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Counter-Strike’s new esports framework

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Counter-Strike’s new esports framework allows for profit-sharing, transforms league

“ A partnership between the largest esports organization and leading Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams aims for long-term viability for its most viable players. Dubbed the “Louvre Agreement,” 13 CS:GO teams will have a share of revenues and profits from Pro Tour competitions held by the ESL, the world’s largest esports network and the oldest still in operation. The partnership also involves Dreamhack, which produces large-scale esports events and festivals.

This agreement also makes the 13 teams majority stakeholders in the league and will have a role in how it operates. The agreement transforms the ESL Pro League into a 24-team competition (starting on its 11th season in March) with a single global division, moving away from a region-based model. The additional 11 teams must qualify on the basis of their world ranking or through the Mountain Dew League, the ESL Pro League’s gateway series.

Victor Goossens, founder, and co-CEO of Team Liquid said the teams and ESL have been working to plan for sustainable careers and futures for the esport. “The new entity will utilize our combined strengths to pave the best path forward for everyone,” Goossens said in a prepared statement. “We consider this a monumental agreement and an important step forward for all of esports.”

The signed teams for the ESL Pro League are Astralis, Complexity, Evil Geniuses, ENCE, FaZe Clan, Fnatic, G2 Esports, Mousesports, Natus Vincere, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Team Liquid, Team Vitality, and 100 Thieves. 

The agreement means those partner teams are now majority stakeholders with a long-term slot for participation and will earn a share of revenues from all competitions in the ESL Pro Tour, including IEM Katowice and the ESL One Cologne. The ESL Pro Tour has a total prize pool of $5 million across 20 tournaments and leagues.

“The other remaining 11 slots will be open to teams qualifying on the basis of their world ranking or directly through the Mountain Dew League, the ESL Pro League’s gateway competition,” said Craig Levine, ESL’s chief strategy officer. “This creates the best of both worlds by allowing for stability as well as new and up-and-coming teams to qualify.”

The news of the reconfigured ESL Pro League comes on the heels of a newly announced Counter-Strike league called Flashpoint, operated by FACEIT and funded by a consortium of other esports organizations. Flashpoint’s organizers have said they want to bring more personality and flash to esports, citing the WWE as an inspiration.

Envy Gaming Hops Onboard Greyhound

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Nation’s largest bus service will partner with Dallas Fuel and Dallas Empire in 2020 season

 “ DALLASFeb. 6, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Envy Gaming, Inc., the Texas-based esports organization that owns the Dallas Fuel team in the Overwatch League and the Dallas Empire team in the Call of Duty League, announced a season long partnership with Greyhound, the largest provider of intercity bus transportation in North America. The partnership is the first foray into esports for the iconic transportation operator, which carries more than 16 million passengers to 2,400 destinations across North America each year.

Greyhound will provide exclusive intercity bus transportation onboard its modern fleet to Envy’s professional esports teams during the Overwatch League and Call of Duty League matches played in North Texas in 2020 and plans to launch the partnership with a gaming-themed fan lounge on a Greyhound bus at the Dallas Fuel Opening Weekend, February 8-9.

“When looking at the esports industry, we realized that our brands align in many ways: modernizing entertainment, utilizing new technologies, and delivering a product that’s accessible and convenient to the greatest number of people,” said Lourdes Brown, Director of Marketing at Greyhound. “We’re proud to be partnering with Envy Gaming and excited to provide fans across North America a better, more affordable travel option to see their favorite teams this season.”

Greyhound’s buses have free WiFi and onboard entertainment allowing passengers to stream movies and television shows or play games from their own devices. Passengers can travel in comfort with extra legroom, leather seats and convenient power outlets to stay connected.

“Partnering with Greyhound gives us a chance to work with not only a fellow category leader based in Dallas, but one of the most iconic and well-known brands in travel in all of the world,” said Geoff Moore, President and COO of Envy Gaming. “Greyhound gets it–delivering modern amenities to enhance the customer experience is parallel in so many ways to the esports events we are producing in North Texas that blend the best of sports and entertainment.”

Custom-wrapped Greyhound buses featuring team branding are expected to appear at North Texas arenas hosting esports events, and players for the Dallas Fuel, the Dallas Empire and Team Envy will appear in social media and video campaigns with Greyhound. Engine Shop consulted on terms of the partnership.

About Envy Gaming

Envy Gaming, Inc. is the owner and operator of popular esports franchise Team Envy, the Dallas Fuel team in the Overwatch League, and the Dallas Empire in the Call of Duty League. Founded as a professional Call of Duty team in 2007, owner Mike Rufail has grown the Dallas-based organization into one of the largest and most-winning esports groups in the world. Today, Envy Gaming competes, streams and produces content across multiple titles including Overwatch, Call of Duty, Apex Legends, CS:GO, Fortnite, and Super Smash Bros. Envy was named the 2016 Esports Team of the Year. For more information, visit Envy.gg.

Esports Team Owners Form New League

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Esports Team Owners Form New League With An Eye To UFC-Style Broadcasts

 “ Topline: A first-of-its-kind esports league is coming to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive with the launch of Flashpoint, a series that will be owned by the teams within it—much like the NBA and NFL— with live broadcasts modeled on the UFC and WWE.

Team owners will collectively pay $25 million to participate, a structure that the league hopes will differentiate it from existing publisher-run leagues.

Flashpoint will include 10 founding teams, including Cloud9 (valued by Forbes at $400 million), Immortals Gaming Club ($210 million) and Gen.G ($185 million), along with two outside clubs to be determined by open qualifiers starting February 6.

According to an interview in The Esports Observer, part of the pitch to teams, who may have to decide between different tournament series based on schedule, will be the style of the broadcast itself, which includes popular commentators like Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles and Auguste “Semmler” Massonnat.

Leading the more adult-oriented broadcasts as creative director is controversial esports commentator Duncan “Thorin” Shields, who in the past has been criticized for racist, xenophobic and ableist insults, and other such antics:

The motivation behind the league is to create more sustainability in order to attract longer-term investments, though CS: GO has faced difficulty in the past attracting and keeping sponsors given its terrorist-centric premise. 

Beginning in March, the series will be split between two seasons and played in a live studio, with its prize pool totaling $2 million.

Key Background: The idea of a team-owned esports league has been kicked around for years. Major publishers like Activision Blizzard require teams to buy into their exclusive leagues, like the reported $25 million to enter the new Call of Duty League. Valve, the studio behind CS: GO, takes a more off-hands approach, allowing organizers like ESL to schedule tournaments throughout the year. Flashpoint is promising higher revenue share in cutting out a third-party organizer, including the “highest revenue share in esports” to players.

What To Watch For: If Flashpoint can accomplish what it’s setting out to do. Margins in esports are tight or even non-existent as is, and with established tournament organizers already operating in the space like ESL and Turner Broadcasting’s ELEAGUE, it may be a tough play to attract brands with its UFC-style broadcasts. It’ll also be interesting to see if other top esports organizations like Team Liquid (a CS: GO powerhouse valued at an estimated $320 million) end up joining.

Further Reading: When it comes to esports earnings, right now it pays more to simply Livestream at home and nab individual sponsorships, as seen with the estimated $17 million earned by Fortnite streamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins.

Top esports games 2020

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Top esports games 2020: Which titles are the biggest in competitive gaming?

 “ Competitive gaming has been a popular pastime for decades, but the money and industry around the top esports games is a relatively recent development. Esports doesn’t mean some pals playing Mario Kart in a bedroom; esports is a multi-billion dollar industry that includes a plethora of titles in every genre, from shooters to simulators and everything in-between. In no particular order, here are the top esports games in 2020 based on a number of factors, including viewership, events, and overall success. 

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Eight years since the launch of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) and it has maintained its position as one of the top esports games in the world, with frequent updates to the game, a lucrative market in weapon skins and knives, and a flurry of events every year. Alongside ongoing leagues like the BLAST Premier and ESL Pro League, 2020 has plenty of top tier tournaments like IEM Katowice 2020, DreamHack Anaheim, and both ESL One events in Rio de Janeiro and Cologne respectively.

When it comes to viewership, the biggest tournament in 2019 for CS:GO was the IEM Katowice major, which accumulated 1.2 million views with a $1 million prize pool. This is another million in the total prize money awarded since 2013, which is currently at just over $91 million. The HLTV events page has all of the upcoming CS:GO esports action you can tune into or if you fancy competing yourself, jump in-game and play some ranked to test your mettle.

League of Legends

Perhaps the most famous esport in the world, League of Legends (LoL) is one of two Massive Online Battle Arenas (MOBAs) dominating the esports industry. It’s been almost 11 years since LoL launched, and the grand total prize money awarded is a whopping $73.5m across over 2,400 events. South Korea is by far the most popular and successful market for LoL, with eight of the top 10 earners hailing from the nation. In fact, only one player in the top 25 — Luka “PerkZ” Perkovic — comes from a country other than South Korea or China, showing the popularity and dominance of the two Asian countries within LoL.

When it comes to active players, a report from last year states that there’s around eight million concurrent active players in League every day, so while that’s less than Fortnite (which is available on almost every platform under the sun), it’s by far the most popular PC game. If you’re interested in watching some League of Legends esports, head on over to the official League of Legends esports schedule. Alternatively, you can play ranked in-game to see how you stack up.

Fortnite

Some will say Fortnite isn’t a proper esport due to Epic’s tendency to roll out changes right before big events and reluctance to maintain a healthy competitive metagame, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that over $80 million has been given out in rewards in just over two years. The game took the world by storm when it launched in September 2017 and while the buzz in the general media has died out, the esports scene is still thriving.

Last year saw the biggest Fortnite esports event ever; the Fortnite World Cup in New York City. Nothing has been confirmed yet for 2020 but everyone is expecting Epic Games to ramp up the stakes for the next World Cup. Thanks to the amount Epic gave out during 2019, Fortnite quickly surpassed most other esports titles to have the third all-time highest prize total, surpassed only by CS: GO and DotA 2.

How many people play Fortnite is a question plenty of people ask, and as of March 2019 – so almost a year ago – Fortnite had 250 million registered users. Ask any random person on the street and chances are they’ll have heard of Fortnite, even if they’re not able to tell you exactly what it’s about, which shows just how quickly Fortnite grew. The official Fortnite competitive page lists all the upcoming events and has everything you need to know or play some of the in-game tournaments to see if you’re good enough to compete yourself.

Dota 2

Dota 2 is the only direct competitor to League of Legends and it comes from Valve, the same studio behind CS:GO. While LoL is immensely popular in Asian regions, the top 25 earners in Dota 2 are spread across 16 different nations, including the U.S.A, China, France, and Romania.

When it comes to prize money, Dota 2 blows every other title out of the water thanks to the method of funding used. The International is the name of the annual event and in the build-up, fans can purchase what is known as the “Compendium” in-game which contains all sorts of content from new modes and consumables to cosmetics and challenges. 25% of all proceeds go towards The International prize pool, which meant that The International 2019 had a whopping $34.3m available, on top of the $200m+ that has been on offer over the years.

Despite having the largest prize pools, Dota 2 doesn’t shine a light on LoL’s player count. The average player count for the last few months is just under 400k according to SteamCharts, approximately 5% of what LoL allegedly gets. To tune in to any upcoming events, take a look at the Dota 2 Liquidpedia page. Fancy a wedge of that enormous prize pool yourself? Play some ranked and see if you can handle it.

Call of Duty

One of the only esports to be played on a console, the competitive Call of Duty scene is unique in the fact it moves on to a brand new title every year. Thanks to Call of Duty’s annual release schedule, players have to learn the ins and outs of a whole new game every October. Right now, we’re on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and just like Activision has been doing with Overwatch for the last few years, the COD League has moved to a franchise-based system.

This means there are 12 location-based teams across North America and Europe such as the London Royal Ravens, Los Angeles Guerillas, and Toronto Ultras. While previous years have had a few large scale events throughout the season, you can tune into live Call of Duty esports almost every two weeks as the 12 teams compete for a total of $6 million. Check out the full schedule on the official Call of Duty League page and take a look at our guide on how to watch the COD League.

When it comes to the Call of Duty player count, since it’s played across so many different platforms and Activision doesn’t release official numbers, there’s no way to know for certain. We do know however that the game has passed the $1 billion mark and that Call of Duty is still one of the most popular franchises in the world. At the time of writing, Modern Warfare doesn’t have a ranked queue in-game, but you can enter via the CDL Challengers open league.

Overwatch

Overwatch 2 may be on the horizon this year, but the first game is still succeeding as an esport and has been for a good few years now. The Overwatch League has a whopping 20 teams that compete over 26 weeks for their share of $5 million and now we’re into the third season, it means things should be fairly smooth sailing. Long gone are the days of the Shanghai Dragons losing 42 matches on the bounce because every team is more than capable of winning each match.

When it comes to Overwatch esports, South Korea and the U.S.A are the dominant countries, with 24 of the top 25 top earners hailing from either one (the only other player is from Sweden). Almost $22 million has been dished out so far and while the seasonal playoffs are the culmination of the top teams, the Overwatch World Cup is perhaps the most exciting tournament to watch as a fan so you can root for your country.

Coming up in the Overwatch League schedule are matches starting on February 8 running all the way until mid-August, followed by the World Cup later in the year. Although every platform has ranked play, Overwatch esports is only on PC. You can get stuck in by competing in the Overwatch Open Division once you’re confident enough in your abilities.

Honorable Mentions

Of course, these aren’t the only esports. There are hundreds of games played at a competitive level, including Farming Simulator – seriously. Titles that just missed out on a spot in the top list include both PUBG and Apex Legends, two successful battle royale games that are unfortunately living in the shadow of Fortnite. There’s also PUBG Mobile, which is impressive even more popular than its mainstream counterpart.

FIFA 20 deserves a mention too, as the most successful sports esport, with multiple tournaments throughout the year including the ePremier League in partnership with the actual Premier League. Then there’s Hearthstone, Blizzard’s Warcraft inspired card game; Rainbow Six Siege, a tactical shooter with countless events throughout the year; and Rocket League, a sports-driving hybrid that is one of the easiest esports to watch and understand. That’s not even mentioning the number of fighting games like Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Super Smash Bros, and the like.

If a video game can be played competitively online, there’s a big chance it has an esports scene, even if it’s not one of the biggest. Scour the web and you’ll undoubtedly find something for your favourite title.

 

Deloitte Esports Insider Analysis 2020

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Deloitte and Esports Insider teaming up on esports market analysis and support

 “ Esports Insider, Ltd. (ESI) and Deloitte Corporate Finance LLC (DCF) will team up in 2020 to provide their insights into investments in the esports industry.

At ESI New York on 27-28th April 2020, DCF will join a judging panel of The Clutch USA, which gives esports focused start-ups an opportunity to pitch to a panel of esports, and others, investors as well as the conference delegates in attendance. Later, DCF and ESI will jointly produce a series of articles analyzing esports investment trends, which will be released in 2020 through the ESI website and its quarterly print publication, The Esports Journal.

According to DCF analysis, investment activity across the esports industry – $4.5 billion (US) in 2018 alone – has been significant in recent years. According to the 2019 Esports Survey, conducted by Foley & Lardner LLP, growth is expected to continue in the ecosystem of companies supporting teams and fans across different subsectors.

 

“We’ve seen rising transaction activity in the esports sector for several years now. To do what we can to foster that market’s growth, we’ll collaborate with ESI on analyzing investment activity to date as well as key trends we’re seeing within it,” said Phil Colaco, Deloitte Global Corporate Finance leader and CEO, Deloitte Corporate Finance LLC.

Sam Cooke, Co-founder, and Managing Director, at Esports Insider, said of the collaboration: Esports investment is at an all-time high. Businesses and potential stakeholders need to understand the risks and rewards and it’s important they’re receiving information from trusted sources. We couldn’t have hoped for a better collaborator than DCF. We’re thrilled to be able to strengthen our start-up pitch competition, The Clutch at ESI New York, for companies in need of funding and/or mentorship.

 

Esports Exodus to YouTube Reshapes

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An Esports Exodus to YouTube Reshapes the Livestream Wars

“ The Call of Duty League, the Overwatch League, and Hearthstone Esports all call YouTube home now. That’s not great news for Twitch.

Today, YouTube announced that it will exclusively stream three behemoth esports leagues—the Call of Duty League, the Overwatch League, and Hearthstone Esports, all controlled by Activision Blizzard—that had lived primarily on the game streaming platform Twitch. News of the defections rattled the esports world, especially as it came mere hours before the Call of Duty League’s inaugural match.

Twitch had held exclusive Overwatch League streaming rights since 2018 when it signed a reported $90 million deal. YouTube’s partnership spans several years as well; Google Cloud will also host Activision Blizzard’s entire library of games. In an interview with WIRED, head of YouTube Gaming Ryan Wyatt said that Google, which owns YouTube, and Activision have been in talks over esports media rights since last year. “It’s a long time coming,” he said. (Wyatt himself used to be a commentator for competitive Call of Duty.)

It’s the latest in a series of high-profile YouTube gaming poaches. Over the past several months, YouTube has plucked Twitch mainstays like Jack “CouRage” Dunlop, who boasted an average of more than 9,000 live viewers per stream. Just last week, YouTube announced exclusive deals with three gaming giants, Rachell “Valkyrae” Hofstetter, Elliott “Muselk” Watkins, and Lannan “LazarBeam” Eacott. Nabbing Activision’s esports as well will be an enormous boon for the growing YouTube live gaming platform, which currently accounts for about 28 percent of live streamed hours, to Twitch’s 61 percent, according to stream platform analytics firm StreamElements. (At the end of the last season, Overwatch League games were averaging about 40,000 live viewers on Twitch, while top streamer Jaryd “Summit1g” Lazar might average about 28,000, according to Twitch data tracker SullyGnome.)

It’s our mission to deliver high-quality competitive entertainment that our fans can follow globally, live or on-demand, and to celebrate our players as the superstars that they are,” said Activision Blizzard Esports CEO Pete Vlastelica in a press release today. “This partnership will help us deliver on that promise at new levels, by combining our passionate communities of fans and players with YouTube’s powerful content platform and exciting history of supporting next-generation entertainment.

While Wyatt declined to comment on the financial terms of the deal, he does say he doesn’t believe the transition to YouTube will impact the leagues’ viewership. He cites the success of the 2019 League of Legends World Championships on YouTube, where, Wyatt says, the platform had more peak concurrent viewers than anywhere else. Wyatt adds that Call of Duty has always been hugely successful on the platform. “We have 200 million logged-in users watching gaming content every single day on YouTube,” says Wyatt.

StreamElements CEO Doron Nir agreed in a roundabout way: “Esports tournaments have two types of viewership: Live and VOD post-game. Since most of VOD happens on YouTube already, I expect the move to YouTube for live viewership will have no negative impact on the views. If YouTube promotes it properly, it might even get more viewership.”

Google also gets the benefit of hosting Activision Blizzard’s massive infrastructure on its cloud, a significant win as the company continues to try to both compete with Amazon Web Services and demonstrate its gaming chops after Google Stadia’s rocky start. The news caught participants in the Call of Duty Twitch chat by surprise. Several expressed shock and confusion; after viewers filed into YouTube’s Call of Duty League chat, fans spammed “L,” meaning “loss.” Twitch did not respond to WIRED’s request for comment by press time.

One widespread complaint—on top of having to navigate to another website—about YouTube’s streaming platform is that it’s not as developed as Twitch’s, especially as pertains to chat. Over the years, Twitch chat has cultivated its own culture, including its own particular memes, emotes, and chants. Inklings of it persist on YouTube, but the platform doesn’t have the history. Said one commenter on the competitive Call of Duty subreddit, echoing others, “Twitch chat was probably the funniest thing about watching CoD events, WTF 🙁 no more TriHard or PogChamps on insane clutches, that’s kinda lame ngl. As someone who doesn’t play CoD anymore, only a viewer, I really enjoyed the toxic aspect the twitch chat brought it made the stream more enjoyable.

Twitch also offered in-game skins and prizes for esports fans who integrated their online game presences with their Twitch accounts. Wyatt shared that, in the future, it’s “very much on our roadmap” for them to offer rewards for Call of Duty and Overwatch League viewers. As the Call of Duty League’s inaugural weekend kicks off, it remains to be seen whether YouTube will match Twitch’s viewership numbers. As the first game kicks off, about 70,000 viewers are watching live—a respectable number, at least for now.

 

 

Esports Is Finding a Huge Audience

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Esports Is Finding a Huge Audience. These Stocks Are the Best Plays.

Fans of the League of Legends computer game were packed around a jumbotron in a 20,000-seat arena in Paris in November to watch G2 Esports of Europe take on FunPlus Phoenix of China in the finals of a tournament that involved 24 teams from five continents.

FunPlus Phoenix swept the European favorites in three games. Online streams peaked at 44 million viewers watching simultaneously and averaged 21.8 million viewers per minute of the broadcast. In comparison, game seven of last year’s Stanley Cup Finals peaked at just 10.4 million viewers, averaging a total audience of 8.9 million. And that was the most-watched National Hockey League game on record, according to NBC Sports. (Total audience accounts for TV and online viewers.)

It isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison, given the difference between paid TV and free online streams around the world. But it illustrates the staggering number of eyeballs around the world—many teens and young adults—that are fixed on the incredibly popular world of esports, or competitive video gaming.

Big tech companies, including Amazon.com (ticker: AMZN), Microsoft (MSFT), and Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL), are competing for a bigger slice of the esports live-streaming business, which could present an opportunity for investors. Esports global revenue surpassed $1 billion in 2019, according to analytics company Newzoo, a figure that is still small compared with the $149 billion videogame industry. 

On Jan. 24, Activision Blizzard and Google announced a multi-year strategic relationship in which Google Cloud will be the provider for Activision Blizzard’s game hosting infrastructure and YouTube is its exclusive streaming partner worldwide, excluding China, for live broadcasts of esports leagues and events. 

Esports events—where the best players compete in games like League of Legends, Activision Blizzard’s (ATVI) Overwatch, and Valve’s Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive—are attracting young people, much the way traditional sports had for generations. 

Kids who might have been going to baseball games when they were younger are now watching the Overwatch League, or they’re watching League of Legends,” says Ryan Morrison, CEO of Evolved Talent, an agency that represents professional gamers and online entertainers. People like competition, whether you’re a jock or a nerd. This is letting everybody in the same school watch something that everyone understands and can go home and play and try to emulate.

Amazon has a play in such a future. It acquired the leading Western live-streaming site Twitch for about $842 million in 2014. Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter estimated that Twitch had $400 million in revenue in 2018, a number he thinks may have risen to about $250 million in one quarter alone in 2019. Amazon doesn’t break out Twitch revenue.

More than just a big platform for esports broadcasting, Twitch is home to thousands of live streamers who built audiences by playing games, singing songs, and chatting about their lives. Streamers make a living through donations and subscriptions, with Twitch taking a cut. Competitors like Alphabet’s YouTube Gaming, Microsoft’s Mixer, and Facebook (FB) Gaming are trying to catch up by signing Twitch’s top talent to exclusive deals.

Tyler Blevins, the streamer known as Ninja, shattered Twitch live-stream records broadcasting Fortnite and eventually joined Mixer. Excluding nongaming content, Mixer’s December market share of hours watched grew to 2.6% in 2019 from 2% in 2018. In the same period, Facebook Gaming’s share rose to 8.5% from 3.1%, while Twitch fell to 61% from 67.1%, according to data and analysis from Arsenal and Stream Elements. Hours watched is a measure of the volume of consumption, says Remer Rietkerk, Newzoo’s head of esports.

“They’re all picking up the crumbs,” Pachter says, referring to Twitch’s competitors. Morrison likened Twitch to television. “Kids turn on Twitch the way you or I would have turned on the TV when we were younger,” he says. “Ninja might have been their favorite show, but when their favorite show gets canceled, they don’t throw out their TV—they find another channel. That’s what they’re doing.” 

China, where Twitch is banned, makes up a huge chunk of the global esports audience. Chinese viewers watch games on sites like HUYA (HUYA) and DouYu (DOYU). Short-video platform Bilibili (BILI) paid 800 million yuan ($116.6 million) for three-year broadcast rights for League finals, according to state-run media. J.P. Morgan analyst Daniel Chen is bullish long term on HUYA, though he expects competition from Bilibili and others could hurt the bottom line in the next few months.

 

Pubg Esports Revenue Share Numbers

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Sources: The numbers behind PUBG’s esports revenue sharing in 2019

During the PUBG Global Invitational in July 2018, at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin, PUBG Corp. detailed a five-year esports plan for PUBG in front of the press. The road map for the next few years of PUBG esports begun with PGI, with huge changes to the entire ecosystem to follow. What came in 2019 were six regional leagues and three additional competitive regions, though – at least for the western teams – their leagues were plagued with issues. From delays to poor viewership, to organizations dropping like flies, it left a lot to be desired for all involved.

While we’ve seen in some areas that the league system was a failure, one aspect of the plan that stood to truly support organizations competing in PUBG was revenue sharing. To see just how effective this initiative was in PUBG Corp.’s inaugural esports season, Esports Insider spoke to team owners and other important figures behind the competing teams in Europe and North America.

FACEIT Global Summit

For the first international event of 2019, the PUBG Classic, FACEIT was tapped as host and organizer. To coincide with the FACEIT Global Summit, a collection of branded in-game items were available for purchase. 25 percent of the revenue generated by the sale of these items was to go to the teams in attendance. While Esports Insider can’t disclose the specific figures it has seen to protect sources, as per their requests, we can confirm that the revenue shares received were in the low thousands of dollars for the FACEIT Global Summit: PUBG Classic.

What followed throughout the season was a massive financial decline in revenue sharing for almost every western side. It’s worth noting that this was the first international event to take place in the season.

National PUBG League 

National PUBG League was a competition for North American sides, all of which had no revenue share for the first of three phases. Moving into Phase 2 of the NPL, a total of $21,498.01 was raised through a branded in-game jacket that cost $9.99. The organizer split 25 percent of the figure, $5,374.50, between the 16 teams in the league. This meant each team received $335.91 in revenue sharing for the entire second phase.

Phase 3 saw PUBG Corp. introduce an NPL-branded baseball bat into the game with the same 25 percent split for the teams. $2775.84 was to be distributed across the 16 sides, resulting in $173.49 each. Both figures that Esports Insider had received were later corroborated by Matt Dillon, CEO of Ghost Gaming on Twitter.

PUBG Europe League 

Around the time of the announcement that the National PUBG League would have its own in-game jacket for Phase 2, the same was said for PUBG Europe League. Multiple sources close to the league have informed Esports Insider that neither payments or financial breakdowns have been delivered to the organizations at the time of writing. In the third and final phase of the 2019 season, PUBG Europe League has its own branded bat that, again, would provide revenue sharing for the qualified teams. Unsurprisingly when you consider the delay from Phase 2, financial details for Phase 3 also haven’t been received at the time of writing.

PUBG Global Championship

The PUBG Global Championship was hailed as the biggest and best tournament of the PUBG calendar – the flagship event, some would say – and it looked like an improvement on the revenue sharing front. At the beginning of 2019, organizations were promised that in-game skins with their own branding would be implemented in time for this particular event. As later reported by Esports Insider, this initiative was canceled in an email to team owners and never announced explicitly to the public. PGC-branded items were utilized instead.

25 percent of the revenue from the items was to go to the prize pool and another 25 percent was to be distributed among teams, based on votes in the PGC Pick’Em Challenge event. The total prize pool is said to have reached $4 million – double the initial amount put forward by PUBG Corp. – which, in theory, means that a total of $8 million was raised by in-game sales and that $2 million would be distributed among the 32 teams in attendance.

The problem with the approach used is that not all teams would receive the same sum of money from the revenue generated, meaning it was obvious from the get-go that Asian teams would receive the lion’s share due to the sheer popularity of PUBG in the continent. Asia had four of the six regional leagues, with the likes of Latin America and Oceania not only receiving less support throughout the year but less support from the PGC revenue share initiative due to an inherent lack of popularity.

Operating under the assumption that PUBG Corp. accurately detailed the revenue that was generated and the number of fan votes that were submitted, the tweet below details how much money each team will receive from the revenue sharing alone

What’s next? 

Revenue sharing doesn’t seem to be receiving an upgrade of any sorts in 2020. In fact, it’d be incredibly difficult to do that considering there are no longer leagues – only international tournaments and qualifying events. PUBG Corp.’s 2020 esports plans detail the PUBG Global Series, a series of major events that are open to effectively any team. The plan is to have similar revenue-sharing initiatives to what was seen at the PUBG Global Championship; an expensive, not-particularly-attractive set of items with event-specific branding. While it’s unknown how PUBG esports will fare throughout the year, it’s clear that major changes were needed as organizations continue to drop out of the title.

 

 

 

China Leading Esports Boom

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China Leading Esports Boom

More than a quarter of Internet users in China watch esports at least once per month, a new report finds, more than double the rate of audiences in the U.S. and Western Europe.

China is leading the fast-growing market for Esports, where professional video game players compete in front of a live online audience. A report published Monday by research group Ampere Analysis finds that 26 percent of Chinese Internet users watch esports at least once per month, more than double the rate of audiences in the U.S. and Western Europe. One single esports tournament, The League of Legends 2018 World Championship, drew a concurrent audience of 203 million in China, Ampere found, compared with just 2 million for the rest of the world.

Among western countries, the Scandinavian nations lead the pack, with 9 percent of Danish Internet users and 8 percent of those in Sweden reporting watching esports on a monthly basis. Ampere points to investment by Sweden’s Modern Times Group, which owns several esports competitions and leagues, including ESL and DreamHack, as a prime reason for their popularity in the Nordic region.

Chinese Internet giants have also doubled down on esports. Tencent subsidiary Riot Games, for example, specifically built its Pro View streaming service to carry League of Legends tournaments. In China, esports events also benefit from their apolitical nature. Unlike imported films or TV series, esports streams are unlikely to be censored by Beijing.

Twitch remains the principal esports platform in the West, with some 65 percent of esports viewers in North America and western Europe using the platform every month, according to Ampere. YouTube is a distant second, with around 35 percent of Esport fans reporting using the Google-owned video platform over the past month.

The rise of esports viewing on a global scale presents a potentially lucrative opportunity for new and existing players,” says Ampere analyst Hazel Ford. “Platforms such as Twitch and YouTube are currently market leaders but face growing competition from a number of newcomers, including the developers themselves. As with the traditional sports world, exclusive rights deals will become crucial for platforms looking to control high growth esports audiences.

 

 

APPLE COULD HAVE ITS EYE ON THE ESPORTS MARKET

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Apple Could Have Its Eye On The Esports Market

The rapid speed of growth of the esports and gaming markets is such that no technology company appears able to ignore. There are rumours that Apple is planning a Mac PC targeted to esports, but without confirmation some are skeptical.

On December 23, the Economic Daily covered reports out of Taiwan suggesting that Apple is planning a gaming Mac with a price of around $5,000. If true, it would be Apple’s first gaming PC.

The reports suggest that Apple’s main assembly plant Quanta, chip makers TSMC, enclosure makers Hongzhun and Kecheng, and power supply manufacturers Delta and Lite-On, as well as its wire factory Liangwei will all benefit from the new machine targeted at a $1 billion and growing esports market.

The rumours may have emerged from Apple’s supply chain in Asia, and they suggest the gaming Mac could be a large screen all-in-one (AIO) machine or a large screen gaming laptop. But “details are not clear at this time.” It’s speculated that the esports focused Mac could be announced at Apple’s Global Developer Conference (WWDC) in June 2020.

Hanson suggests the Mac gaming ecosystem may simply not be ready for esports, few of the best PC titles run on macOS. Developers don’t tend to take the next step and produce versions for Mac. And, that with Nvidia dominating graphics cards and not having the greatest relationship with Apple it’s a relationship that Mac gamers could miss out on. Hanson also writes that the price, “doesn’t ring true,” the machine would have to be something “very powerful.

It’s potentially more likely that Apple could be making a lower value gaming device or one targeted at its new Apple Arcade customers.

Jason Snell, writing for Tom’s Guide speculates separately that Apple’s “surprise move,” for 2020 might be on the Mac side after years of speculation it would change processors.

Apple is certainly progressing its services arm though, with Apple Arcade and Apple TV. Whether Apple will flip back to an innovative new machine for 2020 is as yet unknown.

Amazon made a more definite, though small, play into esports recently, sponsoring a European university esports league.

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