In a first for ESTNN, we’ve aggregated all of the esports business news from the past week so you can stay up to date on the other side of the industry. This week’s news ranges from Faker being a part owner in T1 to ESL establishing a new league format and partnerships.
NACE partners with Skillshot media
The North-American non-profit National Association of Collegiate Esports entered into a partnership with Skillshot Media on Thursday, February 20th. The collegiate esports association has nearly 200 member universities and will be enlisting Skillshot Media to assist in the production of competitions and events. Skillshot Media became independent from its owner, Hi-Rez Studios, in January of this year, a significant transition for the esports production giant.
Faker Extends COntract with T1 and becomes a shareholder
Three-time world champion and League of Legends superstar Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok extended his contract with T1 Entertainment & Sports on February 18th. The player previously had a contract that ran until November of 2021, but that has since been terminated as to offer an extended contract that gives him part ownership in the organization. The new deal runs until 2022, and it is stated that following his time playing, Faker will take on a leadership role within the organization. This is not uncommon, as Team Solo Mid’s Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg became a part-owner of the organization last October.
Goldman Sachs VP joins Bitkraft esports ventures as partner
Esports investor BITKRAFT Esports Ventures has acquired a new partner heading into 2020. Former Goldman Sachs VP Moritz Baier-Lentz will be moving from the globally recognized firm to a venture that focuses on providing support to esports organizations and event coordinators. As it stands his position will be focused on expanding BITKRAFT’s partnerships, investments, and portfolio companies. BITKRAFT Esports Ventures is one of the wold’s first and most and most active esports investment fund. Moritz on his new position stated: “I am looking forward to helping our extraordinary founders at the intersection of digital entertainment, gaming, and esports reach their “next level.” We aren’t just investors, but industry veterans and enthusiasts. Our team creates significant value on a global scale through early, candid partnerships and unparalleled domain expertise. The timing to join BITKRAFT could not be better. Through our portfolio companies, we are observing nascent technology, content, and business model innovations that leave no practical impediment to the creation of synthetic realities—an immersive convergence of physical and digital worlds that will push the frontiers of human experience, collaboration, and performance.”
ESL and Dreamhack partner with U.S. airforce and U.s. Navy
The United States military has taken a massive interest in the esports world in 2020 with the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army announcing partnership deals with ESL and Dreamhack respectively. Popular esports host organization ESL has signed a deal with the U.S. Air Force making them an official partner of the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) North America 2020, ESL Pro League Season 11, and advocacy group AnyKey. ESL North America also launched into a partnership with the U.S. Navy to have the installations at events such as DreamHack Anaheim and Dallas, along with product placements and advertisements during broadcasts. Navy and Air Force branding will slowly start being incorporated into ESL’s EPKs and press materials, similar to the Call of Duty League’s thorough partnership with the U.S. Army.
Supercell Partners with ESL for $1M Brawl Stars Championship
The mobile esports market has been expanding exponentially over the years and mobile developer Supercell has announced a partnership with ESL to bring the Brawl Stars Championship. Supercell is the developer of popular mobile game Brawl Stars which will be getting a world championship event with the $1M in prize money being committed by the developer. The press release also stated that up to $500k could be added to the prize pool through a crowd-funding effort via in-game purchases. Brawl Stars World Championship 2019 had a $250k prize pot, and this year it is looking to gain momentum in the mobile esports world.
esl establishes ‘Louvre agreement’ for CS:go Pro League
The Counter-Strike world will receive some much-needed stability this week with 13 teams joining ESL’s Pro League and Pro Tour. The agreement has been penned the ‘Louvre Agreement’ and is a step to ensure fair pay to players, equal opportunity for teams, and ethically produced CSGO esport events. The teams that have signed by ESL include Astralis, Complexity Gaming, ENCE, Evil Geniuses, FaZe Clan, Fnatic, G2 Esports, mousesports, Natus Vincere, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Team Liquid, Team Vitality, and 100 Thieves. The pitch for ESL’s Pro League and Pro Tour is that teams are stakeholders, making integral decisions to the structure of the league, how matches are played, and teams are ranked. Multiple leagues and series began popping up in 2019 and are beginning to make moves to solidify themselves in 2020. ESL has to maintain a foothold against FLASHPOINT and the BLAST Pro Series making their way into the scene, splitting viewership during peak days.
Tempo storm raises $3.3M For New business ventures
Esports and entertainment organization Tempo Storm made an announcement that they have successfully raised $3.3M in investment, thanks in majority to investor Galaxy Interactive. Tempo Storm is aiming at stepping into the interactive media and game design world with a new card game in the same vein as Hearthstone. The Bazaar is a digital card game that got announced in 2018 through an Indiegogo campaign that raised $115,00. Tempo Storm and Galaxy Interactive have big plans for the future of the organization and all that it can accomplish with their investment round coming away from a large success.
Chiefs Esports Club and Marvel Enter two-year partnership
Marvel Entertainment is no newcomer to the esports industry, and this week they have entered another partnership. The Australian and New Zealand esports organization, Chiefs Esports Club has entered into a two-year deal with Marvel that will see them incorporating their properties into live-events, and merchandising. Last year Marvel team up with the San Francisco Shock on promotional materials and Avengers-themed installations at their Homestand events. Marvel also partnered with Team Liquid last year, which included much of the same terms as their deal with the San Francisco Shock and now Chiefs Esports Club.
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