ESPORTS IN THEATRES
Hollywood’s TCL Chinese Theatre—just months after announcing the creation of an “immersive esports theater” in Southern California—is expanding on its esports activities with the creation of Hollywood Esports, an esports organization that includes numerous gaming teams and the planning of esports events. This move is in partnership with the Hammer Esports organization, who will now be competing under the Hollywood Hammers banner.
One possibility of this push for growth could be inclusion in Blizzard’s OverwatchLeague.
“The Hammers organization looks to lead the trend of esports teams being more accessible and connected to local fans,” says Hammer Esports CEO and founder King ‘KIMA’ Perez De Tagle. “Our affiliation with the TCL Chinese Theatre, an incredible Los Angeles landmark, and the creation of Hollywood Esports, bridges the gap between our global fans and gamers of all kinds.
As the Hollywood Hammers, our teams welcome other competing esports teams to challenge us in our home arena. Concurrently, Hollywood Esports will work closely with the TCL Chinese Theatre to develop multiple esports content strategies with the production of tournaments, game launches and events.”
TCL Chinese Theatre will also be creating a show for its esports initiatives, dubbed “Tournament Tuesday,” to be aired from its esports venue. Host Michelle Slayton adds that TCL wants “Los Angeles and the rest of the world to get to know our new teams as we cover events and competitive gaming. We aim to put a spotlight on the human side of gaming and how it’s creating a new culture and community.”
The Hollywood Hammers will compete in a number of esports titles, including Overwatch and mobile titles like Vainglory.
“We are bringing to Los Angeles an exceptional esports franchise to become our local team,” said TCL Chinese Theatre CEO Robert K. Laity. “The esports world deserves a local fan base in addition to a global following in much the same way that other sports like basketball, football, and baseball have strong and close affiliations with fans in major cities across the US. Los Angeles now has its newest team to follow and support.”
One possibility of this push for growth could be inclusion in Blizzard‘s Overwatch League. As recent reporting has shown, Blizzard’s push toward non-endemics may be icing out endemic esports organizations (further confirmed by Dignitas’ recent Overwatch drop). For Hammer Esports, a partnership with a large company like TCL could mean not only the resources to get into the OWL, but also the attention of Blizzard as a regional powerhouse. If Hollywood Esports can nab the regional rights to Southern California in the OWL, it could potentially gain massive revenue and esports followers.
Mobil 1™ Returns to Esports in Rocket League Championship Series Seasons 3 and 4
SAN FRANCISCO–May 5, 2017–Social video platform Twitch and independent video game developer and publisher, Psyonix, today announced the renewal of its sponsorship with ExxonMobil for Seasons 3 and 4 of the Rocket League Championship Series. The sponsorship will once again highlight ExxonMobil’s Mobil 1™automotive lubricant brand and continue the company’s involvement with the league.
“Having a blue-chip brand like Mobil 1 involved in the Rocket League Championship Series is a huge priority this year,” said Nathan Lindberg, Director of Global Esports Sponsorships at Twitch. “As the business of esports is still in its nascent stages, sponsorship renewals with non-endemic companies are still very rare. This makes the continued commitment from a marquee brand like Mobil 1 both an achievement and a noteworthy indication of where the industry is heading.”
Last year, Mobil 1 saw a significant rise in brand favorability and brand preference by viewers of the Rocket League Championship Series Season 2, based on a valuation study by Repucom. A component of that success was the “Mobil 1 High Performance Replay,” a fan-favorite branded segment that replayed highlights from matches with analyst commentary.
“We’re thrilled to be involved again with the Rocket League Championship Series,” said Pablo Conrad, Global Brand Manager, Passenger Vehicle Lubricants at ExxonMobil. “Our team is always looking for innovative ways to make our brands more relevant to consumers, and this sponsorship achieves that goal. Offering a hybrid of high-octane motorsport and soccer, with an emphasis on car customization and performance, Rocket League is a perfect fit for Mobil 1.”
The Rocket League Championship Series is the official competitive league for Rocket League, Psyonix’s award-winning sports-action title, produced in partnership by Twitch and Psyonix. Season 3 of the Rocket League Championship Series is the biggest one yet, with players battling for a share of the largest-ever $300,000 prize pool at the World Championship in Los Angeles in June.
Watch all Rocket League Championship Series matches and content on Twitch.tv/RocketLeague. For more information, visit the official Rocket League Championship Series site at www.rocketleagueesports.com.
In their latest post, analytics firm Newzoo have determined that 42% of people who watch League of Legends, CS:GO or Dota 2 esports content do not actually play these titles. The report goes further, stating that 70% of fans only watch one of these three franchises – with LoL commanding the largest share of 36%.
The relationship between esport viewership and player habits has until now been an unexplored curiosity. In order to develop a clearer picture for brands, media and investors interested in entering the scene, Newzoo focused on the following questions for their research:
The analysis focuses primarily on the top three PC franchises mentioned above, however the data was also compared with multi-platform titles Hearthstone and Overwatch. All figures were then aggregated across 10 western countries: U.S., Canada, Germany, U.K., France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, and Sweden. While that does leave out key regions with vastly different gamer behaviours, the post acknowledges that a significant share of the fanbase heralds from Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia.
One of the recurring findings was that esports can help highly-competitive video game franchises retain “lapsed” players, who might either have moved on to newer titles or stopped playing games almost entirely. It seems 26% of LoL’s fans and 36% of CS:GO’s are viewers only. Comparing the titles together, more LoL viewers don’t watch CS:GO or Dota 2 than the other way around, and 35% of Dota 2 players spend more than 15 hours a week watching matches from all three franchises – compared to 27% for League of Legends.
"Comparing the titles together, more LoLviewers don’t watch CS:GO or Dota 2 than the other way around."
Underneath Newzoo’s numbers, there are countless factors (some admittedly subjective) that could be at play. CS:GOcan be an exhilarating watch even for non-gamers, but Overwatch is difficult even for longtime FPS players to spectate. Dota 2, LoL and even Hearthstone are free-to-play evolving games, however CS:GO is a one-time purchase game that (while subject to the same loot-box microtransactions) doesn’t receive anything close to the same level of updates or additions.
The report also adds insight into why non-endemic brands are extending their grasp on esport’s advertising business model. If a massive section of your viewership aren’t interested in the hardware and peripherals of traditional gaming sponsors, then it makes sense to seek more general consumer brands. As René Korte of ROCCAT said at the Lagardere LCS Warm-Up, people can watch League of Legends even if they don’t play it, much as his mother watches soccer having never played it…
A report from a British analytics firm IHS Markit states that esports viewership hours grew 19% in 2016 over the previous year.
Chinese audiences account for the lion’s share of the 6 billion hours, with 11.1 billion streams delivered to the Chinese market. The second-largest market is North America, at only 2.7 billion streams.
“The rapid growth of esports audiences has attracted some of the industry’s largest media and technology companies to the genre, with the likes of Amazon and MTG acquiring key assets,” reads a statement from IHS Markit research director Ted Hall.
“Some of these acquisitions are initiating shifts in esports business dynamics, with players such as China’s Tencent seeking to control assets across the value chain, and publishers moving into league operation.”
The report also suggests that spending on esports advertising is growing at a phenomenal pace. $280 million was spent in 2016, with the analysts suggesting that the figure will eclipse $1 billion by 2021.
“The rise of esports provides some valuable lessons for channels and programmers more broadly,” says IHS Markit senior director Dan Cryan. “In particular, it demonstrates the value of aggregating audiences globally, rather than the more country-specific approach that defined much of the traditional TV business.”
JESS COLWILLJess is a writer and dog-lover from the eastern coast of Australia, who loves playing games (particularly anything by BioWare), listening to metal, baking, and fostering rescue dogs while they wait for new homes. You can find her on Twitter at @notsocryptic.
ESL has announced a partnership with Emirates Airlines that will deliver in-flight esports entertainment on-demand across all of their flights.
At least until June 2018, “Every Emirates flight in their global network of over 150 destinations across six continents will be outfitted with on-demand esports content from ESL on the Inflight Entertainment Systems, available for all passengers on board,” ESL said..
“Relive Na’Vi’s immaculate run through the ESL One New York 2016 bracket. Catch up on the biggest plays, upsets and storylines from Intel Extreme Masters World Championship Katowice 2017 - Astralislifting their first ever Intel Extreme Masters trophy, TY’s intense StarCraft II grand final match against Stats and Flash Wolves’ success story in the League of Legends bracket.”
Passengers will be able to enjoy selected highlights from recent esports events, but ESL promises that future events will also be included, making specific reference to the upcoming ESL One Cologne.
“At ESL, we are always looking to increase the visibility of esports and are happy to work with Emirates, the world’s largest international airline, on our first inflight entertainment deal,” added Torsten Haux, VP of Global Media Rights at ESL.
“As a truly global company with events all around the world, I’m sure that players and fans will enjoy ESL’s esports highlights as they travel on Emirates airline.”
By - JESS COLWILLJess is a writer and dog-lover from the eastern coast of Australia, who loves playing games (particularly anything by BioWare), listening to metal, baking, and fostering rescue dogs while they wait for new homes. You can find her on Twitter at @notsocryptic.
Azubu and Hitbox, two livestreaming platforms, have merged and been formed as a new entity: Smashcast. Emerging from its chrysalis, Smashcast has announced its intention to become “a strong number two competitor to Twitch” and “the largest independent esports broadcaster outside Asia.”
Which of these great multiplayer PC games do you like to watch?
The new platform is now live at www.smashcast.tv. Smashcast boasts a revamped, cleaner UI and something called a ‘Hype-O-Meter’, which lets esports fans cheer for their favourite team during tournaments.
Mike McGarvey, Smashcast CEO, says the hype-o-meter “represents just the first step in our long-term vision to create the best broadcaster-to-viewer experience in the world of esports and competitive gaming.”
Smashcast are also looking to monetise their audience in new ways beyond simple advertising. They are targeting new avenues in affiliate marketing, virtual goods sales, in-game betting and sponsorships to “close the gap in ARPU” (that’s average revenue per user) between the esports market and more established sports businesses.
Smashcast have also announced the launch of a new, 4K-ready production studio in Vienna, Austria, reflecting a commitment to high-quality broadcasts.
“The new Vienna production facility is a key next step for us in ensuring the quality of support we provide our broadcasting and publishing partners,” says Martin Klimscha, European managing director. “We wanted specifically to ensure that we are differentiated from our competitors not only from our platform and technology excellence, which includes full 4K and 360 VR support, but from the quality of streaming content as well.”
While it's always great to see a new service emerge, Smashcast has some way to go before it can seriously threaten Twitch's dominance of the streaming business. At time of writing, the most-watched channel on Smashcast (a COD Online stream by zzeQs) had around 350 viewers, while the most-watched on Twitch (AdmiralBulldog, playing Dota 2) had 11,650.
Today, May 7th, the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, Australia, and thousands of roaring fans saw the conclusion of Australia’s first ever esports stadium event. SK Gaming and FaZe Clan took the stage for one last battle to determine who would take the first championship title of season 12 of Intel Extreme Masters. After a total of four days of amazing play and top notch CS:GO action, it was SK Gaming who lifted the coveted IEM Sydney trophy.
SK Gaming vs. FaZe Clan 3-1
Thank you and see you next time!We want to thank everyone who joined us at the event or tuned in online, all teams, players and everyone involved in making this fantastic event happen. Together, we made history and we are more than ready to continue this great run throughout all of season 12 of Intel Extreme Masters!
Missed any of the IEM Sydney matches? Head over to our VOD playlist!
Remember to follow IEM on Twitter and Facebook as we roll out more information about season 12.
By Hans Oelschlägel
Editor / Content Manager
WCS Austin is done and dust, and it’s time to determine the next set of players for the upcoming WCS Jönköping. Eight tickets to the main event are up for grabs, four for both Europe and North America, as well as $10,000 and 1,000 WCS Points per region.
The exact prize distribution per region will be as follows:
1st $1,600 200 Ticket to WCS Jönköping
2nd $1,200 140 Ticket to WCS Jönköping
3rd/4th $800 90 Ticket to WCS Jönköping
5th-8th $600 60 -
9th-16th $400 30 -For those not yet familiar with the WCS Challenger tournament structure, you can check out our previous article explaining the WCS Challenger format for 2017.
EU WCS Challenger Schedule
Players must complete 15 ladder games a day between Grand Master League promotion windows starting on Thursday, May 11, 21:00 CEST and ending on Sunday, May 14, 21:00 CEST.
Players must complete 15 ladder games a day between Grand Master League promotion windows starting on Thursday, May 18, 21:00 EDT and ending on Sunday, May 21, 21:00 EDT.
Starting at the Thursday promotion window, players will be required to play under the name that they wish to use during the WCS Circuit event. Please contact email@example.com if you require a free character name change to compete.
All open qualifier cups and play-offs can be found on the WCS portal, so don’t hesitate to sign yourself up for a chance to become a part of WCS Jönköping. For those primarily interested in watching the action live on stream, be sure to head over to the StarCraft Twitch channelwhere the proven duo of Yoan “ToD” Merlo and James ”Kaelaris” Carrol will cover all the matches.
You can follow ESL StarCraft II on both Twitter and Facebook to receive any further updates regarding ESL StarCraft II tournaments and upcoming WCS Challenger events.
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