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The biggest companies sponsoring #Esports teams and tournaments $GMBL $KO $ATVI $TTWO $GAME $EPY.ca

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 11:17 AM on Friday, January 12th, 2018
  • Esports and competitive gaming are growing in popularity and gaining viewership each month
  • Current value of the eSports market is approximately $900 million, a figure that should continue to rise throughout the year
  • International 2017, the world championships for Dota 2, broke the record for the largest prize pool in eSports history at $24,787,916

By: Andrew Meola

eSports and competitive gaming are growing in popularity and gaining viewership each month. The current value of the eSports market is approximately $900 million, a figure that should continue to rise throughout the year.

Consider that the prize pools for the most popular eSports games (League of LegendsDota 2Call of Duty) get richer with each passing year. The International 2017, the world championships for Dota 2, broke the record for the largest prize pool in eSports history at $24,787,916. But more impressive is that every International since 2014 has accomplished that feat.

And as with any successful industry, a greater valuation means more money will follow. For competitive gaming, that has taken shape in the form of eSports sponsors and gaming sponsorships. These eSports sponsorship deals are helping push international competitions from a niche segment to full-fledged sporting events.

Below, we’ve compiled an eSports sponsors list that highlights some of the major companies that are attaching their names and dollars to competitive gaming.

Intel: Has sponsored Intel Extreme Masters along with ESL (Electronic Sports League) since 2006. This is the longest-running eSports tournament in existence.

Melia Robinson

Coca-Cola: The soda giant sponsors the League of Legends World Championship, one the largest eSports competitions on earth. But to take it a step further, Coca-Cola and Riot Games partnered with some cinemas to host more than 200 simultaneous viewing parties for the 2016 League of Legends World Championships throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe.

Comcast Xfinity: The cable and internet provider sponsors both ESL and the eSports team Evil Geniuses, which competes at the highest levels in Dota 2League of Legends, and more.

Red Bull: Energy drinks such as Red Bull are major proponents of eSports. The company began by sponsoring tournaments for Blizzard’s StarCraft 2 and then branched out into Dota 2. Red Bull sponsors competitions and teams, such as Tempo Storm.

Mountain Dew: The soft drink company sponsors several eSports teams, including Team Dignitas, Splyce, and Team SK Gaming. It also started the Mountain Dew League, which helps amateur teams try to make it to the pros.

T-Mobile: The wireless carrier sponsored eSports organizations TSM and Cloud9 starting in August 2017. T-Mobile also sponsored Twitch’s E3 fighting game tournament “Twitch Esports Arena” in June 2017 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Mobil 1: The synthetic motor oil brand sponsors the Rocket League Championship Series. It’s a natural fit, as Rocket League is a game in which two teams of three remote-controlled cars play soccer.

Audi: The German automaker began sponsoring Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team Astralis in January 2017.

Airbus: The aeronautics company announced a sponsorship with eSports team Out of the Blue in October 2017.

More to Learn

As the eSports market grows, more sponsors and investors will flow into the industry, which will create a booming opportunity for all the players involved. To see how it all fits together, BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has put together a comprehensive guide on the future of professional gaming called The eSports Ecosystem.

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/top-esports-sponsors-gaming-sponsorships-2018-1

The Explosive Growth of #Esports – Trends to Watch in 2018 $GMBL $ATVI $TTWO $GAME $EPY.ca

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 3:00 PM on Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

Esport accomplishments in 2017:

  • Intel Extreme Masters held its premiere tournament in Katowice, Poland with on-site attendance of 173,000 fans, making it the biggest live event in esports history
  • Blizzard opened a dedicated esports stadium called Blizzard Arena at the former studio of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson
  • The League of Legends World Championship reached 60 million unique viewers online, compared to 43 million in 2016
  • Overwatch League signed 12 teams for the first-ever global city-based esports league, featuring investments made by some of the most successful owners in the world of sports: Robert Kraft (New England Patriots, New England Revolution), Jeff Wilpon (New York Mets), Stan Kroenke (Los Angeles Rams, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Rapids, Arsenal FC), Andy Miller (Sacramento Kings) and other noteworthy names from both traditional sports and esports

By Jesse Steinberg, Account Supervisor, Taylor

As an avid fan of video gaming and a counselor to some of the most innovative brands in the space, I can confidently say that 2017 was a banner year for esports. Just look at all of the breakthrough accomplishments last year (list after video). But first, it’s worth taking a moment to watch this video that highlights the celebrities who have made investments in esports:

Esport accomplishments in 2017:

  • Overwatch League signed 12 teams for the first-ever global city-based esports league, featuring investments made by some of the most successful owners in the world of sports: Robert Kraft (New England Patriots, New England Revolution), Jeff Wilpon (New York Mets), Stan Kroenke (Los Angeles Rams, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Rapids, Arsenal FC), Andy Miller (Sacramento Kings) and other noteworthy names from both traditional sports and esports
  • Riot introduced a franchising model for teams powered by  investments from mostly NBA team owners and the endemic gaming space
  • Intel Extreme Masters held its premiere tournament in Katowice, Poland with on-site attendance of 173,000 fans, making it the biggest live event in esports history
  • Blizzard opened a dedicated esports stadium called Blizzard Arena at the former studio of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson
  • The League of Legends World Championship reached 60 million unique viewers online, compared to 43 million in 2016

So where does the sport evolve from here and what does it mean for current and prospective sponsors and their partners? Our experience and alliance working with client partners Comcast and Activision Blizzard (and its Overwatch League) tell us the marketing opportunities within esports will only continue to accelerate and diversify. Here are four overarching trends we’ve identified for the next 12 months within this dynamic industry:

  1. Mainstream consumer awareness of esports will grow faster than predictedWith increased investments from celebrities, teams, and non-endemic brands, it’s not a surprise that esports is growing at an unprecedented rate. Nielsen reported in 2016 that 14% of Americans aged 13 and older are avid fans of esports. And according to industry research group Newzoo, 1.3 billion people worldwide are aware of esports. That leaves more than six billion people around the world who are not aware of esports. Talk about opportunity!The reason behind esports’ record growth and global awareness is because the industry continues to blend in seamlessly with traditional sports and our cultural fabric. As an example of esports and traditional sports culture colliding, Overwatch League aired an ad on ESPN during the 2017 ESPYs awards show (you can watch it here). In case you didn’t watch it live – you’ll see more esports awareness plays like that plugged into bigger cultural moments (football Sundays maybe? Super Bowl even?) where you won’t be able to miss it.
  2. Blue chip, non-endemic brands will continue investing in esports through sponsorshipsThis trend isn’t new to 2018 since it’s technically already happening. Companies like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Jack in the Box, Intel, Snickers, Coca-Cola and others are diving into the space,  innovating across an industry that has already generated  $1.5 billion in 2017 alone. At this rate, esports is projected to bring in $2.3 billion by 2022, according to statistics company SuperData.What we will see in 2018 is the accelerated pace of new brands entering the space and the sophistication and reach of these partnerships. No longer is the market so fragmented that brands can’t get a good read on their ROI. Stability and projected longevity from entities like Overwatch League and Riot’s League Championship Series will offer brands more visible, global, robust platforms from which to activate and leverage their sponsorships.
  3. More celebrities, pro athletes, and team owners will be involved in professional esports The massive growth of esports has not only caught the eyes of brands and team owners. The dizzying pace at which celebrities and pro athletes are investing in esports teams, leagues, tech companies, etc. will be an intriguing sidelight to the growing allure of esports. Just to rattle off a few names who entered the space in 2017:
    • Marshawn Lynch
    • Jennifer Lopez
    • Joe Montana
    • Shaquille O’Neal
    • Robert Kraft

      These investments are just another indication of the benefits esports has to offer. Smart investors who jump in early will ultimately reap the rewards of brand integration and awareness and increased revenue stream. This year, when the Kraft Group bought into the Overwatch League, Robert Kraft, chairman, and CEO of the Kraft Group, said this decision was made after careful and extensive research in the industry.
      “We have been exploring the esports market for a number of years and have been waiting for the right opportunity to enter,” said Kraft. “The incredible global success of Overwatch since its launch, coupled with the League’s meticulous focus on a structure and strategy that clearly represents the future of esports made this the obvious entry point for the Kraft Group.”

    Be prepared for many more global influencers to align with the sport. Remember, everyone wants to be first in line when something special rolls around and because this industry is still in its formative years, the opportunities to invest have a very high ceiling. For more on this, see the video above. 

4. Broadcast/streaming convergence as big media players battle for valuable media rights.

Are we moving to a premium viewing model in esports like some experts predict? The answer is not entirely – at least for now. But what will happen is more deals being made with significant streaming partners like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and, of course, Twitch. And when you look at the younger audience demographics, it’s easy to understand why esports has found a home on these platforms. In addition to online media, mainstream television networks will also jump in to grab a piece of this lucrative pie. In 2016, Turner made a bold move by investing in esports. This year, ESL announced a partnership with former Fox Sports chief  David Hill to launch “eSports by Hill” which will provide premium broadcast experiences to esports.

The esports industry is growing at an exponential rate year-over-year. Media rights, advertising, merchandise sales, sponsorship opportunities and revenue streams are all increasing by double digits each year  — and we see no end in sight. Taking the aforementioned four trends into account, marketers should not view esports as building toward a bubble.

With hundreds of millions of streaming hours viewed and revenue generated in this space, we can’t point to a reason why NOT to invest in an area with such a significant potential for marketers.

Source: https://www.holmesreport.com/agency-playbook/sponsored/article/the-explosive-growth-of-esports-trends-to-watch-in-2018

Alibaba $BABA betting on long-term gain from #Esports investment, bodes well for $GMBL $ATVI $TTWO $GAME $EPY.ca

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 10:16 AM on Thursday, November 30th, 2017

  • Chinese e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba believes it is only a matter of time before its bet on competitive video gaming comes up big
  • Alibaba’s sports arm Alisports was opened in 2015 with the aim of cashing in on the rapidly growing world of electronic sports, where players square off in lucrative video game tournaments that draw millions of viewers online

BARCELONA: The booming eSports industry may not yet attract the sponsors and television rights of real life sports, but Chinese e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba believes it is only a matter of time before its bet on competitive video gaming comes up big.

Alibaba’s sports arm Alisports was opened in 2015 with the aim of cashing in on the rapidly growing world of electronic sports, where players square off in lucrative video game tournaments that draw millions of viewers online.

“We are prepared to lose money. We can accept the losses now as we hope to promote this sport,” Alisports CEO Zhang Dazhong told AFP in an interview at the European final of the second edition of Alisports’ World Electronic Sports Games (WESG) in Barcelona, which wrapped up on Sunday (Nov 26).

“For a sport that has a lot of participation, it must have a bright future. Even if for now you don’t make a lot of money, in the future, you’ll definitely be rewarded. This is something we firmly believe in.”

In 2016, Alisports entered into an agreement with the International e-Sports Federation (IeSF) to create the WESG, a market-leading international tournament.

The first edition of the WESG saw 63,000 participants from 125 countries battle for a share of the US$5.5 million prize pot.

Yet the results weren’t so lucrative for Alisports, who lost 70 per cent of their investment.

“We estimate that we will be losing money for the next five years,” admitted Zhang.

LONG-TERM RETURNS

Alisports’ strategy, though, is a long-term one.

“We estimate that in five to ten years … the business model will be more complete. On top of the competitions, we have to bear in mind the electronics business and marketing related to eSports,” added Zhang.

Participation in eSports has soared as virtual games gain traction with a worldwide fan audience now estimated at 400 million people according to a study by Deloitte, more than that for baseball or American football’s National Football League.

The size of the eSports market will more than double to US$696 million this year from US$325 million in 2015, according to Deloitte’s study. It predicts the market will be worth US$1.5 billion in 2020.

But the market is fragmented, with different operators staging their own tournaments, and sales of television rights and merchandising remain weak.

An eSport fan brings only three euros to the table annually on average, according to a recent study by market research group Nielsen Sports, compared to 30 euros for a football fan.

Yet, Alibaba believes its position as the market leader in China, the worldwide powerhouse of eSports, ensures the return on eSports will be plentiful.

“In China we have 1.8 million eSport fanatics and 65 per cent of those are between 18 and 25,” continued Zhang.

“They play video games, but they also buy all sorts of products from Alibaba. We understand them very well.”

OLYMPIC DREAM?

The leap in popularity has helped fuel talk that professional gaming could become an Olympic discipline, but not everyone is convinced.

“I think we have to differentiate eSports and gaming in general,” Zhang said when he was asked about the controversy.

“Gaming of course isn’t a sport, but eSports involve high-level confrontation, teams, individual resistance, so I think it’s a sport. And I think that sport in general is evolving towards a combination of technology and physical activity.”

Zhang said he hopes eSports will be part of the 2024 Olympics in Paris or the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.

“It could happen, because at this year’s Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, we already gave a demonstration of games. In the Asian Games in Hangzhou in 2022, it’s already an official event,” he said.

The director of the Paris 2024 Olympics committee said earlier this month that the door to the Games was “not closed” to eSports.

Source: AFP/zl

Read more at http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/alibaba-betting-on-long-term-gain-from-esports-investment-9453652

Life in an #Esports gaming house with #Schlinks $GMBL $ATVI $TTWO $GAME $EPY.ca

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 11:34 AM on Monday, November 27th, 2017

It’s essentially every gamer’s wildest fantasy – living in a house full of other esports enthusiasts.

  • Essentially every gamer’s wildest fantasy: Living in a house full of other esports enthusiasts, where everyone understands that online games can’t be paused
  • But for esports pros, gaming house life is even more valuable than not being nagged to empty the dishwasher all the time – it allows teams to bond and gel on all-new levels.
27 November 2017 – 17:01 By Good Luck Have Fun

Image: Scott Peter Smith

It’s essentially every gamer’s wildest fantasy: Living in a house full of other esports enthusiasts, where everyone understands that online games can’t be paused. But for esports pros, gaming house life is even more valuable than not being nagged to empty the dishwasher all the time – it allows teams to bond and gel on all-new levels.

The concept of gaming houses is new to the South African esports scene, so naturally there’s a lot to be learned from the first MGO to do it, White Rabbit Gaming. We managed to get over our jealousy long enough to catch up with Nicholas ‘Schlinks’ Dammert about what it’s like to literally be living the dream.

“Since WRG were the first in the local scene to venture into the whole idea of gaming houses, I was really excited for this new adventure. Initially I thought it would be quite hard to adjust to the new living circumstances and the change of scenery (Capetonian for life). I expected most of my days to be quite repetitive and restricted, but nevertheless would enjoy the tough grind. “It turned out to be extremely liberating. Outside of team obligations (practices, tournaments) you’re in control of whatever you want to do. On off days you could go read a book, watch series or spend your time visiting new places and experiencing new things. Although it took some time to get used to, the gaming house started to feel like a second home and the change of scenery was hardly noticeable.”

SA gets its first house of gaming – yes, an actual house

In what many consider to be a significant step in local esport development, South Africa now has its own dedicated gaming house
Sport
2 months ago

A man after our own hearts – #capetown4lyf. We had to try hard to not make the rest of the interview about how great Cape Town is. Fortunately for you, our self control is excellent.

When gaming is such a massive part of your life, it must be, as Schlinks says, “extremely liberating” to be able to just focus on what you do best. It allows the players to dive right into the competitive side.

“The grind was really fun. When we’re motivated and every one of us are all playing tons of Dota, matching into each other (in solo queue) or against one another, there’s really high spirits in the team (special shoutout to Castaway’s mid Techies vs my offlane Dazzle in ranked). “Most importantly, every time we managed to achieve a good result against a notable team or placed high in online international tournaments we could all celebrate our achievements together.”

Instead of whooping and hollering over Discord or TeamSpeak, these guys get to walk right up to each other after an online win, high five, tap a few bums, hug it out in a manly fashion and crack a beer in appreciation – adopting the best elements of traditional team sports.

But when you’re living in a gaming house, are you allowed to do anything other than game, eat, sleep, repeat? Are you even allowed to eat and sleep?

“It all depends on whether Dota 2 is getting any local action. While us Dota players are fortunately able to practice on international servers with only minor drawbacks, it’s fairly difficult to maintain a hyper-competitive mindset all the time – it all depends on the competitive climate. “Basically, if there aren’t many international qualifiers or local tournaments being held, us WRG players take a more mellow approach and prefer to play solo queue or relax. But don’t be fooled – we practice a damn load and intensely when we are in that competitive mindset. “On a good day I would play for about 8 hours (practice/solo queue) – taking breaks to walk to the local convenience store and spending some time with the boys while we cook/eat dinner. On lazy days I would watch series all day and order take-out. “As surprising as it may seem, we do tend to go out a fair bit. I believe it’s important to get that little break from the surreal life of full-time gaming and enjoy the time we spend out of the house. We tend to usually walk to the shop around lunch time every day and some of the WRG guys go gymming every few days. Depending on the mood, we also spontaneously visit the casino and have some good nights out around Joburg. Good times.”

It all sounds too good to be true, but Schlinks assures us it was all very real. And yes, we’re nerdgasming over here too.

While there were obvious benefits, there were a few bugs that needed patching too, which is to be expected when you put five highly-competitive individuals in such close quarters for too long. But even those issues were resolved by the magic of the gaming house.

“The positives were very clear. Our performance in-game and communication improved significantly over the competitive Dota season (locally and internationally). The only negative I could point out is the clashes amongst players, but as of late these issues have been rectified via open communication between players and the support we offer one another. “You learn a lot about your teammates once you spend upwards of 75% of your time with them for months at a time. Thankfully we all get along really well and I have come to respect each of them. As time passes it’s typical that some personal issues or clashes ensue, but they’re generally very small-scale and we resolve them swiftly and maturely (while others in the team prefer to box it out – no kidding. Kicking too).”

Competition is tough for the South African Dota 2 circuit but international play is what will really improve your game, say gamers.
Image: Scott Peter Smith

For those of you who don’t stalk local esports players like we do, Schlinks moved back home to Cape Town a few weeks ago. Given the success of the whole experience, this left a couple of onlookers speculating about his future at WRG. But fear not, he ain’t goin’ nowhere. Except for, like, back to Joburg. Poor guy.

“As many people know, the Dota 2 competitive scene in South Africa has largely been on hold for the latter part of the year. Internationally however, the Dota 2 competitive scene has completely restructured and now works in qualifier ‘blocks’ (periods of which many qualifiers are held).

“Once these blocks were finished, I felt the majority of my days were lazy days. I figured I needed a break from the mild pressure of practicing and flew back home to Cape Town – where I am seriously contemplating my Dota 2 career for the upcoming year. However, the move back is only temporary and as soon as things spice up in the local Dota 2 scene I’ll be on the next flight back to the gaming house.”

The benefits of gaming houses are clear, with one of the top Dota players in the country vouching for their efficacy. But are they vital for team growth and progression?

“While they’re a great benefit to any team that would utilise them correctly, I don’t think they’re necessary for that next level.

“The current situation is that esports in SA has – for the most part – been circulating around itself with regards to playstyles, strategies and general competitiveness. The level of competitiveness in SA has been maximised and we need to look overseas in order to expand.

“Thus, for us to reach the next level of competitiveness we would need to have achieved reputable results in international events (‘putting SA on the map’) and in order to get good results teams need to be exposed to these international teams’ level of competitiveness.”

The gaming house life has certainly helped WRG improve as a team. They have the freedom to train as much as they like, their communication skills are getting almost as good as their Dota skills, and they’ve got the international results to show for it. So, while not vital to the scene, gaming houses do seem to play a part in getting us some international exposure.

We’ll leave you today with Schlinks’ answer to our ultimatum: Gaming house and no salary, or salary and no gaming house?

“I’d definitely choose both options – a luxurious gaming house as well as a hefty salary.”

Nope, that’s not how ultimatums work, bro.

“If I had to choose, my answer would be the salary. The reason being: While a gaming house helps in most aspects of gaming, I think the main objective of a gaming house can primarily be achieved by a bootcamp before a tournament. On the other hand, a salary changes the game entirely.

“If salaries were mainstream it would stabilise the competitive scene in many ways. More players would find themselves in an adequate financial state from gaming revenue. This will result in growth amongst the entire competitive scene as we see less players leaving the scene, more players entering the competitive sphere, fewer players jumping ship and switching to other teams and overall less emphasis on trying to place first at every event.

“The point of less pressure on placing first alone encourages practice amongst teams on a local scale and I think we will see the scene expand at a rapid rate – both in mentality about practicing (thus competitiveness) and the pure number growth.”

There you have it MGO owners. If you’re thinking about renting a house for your teams, rather consider putting that money towards stable salaries for the players. But if you’re feeling generous, get them a nice little house too. Preferably in Cape Town.

Source: https://www.timeslive.co.za/sport/2017-11-27-life-in-an-esport-gaming-house-with-schlinks/

What I learned visiting my first live #Esports tournament $GMBL $ATVI $TTWO $GAME $EPY.ca

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 9:36 AM on Monday, November 20th, 2017

  • The appeal of the live experience for most sports is obvious
  • For all the convenience of a televised game, it can’t compare to the sense of scale and 3D perspective you get actually seeing professional sports in person;
  • Watching plays develop and players perform nearly superhuman feats right in front of you.

Just watching on Twitch isn’t the same as being immersed in the crowd.

Kyle Orland – 11/19/2017, 10:00 AM

At this point, I don’t have much patience for the argument that eSports fans should stop watching other people play video games and just play those games themselves.

For one, it’s an argument that few people make about spectator sports like basketball and football, where the skill difference between a pro and a novice is roughly the same as in eSports. For another, the thrill of watching a competitor at the top of his or her game is entirely distinct (and better in some ways) from competing yourself.

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What I’ve never quite understood, though, is the concept of paying money for a ticket to watch a live eSports competition in-person.

The appeal of the live experience for most sports is obvious. For all the convenience of a televised game, it can’t compare to the sense of scale and 3D perspective you get actually seeing professional sports in person, watching plays develop and players perform nearly superhuman feats right in front of you.

None of that really applies in eSports, where you’re basically going to a large room to watch a big screen that has the exact same game content you could see at home on Twitch, down to the pixel. Watching the eSports competitors themselves as they sit like statues and become part of the machine during a match hardly seems worth the price of admission, either.

Yet plenty of people pay that admission. The League of Legends World Finals alone filled 80 to 90,000 seats in the Beijing National Stadium this year. What were these people seeing that I wasn’t?

To find out, I decided to check out the Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS) Season 4 world finals in nearby MGM National Harbor last weekend. What I quickly found out is that the point of being in a live eSports crowd is, to a large extent, just being part of the crowd.

Take a seat

Rocket League is by far my favorite eSport to watch as a spectator. While I can follow a high-level game of Hearthstone or Smash Bros. with the best of them, Rocket League‘s simple two-teams, two-goals format makes it incredibly simple for even a novice player to keep track of the action.

Watching a high-level Rocket League match, you get a real sense of the strategy and coordination necessary for the three-person teams to balance an offensive threat with the ability to rush back and knock a ball away on defense. And while pros make it look exceedingly simple to make precision passes and shots while rocketing at high speeds through the air, regular players know how hard it is to just make contact with a ball high above the arena.

I’ve only been a casual fan of the RLCS, checking out a few stray matches when my weekend schedule allows. Going into the finals weekend, I was at least peripherally aware of the stories surrounding competing teams like the robotically efficient Cloud 9 and the crowd-pleasing G2 eSports. I also knew that these hometown favorite North American teams were extreme underdogs to the European powerhouses like Method and Gale Force.

But it was something else to see a crowd of 3,000 react to those teams right in front of me, rather than just hearing their cheers through an ambient microphone via Twitch. In that National Harbor ballroom, the crowd itself practically became a participant in the competition, going crazy for the North American teams and icily silent for the European competition.

The competitors themselves almost faded into the background in this environment. Ghost Gaming player Zanejackey tried to get the crowd riled up at one point, standing and raising his arms above his head to get the noise pumping louder, but he received little to no notice for his efforts. While the crowd was treated to live webcam close-ups of the players at many points in the matches, the stony-faced videos may as well have been photographs.

What the crowd did react to was the action on those big projection screens. In tense overtime situations, the entire room swooned in crescendo with each shot and cried out in pain or glee with every close miss or solid goal. In quiet moments between matches, audience members might pick up a cheer of “Let’s go G2!” or try to get a wave going through the stands.

If I had been watching from my living room, I wouldn’t have heard the guy sitting behind me exclaim “it’s getting lit now, man!” after a big overtime goal. I wouldn’t have witnessed a neighbor literally jump up and slap his knee after a close crossbar miss.

I’m still not sure these kinds of moments are in and of themselves worth the significant money it costs to attend one of these events live. That said, I can now say I at least understand the potential appeal of sharing a dramatic eSports competition with a few thousands strangers.

Listing image by Kyle Orland

Source: https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2017/11/the-odd-appeal-of-watching-esports-live-and-in-person/

UltraPlay introduces #Esports betting currency eGold $GMBL #Blockchain #Blockstation

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 12:28 PM on Thursday, November 9th, 2017
  • UltraPlay has become the latest to introduce its own cryptocurrency to the esports space
  • This one, named eGold,
  • Focused on the esports betting market

Buff88, another UltraPlay creation in the form of a decentralized betting website, will be the first to integrate eGold. Built on the Ethereum blockchain, the hard cap for eGold will be 25,000 ETH. The current Ethereum value is fairly volatile, and as per the time of writing one ETH is worth around £248.00. The token sale for eGold is set to start on December 18th, 2017. Once the hard cap is reached or on February 28th, 2018, whichever comes first, the token sale will end.

Curious as to why the company decided to launch their own, and in what way it differs from the now numerous others out there, Mario Ovcharov, Chief Commercial Officer at UltraPlay told Esports Insider: “Over the years we have developed a wide range of betting solutions that help online gaming brands step into the iGaming world. Now, we want to offer another cutting-edge technology solution to the eSports community and the leading eSports gaming brands that are using our services.

“We are also strengthening our years of experience on the Blockchain technology starting two projects – eGold and Buff88. We are aiming to make eGold the first-choice cryptocurrency for eSports punters worldwide and Buff88 – a decentralized eSports betting platform. Those two disruptive solutions are going to contribute to the eSports ecosystem in general and advance the stage of online betting as we are used to experiencing it now.

“Blockchain technology has the potential to resolve many aspects of the gaming industry – enhance the player’s experience and advance the payment transactions. Besides technological aspect of things, we aim to unify the eSports community by offering an easy, quick and secure betting on the most favorite game titles. As a market leader on eSports betting with the widest coverage of competitive games right now, we are giving the diversity players love and expect from a gaming brand.”

We also asked whether the lack of regulation around esports betting and cryptocurrencies more widely is a cause for concern. We’ve seen a number emerge in recent times including UnikoinGold, Esports.com, Esports Gold, Skrilla and more. UltraPlay’s Ovcharov responded: “With the advanced technology Blockchain is offering, many traditional organizations from different industries have already started integrating Blockchain in their operations. The gambling industry is no different. Providers, operators, players have already started experiencing the positive changes Blockchain is bringing to the gaming world. Many new projects that are popping up have the ambition to bring something outstanding to the traditional online gambling.

“We actually were the first online gaming provider to adopt Bitcoin in the iGaming sector a few years ago and see that there is a great interest from players and operators. Regulations, in this case, follow the path on which the industry is built and proceed to grow. The blockchain is the synonym of decentralization. That doesn’t mean it has to be related with bad practices, on the contrary. It aims to offer better opportunities and environment for the users. On the other hand, gambling is a subject of regulations so that we have integrity and prevention of unregulated practices in the sector.”

Esports Insider says: We’re currently in the midst of a huge number of esports focused ICOs being announced. We’ll withhold our judgement until we know a little more, and rest assured we’ve plans to make a far fuller and more rigorous assessment of all of the main cryptocurrencies currently targeted at the esports space.  

Source: http://www.esportsinsider.com/2017/11/ultraplay-introduces-esports-betting-currency-egold/

Esports Entertainment Group $GMBL Launches Beta Test Of #VIE #Esports Wagering Platform, With Global Esports Enthusiasts Competing For Over $USD100,000 In Prizes

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 8:05 AM on Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

Esports large

  • Announced the beta test launch of VIE  (https://vie.gg)  the world’s safest, most secure and transparent esports wagering platform
  • Beta test will take the form of a global competition for esports enthusiasts with cash prizes and incentives totaling more than $USD100,000.   

ST. MARY’S, ANTIGUA, Nov. 08, 2017  — Esports Entertainment Group, Inc. (OTCQB:GMBL) (or the “Company”), a licensed online gambling company with a specific focus on esports wagering and 18+ gaming, is pleased to announce the beta test launch of VIE  (https://vie.gg)  the world’s safest, most secure and transparent esports wagering platform. The beta test will take the form of a global competition for esports enthusiasts with cash prizes and incentives totalling more than $USD100,000.

Highlights Of The Beta Competition Are As Follows:

  • The Beta Competition Will Last at least 2 Weeks
  • The Beta Is Open Only To 18+ Participants From Compliant Jurisdictions
  • Up To 2,000 Participants Will Receive 50 Euros Each In Their Respective Accounts
  • Participants Must Place A Minimum Of 10 Bets During The Competition
  • Participants Must Answer 2 Surveys During The Competition
  • Additional Cash Prizes Will Be Awarded To The Top 3 Winners As Follows
    • 1st Place – 1,000 Euros
    • 2nd Place – 500 Euros
    • 3Rd Place – 250 Euros
  • The Beta Competition Will Feature Wagering On The Following  Esports Games:
    • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CSGO)
    • Dota 2
    • Call of Duty
    • Hearthstone
    • StarCraft II
  • Full Terms and Conditions Are Available On VIE  (https://vie.gg)

Grant Johnson, CEO of Esports Entertainment Group stated “As a result of affiliate marketing developments that far exceed our expectations since July, we took the prudent step of delaying the launch of VIE to be better prepared for our new anticipated client base.  The launch of this beta competition signifies we are on the cusp of launching the most secure, transparent and regulated esports wagering platform in the world. I urge all of our esports enthusiast shareholders to participate in this beta competition.”

This press release is available on our Online Investor Relations Community for shareholders and potential shareholders to ask questions, receive answers and collaborate with management in a fully moderated forum at https://agoracom.com/ir/EsportsEntertainmentGroup

About Esports Entertainment Group

Esports Entertainment Group Inc. is a licensed online gambling company with a specific focus on esports wagering and 18+ gaming. Initially, Esports Entertainment intends to offer bet exchange style wagering on esports events in a licensed, regulated and secured platform to the global esports audience, excluding the US and EU. In addition, Esports Entertainment intends to offer users from around the world the ability to participate in multi-player mobile and PC video game tournaments for cash prizes. Esports Entertainment is led by a team of industry professionals and technical experts from the online gambling and the video game industries, and esports. The Company holds licenses to conduct online gambling and 18+ gaming on a global basis, excluding the US and EU, in Curacao, Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Kahnawake Gaming Commission in Canada. The Company maintains offices in Antigua. Esports Entertainment common stock is listed on the OTCQB under the symbol GMBL.  For more information visit www.esportsentertainmentgroup.com
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FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
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Contact:

Corporate Finance Inquiries
Stephen Cotugno
Vice President, Corporate Development
steve@esportsentertainmentgroup.com
201-220-5745

Investor Relations Inquiries
AGORACOM
ESPO@agoracom.com
http://agoracom.com/ir/eSportsEntertainmentGroup

The Unbelievable #LeagueOfLegends World Championship 2017 Grand Final Stadium Crowd #Worlds2017 $GMBL

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 12:57 PM on Monday, November 6th, 2017

The League of Legends World Championship 2017 was one of the biggest events in esports history.

  • League of Legends owes a significant part of its status as arguably the biggest esport in the world to China
  • Streams reportedly pull in millions of viewers for the biggest matches

While online viewership, production, and of course the games themselves, are always at the heart of what makes a great esports event, Riot’s World Championship has also produced some of the most epic live environments for matches in the industry. This year, the bar may well have been raised once again.

The 2017 League of Legends World Championship took a tour of China, playing its group stages in Wuhan, moving to Guangzhou for quarter-finals, Shanghai for the semi-finals before finally culminating in Beijing for the final showdown between SK Telecom T1 and Samsung Galaxy.

League of Legends owes a significant part of its status as arguably the biggest esport in the world to China, where streams reportedly pull in millions of viewers for the biggest matches. While some dispute the veracity of some of the numbers, which often come from sources that cannot be independently verified, the live crowds at the various stages certainly didn’t disappoint. Nothing quite compared, however, to the masses present for the grand final.

If there were concerns that the lack of a Chinese team in the finals might have impacted interest, there needn’t have been. The Beijing National Stadium was packed out, producing one of the most epic arenas for a showdown yet seen in esports.

The World Championship ultimately concluded with Samsung Galaxy dethroning Lee ‘Faker’ Sang-hyeok’s SK Telecom T1, sweeping them 3-0 to deny SKT a third consecutive win at the event.

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The #Esports Industry Is Booming — Can #Blockchain Supercharge It? #Blockstation $GMBL

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 10:11 AM on Wednesday, October 25th, 2017
  • Multi-player gaming is the king of esports and there is a belief that the blockchain can be a big benefit to its continued growth
  • video gaming industry is currently undergoing some major developments as big players are posting massive growth, with the likes of Activision BlizzardATVI +2.16%, Take-Two Interactive, and Electronic ArtsEA -0.15% (EA)

Darren Heitner , Contributor

I cover the intersection of sports and money. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

Multi-player gaming is the king of esports and there is a belief that the blockchain can be a big benefit to its continued growth. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

The video gaming industry is currently undergoing some major developments as big players are posting massive growth, with the likes of Activision BlizzardATVI +2.16%, Take-Two Interactive, and Electronic ArtsEA -0.15% (EA) posting year-to-date gains as of Oct. 13 of 70%, 112% and 51% respectively. The growth has been partly driven by the recent and upcoming releases of AAA game franchises.

Aside from big budget titles, the esports scene can be credited for much of the traction driving the industry forward. The idea of creating professional leagues out of popular multiplayer titles is catching on. Just this month, the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors announced their entry into esports. They join the New York Yankees among the North American sports franchises that are buying into the growing esports scene.

Established professional sports franchises, especially soccer franchises in Europe, have been involved and invested in esports for a while now thanks to the popularity of EA Sports’ massive FIFA franchise. The emergence of other esports leagues catering to multiplayer games such as Valve’s Dota 2, Riot’s League of Legends and Blizzards’s Overwatch are also encouraging more franchises to participate.

 

This fusion of traditional sports and esports creates huge potential to usher in a new level of events, sponsorship, merchandise sales and betting into video games.

What makes all of this even more exciting is the introduction of blockchain into gaming. The technology that drives cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin is now finding applications in the esports ecosystem.

There are several ways new blockchain ventures like Esports.com (a decentralized, blockchain-based esports community) or Network Units (a blockchain-controlled multiplayer infrastructure and integration that can turn any game into an esport) are bringing blockchain and esports together.

Ending Gamer Community Toxicity

The growth of a multiplayer game and its viability for esports depends heavily on the community. A key problem for most gaming communities is toxicity. Toxic communities are filled with members who behave negatively often characterized by abusing other members, exploiting the system and cheating. For instance, the Overwatch development team announced that it is working on measures to come down hard on toxicity after receiving complaints from its community.

Managing a multiplayer game community has its challenges. For developers, sustaining a game requires a stable infrastructure that has enough capacity to handle all transactions. It also needs transparent and fair ways to handle player conduct and reputation. As a decentralized and transparent technology, blockchain offers plenty of potential for such use.

“Gamers expect a fair match and a good challenge,” says Network Units CEO Dan Shirazi. “Sadly, most of them aren’t getting it. Cheating or broken matchmaking mechanics ruin entire gaming communities. Gamers become demotivated, stop spending on content and the full economic potential of the game is missed.”

Network Units is an online gaming platform with a built-in player reputation management. It provides decentralized and scalable computing resources to augment developers’ infrastructure and mechanisms to mitigate cheating, downtime, and costly maintenance that developers often face when using traditional means.

Network Units is also creating its own NU token cryptocurrency that will drive the economy of its decentralized multiplayer infrastructure. Using the platform, game developers can avail of resources to host their multiplayer games. Other users may contribute to the platform as service providers by renting out spare hardware and bandwidth. Players may also serve as active clients who can participate in the verification process and, by doing so, earn tokens which they then are able to use for in-game purchases.

Community Involvement and Professional Development

Gaming communities also rely on continued buzz to sustain player interest. This mainly comes from community generated content. YouTube has since been filled with gaming footage and commentaries revolving around popular multiplayer games. Streaming platform Twitch continues to experience monumental growth. In order to develop its user base, Twitch recently announced that the company is working on new tools for gamers to monetize their streams.

Esports.com is also working on its own blockchain-based platform to meet the various needs of esports enthusiasts. The platform aims to offer merchandise, licensed betting and esports education to its users. Its education arm, dubbed Esports University, seeks to encourage gamers to become esports professionals. Users are encouraged to create guides and video tutorials to help other gamers improve their skills.

To manage the platform, Esports.com will be using blockchain to power its Esports Reward Token (ERT). Contributors of high quality content will be rewarded with ERTs which may then be used to avail of the other services within the platform. Token holders will also be able to exchange their ERTs to fiat currencies of their choice.

“Blockchain and cryptocurrency allow the decentralization of the esports world. From content creation to participation we see many solutions emerging. One major factor behind this is that users can follow and see every transaction on the blockchain, which makes everything trustworthy and openly visible for anyone. This helps not only us, but the whole industry to become more professional and grow,” said Esports.com co-founder Benjamin Föckersperger.

Indeed, blockchain’s transparency could also help in restricting access to the betting functionality to prevent underage users and those with gambling problems from accessing these services.

Evolving the Ecosystem

This growing draw of esports is prompting developers to give focus to multiplayer gaming. There is much potential in games that eventually become the focus of esports leagues. The substantial market of gamers worldwide offers lucrative opportunities for established sports franchises and brands, and encourages their increased participation in esports.

For esports to succeed; however, the state of gaming communities must improve. Issues such as toxicity and low community involvement must be addressed. Fortunately, developments in technologies such as blockchain could be offering the necessary solutions to improve game services, curb toxicity and encourage participation through rewards. These new mechanisms should help the continued growth of esports.

Darren Heitner is the Founder of South Florida-based HEITNER LEGAL, P.L.L.C. and Sports Agent Blog. He authored the book, How to Play the Game: What Every Sports Attorney Needs to Know.

Follow @DarrenHeitner

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/darrenheitner/2017/10/24/the-esports-industry-is-booming-can-blockchain-supercharge-it/#1b710b917868

#Blockchain Technology Could Be A Game Changer In #Esports $GMBL #Blockstation

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 10:31 AM on Thursday, October 12th, 2017
Darren Heitner , Contributor
Eloplay

A diagram that seeks to explain the process of participating in an Eloplay Smart Tournament.

The esports industry is rapidly evolving, going from content consumed largely through streaming platforms such as Twitch to network-backed streaming service Hulu picking up four new esports series, gradually making the watching of esports even more mainstream. Meanwhile, the players themselves are gaining more options with regard to the currency that surrounds the competitions.

For instance, esports platform Eloplay, which has been in existence for more than eighteen months and provides a service that allows players to organize and participate in esports tournaments, is testing out a new form of currency for its users. It is an example of an esports-related entity involving itself in the blockchain and leveraging smart contracts technology to allow players and brands to organize esports tournaments of any scale, using Eloplay Tokens as the prize pool.

And much like other companies testing the blockchain waters, Eloplay is involving itself in what is called an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), allowing users to buy-in so that they can use the coins to organize tournaments, place advertisements or even sell tokens through its exchange. This all takes place on a decentralized platform that remains largely unregulated, for the time being. Although even that appears to be changing.

The Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) recently stated that ICOs will begin to be regulated as securities and that unregistered offerings may be subject to criminal punishment.

“Whether a particular investment transaction involves the offer or sale of a security – regardless of the terminology or technology used – will depend on the facts and circumstances, including the economic realities of the transaction,” stated the SEC in its press release on the matter.

“We seek to foster innovative and beneficial ways to raise capital, while ensuring – first and foremost – that investors and our markets are protected,” said SEC Chairman Jay Clayton.

Thus far, 90,000 individuals are registered to participate on the Eloplay esports platform and they have completed a total of roughly 3,500 tournaments. Eloplay’s desire is to convert existing participants into Eloplay Token purchasers through the ICO and to use that to generate further interest in using the platform.

Eloplay’s Token Sale begins October 16 and is scheduled to close November 15. Bonuses are offered to individuals who participate early in the process. The currency accepted is Ethereum, which is a widely utilized cryptocurrency.

Darren Heitner is the Founder of South Florida-based HEITNER LEGAL, P.L.L.C. and Sports Agent Blog. He authored the book, How to Play the Game: What Every Sports Attorney Needs to Know.

Follow @DarrenHeitner

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/darrenheitner/2017/10/11/blockchain-technology-could-be-a-game-changer-in-esports/#741e81b944c6