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The eSports Awards Winners 2019

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THE 2019 ESPORTS AWARDS WINNERS

Esports Stadium Arlington played host to this weekend’s 2019 Esports Awards. Hosted by Eefje “SJOKZ” Depoortere and “GOLDEN BOY” Alex Mendez, the awards saw some of the best in the industry be recognized for their talents and dedication over the past year. They were joined by Jess Brohard, Bil “Jump” Carter, Lottie Van Praag and “Hungrybox” Juan DeBiedma in sharing hosting duties.

The First Stateside Awards

This is the first time that the Esports Awards event takes place in the USA. The stadium was packed with esports personalities, streamers and journalists in tuxedos, apart from Sonicfox who wore his trademark costume. Thousands of viewers from 30 countries watched the live stream of the event on YouTube, Twitch, Mixer, and Twitter.

Mayor of Arlington, Jeff Williams, began the proceedings with a speech as a special guest of the event. He spoke of esports as a genuine sport and promised to promote it going forward. A video package was played showing senior citizens on television not agreeing to esports being a real sport or drawing spectators. This was followed up by the biggest esport moments of the year. 16-year-old Bugha winning the Fortnite World Cup, amongst other emotional moments proved those on TV wrong. He also presented the Streamer of the Year award to Dr. Disrespect.

The Industry Awards

Richard Lewis won Esports Journalist of the Year and had some harsh words of criticism for mainstream media. He named Kotaku and Polygon, talking about how little they know about esports. Lewis spoke of them creating hit pieces on a streamer each year, trying to cancel the streamer so they can get one of their cronies in to gatekeep the community. He also ridiculed how a certain journalist reported a CS:GO tournament as a Trump rally due to lack of fact-finding and sensationalist journalism. Lewis stressed his thanks for the journalists who are honest and truthful, and the ones trying to fact check and report the truth, condemning those who do not. This speech received the strongest reaction of the night, with most of the crowd giving him a standing ovation.

Fresh off of the 2019 World Championship, League of Legends won the Esports Game of the Year award. CS:GO came in second place, with Rainbow Six Siege taking third. HyperX won Esports Commercial Partner of the year, with Esports Coverage Website of the Year going to Dexerto. Intel took home the award for Hardware Provider of the Year. League of Legends publisher Riot Games also picked up an award as Esports Publisher of the Year. Loaded was given the award for Esports Supporting Agency of the Year.

Esports Pro Award Winners

Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf received two awards on the night. The winner of the Fortnite World Cup won PC Rookie of the Year and the PC Player of the Year. His mother joked that he could only access his enormous winnings from the world cup at the age of 30.

The Panels Choice award was given for the first time this year to Ryan Thompson. More good news for League of Legends fans released as the World Championship 2019 won the Esports Live Event of the Year award. GOLDEN BOY was awarded Esports Host of the Year. League of Legends team G2 Esports won Esports Team of the Year. Henry “Henry G” Greer won Esports Caster of the Year, Dominique “Sonicfox” Mclean took the Esports Console Player of the Year and Chris “Simp” Lehr won the Esports Console Rookie of the Year. Team Liquid added another award to their cabinet in the form of Esports Organization of the Year.

Community Awards

Finally, in the Community Awards, Jemima “LittleJem” Puckett picked up Esports Cosplay of the Year award and became the first person in history to receive the award. Dr. Disrespect won Streamer of the Year with Craig “Mini Lad” Thompson winning an award for Content Creator of the Year. Esports Personality of the Year went to Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag. Esports Photographer of the Year was awarded to Stephanie Lindgren and Esports Videographer of the Year went to Logan Dodson of 100 Thieves.

2019’s Esports Awards was a booming event for esports. All forms of esports culture came together to highlight the biggest figures of the year. As the industry continues to grow, more individuals and companies will be worthy of awards. The 2020 Esports Awards is bound to be even more impressive.

Gaming Around the World

Another crucial element for media-technology organizations to consider is that esports is a global phenomenon (the 2019 Newzoo article estimates that 57% of esports enthusiasts are in the Asia-Pacific region), and the way in which fans tune in reflects that.

Whereas football fans might have a favorite local club or cricket fans a regional rivalry, esports fans largely follow individual players. Geographic loyalty or team obsession is much less prevalent in this vertical, so, even if you live in Dubai, you could be dedicatedly following a gamer based in Tokyo (although organizations like Blizzard are trying to get fans invested in local teams through leagues like OWL). Compounding this, beneath the esports umbrella, there are enthusiasts who care about only one game out of the dozens that currently drive esports’ popularity.

Esports also serves the purpose of educating or engaging new gamers with the mechanics of games at which they might still be novices. Said EA Head of Broadcasting Joe Lynch, speaking on the NAB panel, “Going by all these stats that we’ve looked at, the vast majority of the people who are watching are watching to learn. … As broadcasters and storytellers, we have to spend a lot of time teaching. NFL football games don’t do that. … They’ll do a little to explain the basic rules so you can enjoy the game, but they’re not going to go into the minutiae. … Those are the things we have to do as storytellers, and that part is really different.”

What does all this mean for distribution? Well, on a basic level, the distribution net for esports is far wider than for any other type of sports. If I’m an Overwatch super fan, I’m going to tune into OWL competitions no matter where in the world they are, time difference be damned. And, if I can’t check out a tournament because that time difference is a factor, I’m going to want (or expect) that I can watch that tournament at a different time, at my convenience.

Esports Is Here To Stay

The bottom line is simple: esports isn’t going anywhere. In 2018 alone, the industry saw $4.5 billion in investment.

The market, as it stands, is experiencing immense growth and a heretofore undreamt-of level of legitimacy, and with that comes a trove of needs and opportunities that media-technology businesses should be paying extremely close attention to.

At-home production and global distribution are elemental to esports, and with that comes an incredible demand for solutions that can support the workflows and the omnichannel content push that defines the industry. This will continue to be a growth driver for media technology and, certainly, for Signiant, as we provide intelligent file-transfer solutions to the entire value chain, including the game developers themselves, the broadcasters, and online streaming services.

No matter what your niche is, it would be absolutely foolish to dismiss esports as a fad. In the past, pro gaming might have been seen as a temporary craze or a fringe hobby, but the past half decade has done wonders to disprove that assumption. Dubai even announced construction of the first esports-exclusive stadium in the Middle East.

The esports wave is sweeping the world, and media-technology organizations should be paying attention. When it comes to production and distribution, the chances are immense.

If you’re committed to innovation, you’ll go where the innovators are.

The Esports Phenomenon Brings New Challenges

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White Paper: The Esports Phenomenon Brings New Challenges and Opportunities in Media Tech

There are few current trends in media and entertainment as exciting and fast-growing as esports (an umbrella term encompassing competitive gaming across a number of distinct games). Growing out of the humble origins of arcade tournaments and online-game play-throughs, esports has experienced a meteoric rise recently, although tournaments have been broadcast by such channels as GIGA since the early 2000s.

Still, the growth that media organizations have witnessed in the past half decade has been immensely impressive. In 2018, Newzoo predicted that, by 2021, esports will become a bigger industry than traditional professional athletics, and the industry will see its first $100 million media-rights deal (an incredibly ambitious forecast). In a follow-up piece published in early 2019, it predicts an audience of 645 million viewers by 2022.

With this evolution comes a wealth of opportunities for organizations driving growth across media technology, especially those that better enable remote production and help facilitate fast, global multichannel distribution. This dynamic vertical combines the broadcasting opportunities of live sports coverage and entertainment with exciting differentiating factors that demand the aforementioned capabilities. If media-tech enterprises want to seize on this boom, understanding the unique nature of esports production and distribution is important: there are some different challenges and opportunities compared with traditional sports productions.

Esports’ Rise on the Leaderboard Explained

Although gaming tournaments have been around since the 1970s, esports as we know it bloomed in the 1990s, in the time of games such as DOOM, Unreal Tournament, and Starcraft. Still, the rate at which esports has gone from niche hobby to mainstream phenomenon in more recent years is impressive, to say the least.

In a 2013 PCWorld article, writer Andrew Groen argued that the state of professional PC gaming could be attributed to its massive “economic rise of Asia.” Although esports had looked like a dying industry in the early 2000s, he suggested that the availability of free PC gaming centers and the prominence of competitive PC gaming in countries like South Korea not only helped to rescue esports but to position it for the mass appeal it’s currently enjoying.

Today, pro gaming is a dynamic and lucrative business on nearly every continent and shows no signs of slowing down. With a wide range of games — such as League of Legends (LoL), DOTA 2, the aforementioned Overwatch, Counter-Strike, and Fortnite — competitive-gaming enthusiasts can easily find a challenge that suits their individual tastes.

With the introduction of streaming-community services like Twitch, professional-gaming competitions are as accessible as the largest sports events (for example, the 2017 LoL semifinals had a viewership of more than 80 million people), and major brands like Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, DHL, Coca-Cola, and Spotify have arranged sponsorship deals with global leagues like OWL, ESL One, or IEM. And Disney XD, ESPN, and ABC have teamed up with the leagues to form broadcast partnerships. Brands are beginning to recognize esports as one of the best ways to market to younger demographics, who might otherwise be harder to reach, and it’s likely that these sponsorships will only increase in prevalence.

Bringing Content to the Masses

Now that it’s clear that esports is a big deal and only getting bigger, it’s essential that media-technology businesses understand what this means for them: how they fit into the emerging puzzle.

Recently, VentureBeat published the transcript of its esports panel at the 2019 National Association of Broadcasting (NAB) convention. The wide-ranging conversation explored the nuances of broadcasting esports competitions and how they superficially resemble regular sports broadcasting while exhibiting some fundamental differences (more-complex technology, the integration of additional workflows such as social-media promotion, etc.) in the production needs.

Matt Edelman, chief commercial officer, Super League Gaming, suggests, “If you’re interested in esports [and] relatively new to esports, it will help if you think of esports as sports.”

Although this is definitely a helpful way to consider its current cultural import, from a production and broadcast standpoint, there are some crucial distinctions. Certainly, some of the same technology and production equipment is used, but we see critical differentiators in production workflows. Esports events are often much longer, so that logging and metadata become key for postproduction and social-media teams. Furthermore, we have to consider the in-game workflows and the different limitations coming from the observer itself.

Although traditional sports and other live events have started to adopt at-home, or centralized, production, esports seems to be pushing that model further and faster to reduce production costs and streamline global workflows. Additionally, at-home production makes central archiving easier, allows postproduction and social-media teams to stay at home, involves less opex, and ensures that employees don’t have to travel unnecessarily.

With this model, much of the editing, creation of graphics, and addition of audio effects is done predominantly at a home facility away from the venue. This means that every single one of these massive events requires solutions that can facilitate constant, complex workflows that depend on swift and secure file transfers to and from the venue in near real time over public and private IP networks.

Furthermore, we see much faster adoption of cloud-based workflows in the esports industry as well. That isn´t really a big surprise, when we consider that all the multiplayer games are living in the cloud already. With major publishers operating their own private WANs around the world, it´s just a natural step to shift more and more traditional broadcasting jobs into the cloud. A good example is Blizzard’s OWL production. Blizzard uses AWS Services to add localized graphics for different MRLs and regions and to transcode up to 37 individual video streams.

The ability of broadcasters to handle all these components and production conditions as quickly as possible is absolutely essential for, as VentureBeat notes, the battle for eyeballs, which is particularly hectic with esports. In addition, social-media relevance demands deployment of content ASAP. Even posting content five minutes late can make it less desirable.

Moreover, although a football or basketball game might be broadcast only on a single channel because of exclusive media-rights deals, esports events are often broadcast on multiple channels across multiple platforms without geo-blocking. Therefore, being able to move content quickly and create dynamic and attention-grabbing coverage under the real-time pressures of a given tournament is vital.

The final component that makes esports such fertile ground for media-technology businesses is the timeframe in which events take place. Since the debut of Twitch, gamers have been able to stream uninterrupted for days, and esports competitions can last an entire weekend or longer. Gaming fans are used to tuning in for extended periods, and, whereas a basketball game might just take up a solid three hours of someone’s afternoon, esports enthusiasts tune in and out or even watch for an entire day. This means broadcasters are constantly moving files over a long period of time, and they demand solutions that can handle such conditions.

Gaming Around the World

Another crucial element for media-technology organizations to consider is that esports is a global phenomenon (the 2019 Newzoo article estimates that 57% of esports enthusiasts are in the Asia-Pacific region), and the way in which fans tune in reflects that.

Whereas football fans might have a favorite local club or cricket fans a regional rivalry, esports fans largely follow individual players. Geographic loyalty or team obsession is much less prevalent in this vertical, so, even if you live in Dubai, you could be dedicatedly following a gamer based in Tokyo (although organizations like Blizzard are trying to get fans invested in local teams through leagues like OWL). Compounding this, beneath the esports umbrella, there are enthusiasts who care about only one game out of the dozens that currently drive esports’ popularity.

Esports also serves the purpose of educating or engaging new gamers with the mechanics of games at which they might still be novices. Said EA Head of Broadcasting Joe Lynch, speaking on the NAB panel, “Going by all these stats that we’ve looked at, the vast majority of the people who are watching are watching to learn. … As broadcasters and storytellers, we have to spend a lot of time teaching. NFL football games don’t do that. … They’ll do a little to explain the basic rules so you can enjoy the game, but they’re not going to go into the minutiae. … Those are the things we have to do as storytellers, and that part is really different.”

What does all this mean for distribution? Well, on a basic level, the distribution net for esports is far wider than for any other type of sports. If I’m an Overwatch super fan, I’m going to tune into OWL competitions no matter where in the world they are, time difference be damned. And, if I can’t check out a tournament because that time difference is a factor, I’m going to want (or expect) that I can watch that tournament at a different time, at my convenience.

Esports Is Here To Stay

The bottom line is simple: esports isn’t going anywhere. In 2018 alone, the industry saw $4.5 billion in investment.

The market, as it stands, is experiencing immense growth and a heretofore undreamt-of level of legitimacy, and with that comes a trove of needs and opportunities that media-technology businesses should be paying extremely close attention to.

At-home production and global distribution are elemental to esports, and with that comes an incredible demand for solutions that can support the workflows and the omnichannel content push that defines the industry. This will continue to be a growth driver for media technology and, certainly, for Signiant, as we provide intelligent file-transfer solutions to the entire value chain, including the game developers themselves, the broadcasters, and online streaming services.

No matter what your niche is, it would be absolutely foolish to dismiss esports as a fad. In the past, pro gaming might have been seen as a temporary craze or a fringe hobby, but the past half decade has done wonders to disprove that assumption. Dubai even announced construction of the first esports-exclusive stadium in the Middle East.

The esports wave is sweeping the world, and media-technology organizations should be paying attention. When it comes to production and distribution, the chances are immense.

If you’re committed to innovation, you’ll go where the innovators are.

A Snapshot Of Venture And Startup Activity In Esports

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A Snapshot Of Venture And Startup Activity In Esports

It’s now common knowledge that competitive gaming, better known as esports, is a real industry. Recent numbers underscore the fact.

A short time ago, the 2019 League of Legends world finals wrapped up in a Paris arena that had previously hosted Metallica and Ariana Grande. But the packed venue could hold a mere half percent of the four million max concurrent viewers that tuned in to the competition online. The biggest pieces of a multi-million dollar prize pool were up for grabs as FunPlus Phoenix, a Chinese team, walked 3-0 over G2 Esports, a European team.

The event was a good reminder that esports is not merely a digital phenomenon, but also a global events business. Holding that in mind, let’s quickly look at esports companies working to support players, tournaments, and the live-side of competitive gaming that have recently raised money. It’s been too long since we last checked in on esports companies and the investors who are powering their growth.

Quick Hits

We have a few rounds to go over, so let’s proceed in order of smallest to largest.

eFuse, a company that deals with the nitty-gritty corporate side of esports, raised a $1.4 million Seed round earlier this month. The money came from the Ohio Innovation Fund, an Ohio-based investing group. Unsurprisingly, eFuse is based in Ohio as well. According to its release, the company helps with esports “talent recruitment, traditional job placement, and the sourcing of sponsorship deals.”

Given that esports has been lauded more for its ability to attract attention more than the industry has been praised for its ability to generate revenue, companies like eFuse may have a key role to play in the market, provided that their ability to help groups come to sponsorship deals

Moving along, Mainline raised $6.8 million two weeks ago from Work America Capital, its second round. Crunchbase News reported at the time that “Mainline has developed a white-label tournament platform that specializes in hosting and helping brands ‘manage, monetize and market their esports programs.'” Again, I’d note that there is an emphasis on monetization.

But the biggest, recent esports-related round that caught our eye was Vindex’s $60 million raise from late October. Vindex, launched by Major League Gaming alums Sundance DiGiovanni and Mike Sepso, is what DiGiovanni called a “holding company” in a note to Crunchbase News. Inside its portfolio today are Next Generation Esports (focused on esports production), and Esports Engine (focused on esports operations).

The company will introduce “additional verticals” according to DiGiovanni in 2020. Notably, the founder said that Vindex is “profitable today and are focused on healthy sustainable business opportunities across all of our verticals,” while being focused on helping “partners extract as much value as possible from their esports activities.” In DiGiovanni’s view, value could constitute either revenue or “reach,” or, we presume, both.

The dollar amount that Vindex put together was notable, and that it’s also working to help esports professionalize and generate more revenue is also worth remembering; each of the newly-funded startups we looked at has at least one eye on making money, it seems. That’s good news for esports.

Ahead

There’s more on the horizon. Artist Capital Management put together a $100 million fund to invest in esports, VentureBeat reported. The new capital pool from ACM is dubbed the “Artists Esports Edge Fund.” Astute readers of Crunchbase News will recall that we covered a $35 million Series B investment raised by esports organization 100 Thieves back in July. Artist Capital Management led that round.

Capping this small roundup, esports has become so busy that there are new products like Juked.gg being built to help keep fans in the know.

And because it’s Friday, today Crunchbase News learned that there are a number of members of Congress who are ranked in competitive League of Legends. Obviously, it’s time for a Camp David LAN party.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias.

The eSports Ecosystem

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THE ESPORTS ECOSYSTEM: The key players and trends driving the red-hot, fast-growing esports space that's on track to surpass $1.5 billion by 2023

Esports and gaming have burst into the mainstream in recent years, transforming from a vibrant

niche to a central form of entertainment around the world. While esports may have once stood for a subset of sports culture, it has grown into a full industry in its own right.

That shift has been powered by championing from mainstream celebrities like Michael Jordan, Drake, and DJ Marshmello, an increasing amount of coverage from traditional outlets like ESPN, and, at least in part, the breakneck rise of Fortnite.

As competitive gaming cements itself in the popular culture, global investors, brands, media outlets, and consumers are all paying attention. Total esports viewership is expected to grow at a 9% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2019 and 2023, up from 454 million in 2019 to 646 million in 2023, per Business Insider Intelligence estimates. That puts the audience on pace to nearly double over a six-year period, as the 2017 audience stood at 335 million. 

The pop-culturization of esports has helped power the explosions in esports investment and revenue. Esports has hit this stratosphere in large part because of the social component of live streaming and gaming. Gaming-specific streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube Gaming give fans a direct connection to the players and teams, while more mainstream socials have allowed those connections to flourish. Certain esports organizations, like FaZe Clan, are also moving aggressively into areas like merchandise, lending their brands more notoriety than if they'd stuck to esports alone.

Rick Yang, partner at NEA — a venture capital firm that invests in esports — underscored this in a conversation with Business Insider Intelligence: "I actually think of esports as the mainstreaming of gaming, or the pop culture instantiation of gaming versus the pure idea of these players becoming professionals to compete at the highest levels." It's essential to think of the esports opportunity in this way — one inclusive of gaming, media, pop culture, and commerce — as it shines a light on opportunities beyond gaming events alone. 

As a result, the industry has seen a huge uptick in investment from venture capitalists, and more recently from private equity firms. The number of investments in esports doubled in 2018, going from 34 in 2017 to 68 in 2018, per Deloitte. That's reflected in the total dollars invested, too: Investments are up to $4.5 billion in 2018 from just $490 million the year before, a staggering YoY growth rate of 837%, per Deloitte. These investments are distributed to players across the ecosystem — from esports organizations, to tournament operators, to digital broadcasters — allowing it to function and grow. 

The net result is that esports has matured from its roots in arcade gaming to the complex digital ecosystem it is today, and in this report, Business Insider Intelligence will provide a comprehensive breakdown of the key players involved in the space. This report will provide a high-level overview of the industry to clarify how the many moving pieces of the esports ecosystem fit together. It will also break down how money flows into the ecosystem.

The ultimate goal of this report is to give readers a clear understanding of how the major players and components of esports function so that they can more readily take advantage of the many opportunities this dynamic ecosystem presents. 

The companies mentioned in this report are: Activision Blizzard, Alienware, Amazon, Apple, AT&T, BAMTech, BMW USA, Bud Light, Caffeine, Champion, Chinese Mobile, Cloud9, Coca-Cola, Comcast, Deloitte, Disney, Douyu, DreamHack, Electronic Arts, Epic Games, ESL, ESPN, Facebook, FaZe Clan, FIFA, G-Fuel, GamesBeat, Gen.G, Google, HBO, Honda, Huya, HyperX, Instagram, J!nx, KeSPA, Liquipedia, Madrinas Coffee, Manchester City, Marvel, Microsoft, Mixer, MLB, MLG, Monster Energy, NBA, NEA, NetEase, Newzoo, NFL, NHL, Nielsen, Nissan, NZXT, Old Spice, OnePlus, PandaTV, Pizza Hut, PlayVS, Postmates, Puma, PwC, Red Bull, Renegades, Riot Games, SAP, SK Telecom, Steam, StreamElements, Sunshine Soldiers, TDK, Team Liquid, Tencent, TJ Sports, Treyarch, Twitch, Twitter, Uber Eats, Ubisoft, Valve, Vivendi Games, YouTube, 1 UP Studios.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • Most projections put the esports ecosystem on track to surpass $1 billion in revenue for the first time this yearAnd revenue is expected to grow from here — Newzoo projects it to hit $1.8 billion by 2022. Money flows into esports through media rights, live event ticket sales, merchandise sales, and in-game purchases, but most of the revenue (69%) comes from sponsorships and advertising, per Newzoo figures cited by Statista.

That growing revenue comes from around the world:

  • Asia-Pacific (APAC), North America, and Europe are the top three esports markets, respectively, in terms of audience and revenue. APAC will account for over half (57%) of global esports viewership in 2019, up from 51% in 2017, per Newzoo. Meanwhile, North America is set to hit $300 million in esports revenue this year, while Europe is expected to reach $138 million, per PwC estimates.

 

  • The rest of the world only accounts for about 15% of total esports revenue, but it contains several regions to watch. One of the fastest-rising regions is Latin America, which is expected to hit $18 million in esports revenue in 2019 before skyrocketing to $42 million by 2023, per PwC

 

  • The future of esports will likely be powered by mobile, which will further reduce barriers to entry and allow even more gamers and fans to pour in. The mobile gaming segment is set to make up 45% of the total global games market this year. That popularity is already spilling over into some competitive spaces, as China already has a thriving mobile esports scene.

In full the report:

Clarifies what the esports space is, who the major players within the ecosystem are, and what roles they play.

Highlights the key demographics within the space, their interests, and what spaces are ripe for brands or other interested investors.

Breaks down how revenue is generated and what the key areas of future growth are.

Interested in getting the full report? Here's how to get access:

Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >>  Purchase & Download Now

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Current subscribers can read the report here.

 

 

New Jersey eSports Wagers

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New Jersey accepts first esports wagers

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) gave approval for the state’s licensed sportsbooks to accept wagers on the recent League of Legends World Championship finals.

The ruling marks the first time the Garden State saw wagers placed on esports, following suit from Nevada, which accepted its first esports bet on IEM Oakland in 2016 with bookmaker William Hill.

While the DGE had given sportsbooks the green light to accept wagers on the tournament, it  applied a few mandates. A limit of $1,000 (£776.25) in bets on the match and a strict prohibition of in-game offerings were instilled ahead of the preliminary trial. The New Jersey esports offering was made available for the weekend, and the weekend only, per the DGE’s permission.

The Borgata casino in Atlantic City accepted New Jersey’s first stake as a Philadelphia broadcaster placed $100 (£77.62) on G2Esports to take home the gold in the finals. Marcus Glover, President of Borgata spoke to the importance of DGE’s decision to welcome esports gambling: “Borgata is proud to be at the forefront of this significant milestone as we look to engage with future generations of esports fans as well as traditional sports fans.”

David Schwartz, Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas acknowledged the Garden State’s voyage moment: “I think in the short term, betting on esports has the potential to be a small growth area. There is definitely fan interest, but right now betting on sports outside of the big three — football, basketball, baseball — is pretty small in the U.S. So it would be a small share of a small share of the overall sports betting handle.”

Following the Supreme Court’s decision to repeal PASPA and allow for legalized sports betting (on a state by state basis) in May 2018, New Jersey has been the most explosive adopter of licensed gambling on sports – both live and online. According to the Associated Press, New Jersey gambling regulators “thoroughly investigated the tournament until they were satisfied as to its integrity before approving bets on it.”

Though a sea of unregulated bookmakers makes it difficult to pinpoint the exact value of esports’ betting handle, it’s speculated the industry is currently worth over $1.5 billion and experiencing a 30 percent average revenue increase year over year, according to Calvin Ayre

Esports Insider says: Although New Jersey’s permission to accept esports wagers is currently a one-off exemption, it could prove to garner more interest around the possibility of a full-time occupancy in the Garden State. 

Allied Esports Entertainment Reports

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Allied Esports Entertainment Reports Net Loss of $4.3M, 85 Events Held At HyperX Esports Arena Las Vegas

  • Allied Esports Entertainment reported a net loss of $4.3M USD in its first quarterly earnings since being formed in August.
  • The company generated $6M in Q3 2019 total net revenues, up 10.2% year-over-year (YoY) from $5.5M.
  • During the third quarter, Allied Esports held 85 events at its flagship venue, the HyperX Esports Arena Las Vegas.

Today, esports entertainment company Allied Esports Entertainment announced its financial results for Q3 2019 for the period ended Sept. 30. Allied Esports Entertainment was formed on Aug. 9, 2019, as a result of the completion of a business combination among Black Ridge Acquisition, Allied Esports InternationalWPT Enterprises, and other affiliates.

The company’s total net revenues in the third quarter of 2019 increased 10.2% to $6.0M from $5.5M in Q3 2018, reflecting growth from all strategic pillars (in-person, multiplatform content, and interactive).

Allied Esports Entertainment’s in-person revenues increased by 17%, to approximately $2.6M for the third quarter of 2019. The increase in in-person revenues was driven by the Allied Esports business, particularly revenue generated from Allied Esports’ flagship venue, the HyperX Esports Arena Las Vegas, at which the company held 85 events during the quarter.

The other two strategic pillars generated a combined $3.4M in revenues primarily attributable to WPT business. In total, the company reported a net loss of $4.3M, compared to a net loss of $6.7M in Q3 2018.

“In our first quarter as a public esports company, Allied Esports delivered solid results driven by continued execution of our operating model along with early benefits from our strategic alliances with Simon and TV Azteca,” said Frank Ng, Allied Esports Entertainment CEO, commenting on the Q3 results. “I am also pleased with the progress we are making in our partnership with our strategic investors, Simon and TV Azteca, as evidenced by the launch of the Simon Cup esports tournament as well as the premiere of WPT television programming and social gaming in Mexico across various distribution channels via TV Azteca.”

Furthermore, the HyperX Esports Trucks in North America and in Europe activated with sponsors such as HyperXLenovoIntelWarsteiner, and Acer, and were deployed at eight events, including Gamescom and Wacken Open Air.

Fortress Esports, the newest member of the Allied Esports Property Network covering Australia and New Zealand, announced the planned opening of its first location in 2020 at Australia’s largest shopping mall, Emporium, in Melbourne, Australia.

Allied Esports and TV Azteca produced two esports events out of Mexico City: Glory Road, a Smash Ultimate event, and Kombat to Glory, a Mortal Kombat event. The events were live-streamed across TV Azteca’s social and digital platforms.

British eSports Association Vision 2022

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British Esports Association outlines vision for next three years

Not-for-profit organisation British Esports Association has outlined its plans for the next three years in an online booklet.

The association aims to drive forward with three key strategies: increasing awareness of esports in the UK, improving the standard of UK esports, and inspiring future talent.

Andy Payne OBE, Chair of Advisory Board at British Esports Association commented on the booklet in a release: “This document aims to outline the next three years of British Esports, up to the end of 2022. What will we be doing, what have we learnt so far and how can we work better? What will success look like and how do we measure that? These are the questions we’ll aim to answer in this report.”

During its first three years, the association has developed the British Esports Championships for school and college students, launched its esports & physical sports crossover activity week with West Ham United Foundation and other partners, and launched a number of guides aimed at parents on its website.

The British Esports Association also announced plans for its Women in Esports campaign, aiming to raise awareness and improve inclusivity in esports.

Alice Leaman, Schools and Colleges Liaison Officer for British Esports Association discussed the campaign: “By celebrating and supporting women in esports we can help raise awareness of the accessibility and inclusivity of esports. Competitive videogaming is enjoyed by diverse audiences worldwide, and by learning about different women involved, and how many have overcome challenges, we can help support wider UK talent to get involved from the grassroots up.”  

Esports Insider says: The association has made some solid strides in its first three years. With plans in place for the next three years and new announcements already being made, things look promising moving forward.

Esports Gamers Face Pressure

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Esports gamers face same level of psychological pressure as pro-athletes

ESPORTS players competing in top-flight tournaments face the equivalent pressure and stress as professional athletes, researchers have revealed.

A study at the University of Chichester examined the psychological challenges encountered by elite esports professionals when competing in major contests, in what is the first investigation of its kind.

Researchers found that esports players faced 51 different stress factors -- including communication problems and concerns with competing in front of live audiences -- mirroring the mental conditions experienced by pro athletes including footballers and rugby stars in high-profile tournaments.

Study co-author Dr. Phil Birch, a senior lecturer in sport and exercise psychology at the University of Chichester, said: "Esports has become a multimillion-pound business attracting audiences worldwide, but there is little research into the psychological factors that influence players.

"We have discovered that gamers are exposed to significant stress when competing in top-flight contests. By isolating these stressors, we can help esports players develop effective coping strategies to deal with such stressors and optimise performance while playing at the highest level."

Poor communication between teammates was identified as a key stressor among players when exposed to pressured environments. To manage the situation, said the research team, players either became overly aggressive to one-another or attempted to avoid communication altogether, which negatively impacted their performance.

The investigation, published in the International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations, interviewed high-ranking players who compete in the increasingly-popular first-person shooter game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

Researchers also recommended that top esports players are given psychological training to learn practical coping techniques to help them more effectively prepare for the pressures of competing at elite levels.

Rob Black, the Chief Operating Officer at ESL, the world's leading esports company, said: "As an industry we've known for a long time that stressors on top level players can negatively affect their performance.

"This study proves this and reinforces what we have been saying for years. Further developments are needed in this area, and that will be key in ensuring the number of professional players continues to grow worldwide."

The study builds on the University of Chichester's academic expertise in esports and its newly-launched BA (Hons) esports degree, which examines the impact of gaming through scientific study.

Students on the three-year course learn in an immersive gaming environment at the University's new £35million Tech Park, which was recently opened by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and cover the physical and psychological impact of esports, including nutrition, coaching, and strategy.

Course leader Rams Singh, himself a former esports European champion, said: "esports is a developing area, but it is essential that it remains grounded in traditional academia to help us understand immersive gaming and its impact on mind and body.

"This study is important for the industry. We must understand how we can best support the health of our gamers and keep them performing at the top level -- just as any other professional athlete."

eSports G2 League Of Legends

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How to become one of the world's best professional gamers

(CNN)Luka "Perkz" Perkovic still remembers the first time he picked up a computer mouse and keyboard.

He was a toddler and had been watching his older brother enjoy the virtual world of video games before he finally got his turn.
"I thought it looked really cool," the 21-year-old told CNN Sport. "I didn't really know what to do."
From that moment, things changed for the Croatian who has gone on to become one of the best League of Legends (League) players in the world.
Now representing gaming powerhouse G2 Esports, Perkz is playing in the final of the lucrative Worlds 2019 -- a global tournament that sees the planet's best League teams come head to head.

'Next level addiction'

Perkz really became hooked during a spell off school after a period of health issues when he whiled away the hours gaming in his bedroom.
Little did he know that this new hobby would soon become his profession.
It wasn't an easy path though. As he spent more and more hours honing his skills online, his grades at high school began to suffer which began to concern his parents.
"I was waking up when my parents would go to sleep, to go play some more League. So they had no know idea that I was awake during the night," he laughed.
"You know, it really sounds like real next level addiction or something right?"
Even so a professional career playing never seemed doable with the esports boom seemingly so far away from his hometown in Croatia.
It wasn't until he spent a summer playing a challenger series that both he and his parents realized the Perkz's potential.
Having joined G2 Esports in 2015 he now travels the world and his talents have seen him acquire a social media following reaching into the hundreds of thousands.

'Always seen it as a job'

It's a route to the top that's not unfamiliar to Perkz's current teammate Rasmus "Caps" Winther who joined the team just last year.

For Caps, 19, the idea of a professional esports career was always in the back of his mind having grown up in a gaming mad family in Denmark.

His older brother was a professional Dota player which meant his parents were more sympathetic to his ambitions to make it in the competitive world of League, a game which he loved as soon as he picked it up.

"I think I've always seen it as a job," Caps told CNN Sport, from the Red Bull Gaming Sphere in London.

"Just because I've always aimed to be the best. I always knew that it takes."

Even before turning professional, Caps was having to sacrifice a lot at a young age to maintain his level.

Like Perkz, his grades began to suffer and Caps' free time outside of school was spent in front of a screen but all the hard work paid off as soon as he stepped on the big stage.

It was during a summer spent in Turkey where the Dane convinced both his parents and himself that this was where he belonged.

"It was kind of like a surreal experience. I still remember the feeling of making [the first] big play onstage," he reflected.

"You play so many League games [...] and then to play a game where you actually hear people clapping and you can see people at the back of the PC. It just feels different."

Online hate

Although both young men are enjoying life as a professional game, such a career hasn't been without its pitfalls.

Just as fledgling soccer players have to adapt to life in the limelight, esports stars must learn to cope with criticism from an often volatile online audience.

It's a lesson that Perkz learned the hard way after facing a tirade of online abuse as he began to make a name for himself.

Now adopting a slightly more considered online persona, there was a time when the 21-year-old was notoriously outspoken. He blames his "trolling" for the backlash he received after enduring a difficult run of form in his first year as a professional.

"It really backfired on me like really, really, hard, in ways that I think many people can't even begin to imagine," he said, saying the abuse had made him reconsider a career in esports.

"I was getting blamed by thousands and thousands of people. I couldn't even go on the internet because it would be such a mental devastation every time I would read a comment.

It's a reality that Caps has also come to accept but fortunately for the players at G2 Esports, they can seek advice from its charismatic owner Carlos "ocelote" Rodríguez who, as a former pro, has helped his young gamers adapt to life in the limelight.

Elite esports is very much a mental game and players are often encouraged to take time away from the screen to allow their minds to reboot.

For Perkz, music is the tonic he needs to switch off. Having followed in his sister's footsteps, he is a trained classical guitarist and is grateful to have a hobby so different from his career.

"It's kind of really changed me in a way," he added. "It's really relaxing for me to be able to have something [other] than League."

Eyes on Worlds

Both Caps and Perkz are now on the verge of doing something very special in the world of League of Legends.

The current team has won every tournament it's played in this year and is now the favorite to win the Worlds final on November 10 against Chinese team FunPlus Phoenix.

However, neither player is worried about the extra pressure that comes with the lofty expectations and both are aware they'll be the ones to beat.

"Yeah I can imagine, I think about it sometimes," Perkz said when asked whether he thinks about lifting that glittering trophy on Sunday.

"I think about it more of like a motivation to just keep going. Because seasons are long for me, every season is very long and very taxing."

UK Esports Partnership

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UK Esports Partnership Begins to Take Shape

NEW YORK (Nov. 12, 2019) — The University of Kentucky’s vision for developing an esports program is bigger than games and sport.

“The main motivation … is our belief, our fervent conviction, that games will really bring the entire world together … and it’s going to be led by the young people of our next generation,” said Chris Park, CEO of Gen.G sports, a global leader in esports. “Today is really a celebration of games. It’s a celebration of students.”

Park was referencing the first public event, held last week in New York, designed to showcase the recently announced partnership between UK and Gen.G, which manages esports teams around the globe from its offices in America and Asia.

Through the partnership, the idea is to create an innovative esports program — unlike any other in the country — that maximizes student success and the potential for career opportunities in what is now a global, multibillion-dollar industry. At the same time, UK officials, as part of a larger Smart Campus initiative, are looking for ways to use esports and other technologies to build a stronger and larger sense of community on campus.

In New York last week, the two partners held an event at Samsung 837, the company’s high-tech event space in the city’s Meatpacking District. The event featured a panel discussion, moderated by esports personality and UK alumna Erin Ashley Simon, in front of more than 200 people. Participants in the event also tried out some of the latest games and gaming hardware from Samsung.

Against a backdrop of a colorful blur of games playing on a theater style digital media board, the panel consisted of Christine Harper, UK’s associate provost for enrollment management, Park, and Wally Johnson, a UK civil engineering senior who is president of UK’s esports club.

While in New York, UK officials from Student and Academic LifeEnrollment Management and Information Technology Services also visited with startup companies at ERA, the city’s premier tech incubator and accelerator.

“We need to meet students where they are,” Harper said. “Who knows where the jobs of tomorrow are going to be?”

For example, Harper said UK is distinctively positioned to take advantage of an esports partnership in which a synergy can be created from the university’s more than 200 majors and an industry where jobs and careers are possible in areas such as computer science, business, media and marketing, among others. To that point, Simon cited the engagement of large media companies — like ESPN and The Washington Post — in esports.

“Events like today and this partnership can help create more opportunities for students to find avenues to get into,” Park said.

But panelists quickly noted that esports — and the partnership between UK and Gen.G — is not only about career development. Both UK and Gen.G want to explore how esports can help build community in all its dimensions — whether it helps create a sense of belonging or can contribute to wellness and well-being. Harper said one of the reasons, in fact, that UK ultimately chose Gen.G as a partner is their focus on wellness and well-being. Indeed, Park cited a recent partnership that Gen.G has implemented with LA Fitness that is about promoting and prioritizing fitness.

Within the next few weeks, UK officials are planning campus forums — and focus groups — with faculty, staff and students to discuss the challenges and opportunities associated with esports. In spring 2020, UK is working with Gen.G to plan an academic conference to discuss the issues associated with the growing industry and its involvement with universities. The potential exists for academic research into expanding opportunities in esports, but also challenges such as equity and diversity, repetitive motion injury and other concerns.

UK officials also will be working with faculty leaders for the appropriate review and approvals as ideas for academic programs and certificates are created.

For more about the esports initiative in New York, you can view this video: https://youtu.be/FH_kmG3U51E.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion three years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" two years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for four straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.