggest events in streaming in recent years.On Twitch, the event helped the platform record its third-highest peak viewership ever for a single day, coming in at 6.38 million viewers on December 2. During this peak, over 50% of Twitch viewers were watching Fortnite streams, an unprecedented statistic.Read the full analysis over at Stream Hatchet.

Cynopsis Sports Media Awards 2024


Ready to recognize a company or campaign across production, marketing and technology for their hard work and innovation? Entries for the Sports Media Awards 2024 are live!
The in-person awards ceremony will take place in April 2024 in NYC.



The broadening appeal of esports – among younger and older Americans alikeOver the three-year period, starting from the base year 2021, esports interest has shown a gradual uptick. Among the 18-29 age group, the percentage expressing esports as a top interest increased from 7% in 2021 to 10% in 2023. Even in the 30+ age range, there’s a positive shift from 2% to 4% over the same period.

While this is impressive in itself, the share of those saying they are “somewhat” or “a little bit” interested has also grown steadily. In fact, as of 2023, the share of 18-29-year-olds saying they are not at all interested in esports has dipped below 50% for the first time.


G2 Esports has received the operating rights for Version1’s flagship esports programs as part of a strategic partnership between the competitive gaming organizations. News has trickled out about the move since Version1’s announcement that it was pursuing merger options in April of this year. The move gives G2, one of Europe’s most well-known esports teams, a foothold in the Call of Duty League thanks to Version1’s spot in that league.

Carleton Curtis, the CEO of Tundra Esports, is resigning from that role at the end of this year, he announced. Curtis is also giving up his position as executive chairman of Tundra’s parent company, Sandstorm Media Group. Tundra co-founder Maxim Demin will take over the CEO role as Curtis gears up for what’s next; though he alluded to a new opportunity in a LinkedIn post, it’s unclear what the move will be.

North American League of Legends veteran Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng is retiring for good, he announced, after more than 12 years as a competitive player. Doublelift, regarded as the best-ever North American AD carry and likely the best player to hail from North America of all time, played for 100 Thieves throughout 2023 but is best-known for his time on TSM and Team Liquid, where he earned multiple League of Legends World Championship berths and international success at tournaments like the Mid-Season Invitational. The 30-year-old plans to focus on content creation moving forward.

FaZe Clan’s first employee, ​​Sebastian “CBass” Diamond, is leaving the company after 12 years, he announced. The one-time content creator noted the challenges that the shift from FaZe being a creator-led organization to an executive-owned one presented, his work leading FaZe’s growth on social platforms and his hopes for the company now that the former FaZe regime is steering the ship again. “When I first came across FaZe Clan in 2010 it wasn’t a business, it wasn’t a brand, it was a YouTube channel with 500 subscribers – and more importantly, nobody other than us thought it was cool,” CBass said in a statement. “This red logo has created a snowball effect towards hundreds of millions of people being inspired to chase their dreams.”


Xbox Game Pass won’t be coming to non-Microsoft platforms, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer confirmed in an interview with Windows Central. Although Spencer and Xbox continue to search for new ways to leverage its cloud gaming services and subscription platform, the CEO made it clear that Xbox hardware will continue to leverage these products as a differentiator rather than trying to bring them onto other platforms and ease away from the hardware business.

Wagering platform Rivalry announced a 50% year-over-year increase in betting handle as part of its Q3 earnings report while reaffirming its prediction that the company will hit profitability in H1 2024. Rivalry, which is known in the esports space for its adoption of betting for multiple competitive titles as well as recently becoming the first company to support same-game parlays for esports events, has been able to cut marketing costs while getting more out of and retaining its current users: the company reports “all-time high average handle per customer, average revenue per user, and record low cost of customer acquisition” heading into the end of 2024.

Galaxy Racer has cut its entire North American staff, including its Her Galaxy brand, amid employees’ complaints about back pay and threats of a class action to secure those payments. Galaxy Racer reportedly provided those payments to staff, according to The Esports Advocate, and has promised to pay Her Galaxy event competitors the outstanding prize money from those tournaments. Moving forward, Galaxy Racer will “focus primarily on influencer and content creator programs” in the U.S. but halt esports efforts for now.

Games media conglomerate GAMURS announced additional layoffs this week as the company’s esports publication, Dot Esports, seems to be pulling back from the word in its own title. Dot laid off multiple competitive gaming-focused personnel, including reporters and editors for Apex, Counter-Strike, Overwatch and other titles. Cuts at the organization have been primarily focused on esports content as the publication, and others in the GAMURS network, scramble to hit SEO goals promoted by the programmatic revenue-first strategy.

Cynopsis Reaching Audience in 2024


Media industry experts go live TODAY, December 7, to share insights on succeeding in today’s buying and selling environment. The Reaching Audience in 2024 Virtual Conference will cover everything you need to know about those clicking ‘play’ today. Don’t miss it!


Rockstar Games is the developer of GTA VI. Who is the publisher of the game? (Email [email protected] with your answer, and be sure to include your name, company and city).Answer to Our Last Trivia Question
Destiny 2 released its latest seasonal update last week. What is the name of that season? Answer: Season of the Wish. Kudos: Tom Moore | Kalt Productions, Los Angeles; David Westberg | SAG•AFTRA Federal Credit Union, Burbank, California

Cynopsis Team

Lynn Leahey
Editorial Director
@Lynn_LeaheyKerry Smith
Division President
Access IntelligenceRobbie Caploe
VP/Group Publisher
Executive Director of Sales
Albert Nassour
Cynopsis Job Listings Sales
Rob Hudgins

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Grow in billings, income, and experience on a team that continues to lead our industry. Take your career to the next level with a company that is transforming cities and delivering on our promises to our clients and to our long-standing Municipal and Transit Authority partners. Full info HEREACCOUNT EXECUTIVE, AD SALES >>
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