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ESports are coming in BBC Three channel!

Live esports is coming to BBC Three

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Big announcement. We’re going to bring you four hours of live esports coverage every weekend for the next six weeks.

n the first deal of its kind for the BBC (we like to be first), we’ve signed up the Gfinity Elite League Series One.

It’s based around a new league featuring Street Fighter, Counter Strike and Rocket League.
So here’s everything you need to know...

What is it?

One hundred and sixty pro gamers duking it out every week in front of a baying West London crowd for fame and fortune (£225,000 of fortune to be exact). Each competitor wears the livery of one of eight established eSports organisations and specialises in one of three games, representing a rough cross-section of the current competitive gaming landscape: a shooter, a fighter and... well, Rocket League.
After 10 intense weeks of clutch AWP plays, critical arts, and satisfying 'doinks', an overall franchise winner will be crowned along with three individual game champions.

What are the games?

Each game is granted its own day of competition. Fridays, from 9pm, are for the hectic team-format Street Fighter V bouts, and Saturdays are set aside for the slower, tense burn of tactical shooter Counter Strike: Global Offensive – from 9-11pm.
On Sunday, everyone kicks back and watches flying rocket cars play football for an hour in Rocket League from 5pm. Each game exudes its own appeal - from Street Fighter’s characteristic adrenaline-fuelled, highly entertaining 'pop-offs' between players to the marathon of concentration required for a CS:GO victory.

You can watch and follow it all live on BBC Three or on BBC iPlayer.

Who’s involved?

The teams themselves are a mixed bag - plucky up-and-comers rubbing shoulders with established orgs such as Method, Endpoint and the delightfully named Team EnVyUs. All are required to draft, at least in part, from Elite’s feeder competition: Challenger Series.
Challenger is a recurring season of free online knockout competitions allowing anyone to rack up points in the hopes of catching the eye of one or more of the Elite teams. Do well and you might get drafted. Get drafted and you’ll be mixing it up with the big boys on the Elite stage in the following season.

Who should I watch out for?

We’re three weeks in and personalities are starting to bubble up.
Endpoint’s unbeaten Street Fighter prodigy, JeSTeR PoWeR, likes to walk out throwing roses, wearing the imposing mask of his main: Vega.
Infused’s Rocket League captain, Doomsee, has been melting hearts on stream and in-arena, by gurning at the camera, spending time with fans and just being a generally all-round nice dude.
Each game’s commentary team and series presenters are also top-notch and outspoken. Street Fighter pundit/renowned grime DJ, Logan Sama, joins the panel on Friday…6

How big is it?

Conceptually, the series is shooting for something that’s never been done before - a pathway from pubstar to superstar. All players are contracted, some have quit their jobs, others have moved into org-owned team houses, some were Challenger contenders a matter of months ago. This is the real deal.
For a literal representation of the ambition on show here, you need only take a look at the arena itself. It’s got a player’s tunnel. How many eSports competitions have a player’s tunnel?

Who’s winning?

Team Infused (11-year stalwarts of the UK scene) are looking very strong - their Rocket League squad have dominated and the Street Fighter guys only just took their first loss this weekend. It was extremely dramatic. Poor old Reason Gaming are lagging behind a little, but they do have one of the best beards in the competition on the chin of Street Fighter: Undacuva - so it’s not all bad news.
Still early days for the Series though and, with some spicy match-ups scheduled for the coming weeks, everything is subject to change.

Want to find out more? Here’s all you need to know about eSports-

Tune in to Gfinity Elite League Fridays from 8.45pm, Saturdays from 9pm and Sunday from 5pm on BBC Three's website or BBC iPlayer. Talk about it on social using #bbcesports.

bbc-co-uk/bbcthree/item/---c-4a11-847e-d08e77537132
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CSGO wrote:

ESports are coming in BBC Three channel!

Live esports is coming to BBC Three

embeded-image

Big announcement. We’re going to bring you four hours of live esports coverage every weekend for the next six weeks.

n the first deal of its kind for the BBC (we like to be first), we’ve signed up the Gfinity Elite League Series One.

It’s based around a new league featuring Street Fighter, Counter Strike and Rocket League.
So here’s everything you need to know...

What is it?

One hundred and sixty pro gamers duking it out every week in front of a baying West London crowd for fame and fortune (£225,000 of fortune to be exact). Each competitor wears the livery of one of eight established eSports organisations and specialises in one of three games, representing a rough cross-section of the current competitive gaming landscape: a shooter, a fighter and... well, Rocket League.
After 10 intense weeks of clutch AWP plays, critical arts, and satisfying 'doinks', an overall franchise winner will be crowned along with three individual game champions.

What are the games?

Each game is granted its own day of competition. Fridays, from 9pm, are for the hectic team-format Street Fighter V bouts, and Saturdays are set aside for the slower, tense burn of tactical shooter Counter Strike: Global Offensive – from 9-11pm.
On Sunday, everyone kicks back and watches flying rocket cars play football for an hour in Rocket League from 5pm. Each game exudes its own appeal - from Street Fighter’s characteristic adrenaline-fuelled, highly entertaining 'pop-offs' between players to the marathon of concentration required for a CS:GO victory.

You can watch and follow it all live on BBC Three or on BBC iPlayer.

Who’s involved?

The teams themselves are a mixed bag - plucky up-and-comers rubbing shoulders with established orgs such as Method, Endpoint and the delightfully named Team EnVyUs. All are required to draft, at least in part, from Elite’s feeder competition: Challenger Series.
Challenger is a recurring season of free online knockout competitions allowing anyone to rack up points in the hopes of catching the eye of one or more of the Elite teams. Do well and you might get drafted. Get drafted and you’ll be mixing it up with the big boys on the Elite stage in the following season.

Who should I watch out for?

We’re three weeks in and personalities are starting to bubble up.
Endpoint’s unbeaten Street Fighter prodigy, JeSTeR PoWeR, likes to walk out throwing roses, wearing the imposing mask of his main: Vega.
Infused’s Rocket League captain, Doomsee, has been melting hearts on stream and in-arena, by gurning at the camera, spending time with fans and just being a generally all-round nice dude.
Each game’s commentary team and series presenters are also top-notch and outspoken. Street Fighter pundit/renowned grime DJ, Logan Sama, joins the panel on Friday…6

How big is it?

Conceptually, the series is shooting for something that’s never been done before - a pathway from pubstar to superstar. All players are contracted, some have quit their jobs, others have moved into org-owned team houses, some were Challenger contenders a matter of months ago. This is the real deal.
For a literal representation of the ambition on show here, you need only take a look at the arena itself. It’s got a player’s tunnel. How many eSports competitions have a player’s tunnel?

Who’s winning?

Team Infused (11-year stalwarts of the UK scene) are looking very strong - their Rocket League squad have dominated and the Street Fighter guys only just took their first loss this weekend. It was extremely dramatic. Poor old Reason Gaming are lagging behind a little, but they do have one of the best beards in the competition on the chin of Street Fighter: Undacuva - so it’s not all bad news.
Still early days for the Series though and, with some spicy match-ups scheduled for the coming weeks, everything is subject to change.

Want to find out more? Here’s all you need to know about eSports-

Tune in to Gfinity Elite League Fridays from 8.45pm, Saturdays from 9pm and Sunday from 5pm on BBC Three's website or BBC iPlayer. Talk about it on social using #bbcesports.

bbc-co-uk/bbcthree/item/---c-4a11-847e-d08e77537132

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Esports meets mainstream: Disney World's interest in esports opens the door to the esports tourism industry

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Disney is interested in esports. We've actually known that for a while, between ESPN's continued efforts in broadcasting professional Street Fighter and the recent moves from Disney XD into esports-related content, but a recent report from Forbes indicates that Disney is interested in esports beyond just broadcasting. It's interested in bringing esports to Disney World.

According to Forbes' Christian Sylt, Disney is considering using a new venue they're building at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex at Walt Disney World in Florida to host esports tournaments. Disney traditionally uses the complex to host youth sports events, with an aim towards increasing tourism to their parks. The idea is that if your kid plays in a soccer tournament at Disney World, you're likely to stay at the park for a few extra days and make a vacation of it.

What's interesting about this isn't so much that Disney World is building a venue that could be used for esports events, because to be perfectly honest, there aren't a lot of large, modern buildings that couldn't be used for an esports event in some capacity. What's interesting is that Disney effectively sees esports as something they can utilize to increase the amount of people attending their parks — they see esports as a tourist attraction, essentially.

There are two angles to this. One, Disney could believe that enough young people are invested in esports as an activity they take part in that hosting youth esports tournaments, maybe at a high school or collegiate level, would bring those kids and their families to the park. Alternatively, Disney could feel that those same tournaments could attract enough spectators that would want to stay in the park before and after the tournament. Either way, esports are bringing people to the park.

"We are trying to keep up with what sports are breaking and how we can be involved in them," Faron Kelley, Vice President of Sports at Disney World told Forbes. "Esports is a big one we are looking at and are very excited about it."

Semi-dedicated, physical spaces for esports as tourist attractions is a fascinating potential future for esports, and one it could share with virtual reality. VR is cumbersome, expensive, and demands both a high-end computer and a lot of space, which makes it perfect for VR arcades, which charge a fee for timed access to VR rooms. VR in general has yet to take off in a huge way, but VR arcades have been cropping up around major metropolitan cities in the West, where arcades have been dead for years, to fill demand for what is projected by some to become a $45 billion industry in eight years.

Similarly, people seem to want to attend esports events when they can. Major tournaments have strong attendance numbers: ESL claims that ESL One Cologne 2017 had 15,000 attendees, Evo recently said that they had 12,000 attendees this year and in 2016, Riot claimed that the Worlds Grand Finals sold out the 18,188 seat Staples Center. The core difference between the two industries is that people don't really have consistent access to esports events the way they could in a geo-located future.

The goal of the Overwatch League is to eventually have teams host home games in their home cities, which is an unproven model for esports. In the meantime, events like ESL Ones, Dreamhacks and even Evo serve as the basis of what is essentially esports tourism, and it looks like Disney wants at least somewhat in on that. People can't go to esports events locally very often, and there's a clear market for people who want to go to those kinds of events, based on the numbers mentioned earlier.

Now, before we go crazy on this, I'd like to couch this all by making it clear that Kelley said that Disney World is "looking at" esports. They haven't confirmed anything, they're just going to have a large venue that could be used for esports and they might be interested in it. While Disney's TV properties have started airing more esports programs, that doesn't necessarily mean that Disney's parks are suddenly jumping on board the esports train as well. They're very different parts of the same company, and much of this is speculation.

However, Disney's mild interest in the space as a part of Disney World speaks to the strength of esports as a tourism-driving industry. It shows that larger companies are looking at esports as way to drive esports dollars into theme parks and cities. It follows in the steps of Events D.C. partnering with NRG Esports earlier this year, and it's a good marker of the growth of the industry.

Grade: B- — No one is saying that Disney is suddenly going to open a "It's An Esports World After All" ride, but Kelley's statement that Disney is looking at esports is proof that these non-endemic brands are interested in esports beyond just selling a one-off product. Esports as part of the tourism industry is a very interesting and unexplored avenue, and while it has the potential to backfire if geolocated esports really takes off, it's a very interesting possible future for our scene.

thescoreesports-com/news---esports-tourism-industry
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FC Barcelona midfielder invests in G2 Esports

G2 Esports has today announced a funding round with a diverse group of investors who bring with them a wealth of experience from the entertainment, financial, and traditional sport sectors.

The most prominent of the investors is without a doubt FC Barcelona midfielder André Gomes. Others include Eric Mindich’s Everblue Management, MACRO Ventures, and Marc Lemann of Go4It, among others. This initial growth capital will be used ‘to enhance G2 Esports’ talent infrastructure as well strengthen their content and brand initiatives’.

Whilst not a household name like Gomes, Mindich is well versed in the business world. He became the youngest partner in the history of Goldman Sachs at the age of 27, and later founded Eton Park Capital Management, a global investment firm that had peak assets under management of $14 billion.

Despite only being founded in 2013 G2 Esports has grown fast and is now a well known, respected and recognised international org. Former League player Carlos ‘ocelote’ Rodriguez founded the team which now has rosters in League of Legends, CS:GO, Rocket League, Hearthstone, Vainglory and Super Smash Bros.

Portuguese midfielder André Gomes had this to say: “In this increasingly digital world, I see tremendous potential in esports. Carlos’s vast experience as a successful player, entertainer and successful team owner combined with G2’s impressive track record makes this investment a perfect fit. Esports is the next generation of sports and League of Legends is its cornerstone. I couldn’t be more thrilled to invest in and partner with G2 Esports.”

“With this group, we are confident that we can continue on our growth path, build world-class teams and create cutting-edge content. G2 is thrilled to bring partners on board that are both passionate about esports and committed to our global growth,” commented Carlos “ocelote” Rodriguez.

G2 has also started working with Inner Circle Sports LLC, the global sports & media investment bank, who has taken on the role of the team’s strategic advisor.

Esports Insider says: Whilst no details of amounts have been disclosed, this is another big team gaining investment from a number of sources including the financial sector. The investment by Gomes is particularly fascinating and we wonder whether it was former teammate Neymar, who’s reportedly keen in buying a League team, who peaked his interest or perhaps Pique who has his own esports project. The esports interest is strong in the FC Barca camp.

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NiP to receive “double-digit” million investment

Esports organisaton Ninjas in Pyjamas (“NiP”) is set to receive investment in the millions from Felix Granander according to an Esports Observer report.

Hachim Chahine, NiP
The deal was put together by Swedish talent agency Orlando John, who work closely with a plethora of Swedish esports stars across both Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The talent agencies roster includes the likes of Dota’s Jonathan “Loda” Berg, Ninjas in Pyjamas Counter-Strike roster and Fnatic’s Martin “Rekkles” Larsson.

Although the figure is unconfirmed, the TEO report suggests it will lie in the “double digit” million range and will see Granander purchase a 15 percent stake in the organisation. Granander and his relations are no stranger to esports. Jan Stenbeck, Granander’s late father had a notable stake in MTG who acquired ESL and later DreamHack. The investment will see Granander become the fourth largest capital owner in NiP, behind Emil “HeatoN” Christensen, Nyx Ventures and Diglife.

Hicham Chahine, CEO of Ninjas in Pyjamas told TEO: “We’re not in a position where we require capital, so it’s more what comes next for us in terms of global expansion. With this investor coming along, ahead of time, we found it was a good opportunity to get him on board, but we’re still in the plan of continuing the process that we already started on.”

Esports Insider says: Big investment coming in for yet another esports organisation. The difference here is that NiP do not have an OWL slot and only operate in a few titles, whereas the likes of OpTic and EnVyUs are represented in a more broad sense. Still, NiP remain one of the most recognisable brands in esports and it’s no surprise to see investment flooding in to the org. Congratulations to Hicham & co, we look forward to see what’s next for the Ninjas.

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UnikoinGold becomes the largest-ever gaming and esports token

Following what the company has labelled “an unprecedented success” of crowdsale, UnikoinGold, the crpyto launched by esports dedicated bookmaker Unikrn has become the largest in esports and gaming.

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According to the release, sales have now exceeded $28,000,000 (£21,400,000) and the company, and CEO, Rahul Sood, has now provided an update.

He said: “Our vision for UnikoinGold is to make it the universal esports and gaming token by continuing to add both wagering and non-wagering features to the Unikrn platform that our community has requested. We see a future where UnikoinGold is in the hands of millions gamers and esports fans, ushering in incredible opportunities to use UnikoinGold inside and outside of Unikrn’s own properties”.

The statement clearly implies that Unikrn are looking for ways that people will be able to use UnikoinGold outside of the company’s betting platform. The statement adds that partners will be able to utilise UnikoinGold for skins, software, hardware and peripherals, tournament platforms and interestingly “esports teams and developers” on top of the company’s betting products.

The sale has been public since September 23rd, and will remain so until October 22nd.

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The company has ambitious plan s to become the “universal decentralised token of esports”. Currently, the crypto can be purchased with either Ether or skins, using a Steam account but once the sale has ended, tokens will not be purchasable from Unikrn anymore but will be obtainable in other ways.

Esports Insider says: Congratulations to Rahul Sood & co for raising such a phenomenal amount of money. With backers like Mark Cuban & co, it was arguably never in doubt but $28,000,000 is alot of money and there’s still a lot of time left. We’re excited to see the other applications of the UnikoinGold as it continues to grow.

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eSports could be medal event at 2024 Olympics, Paris bid team says

Paris bid committee co-president to meet with IOC about competitive gaming
In April, it was announced eSports will be medal sport at 2022 Asian Games


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Competitive gaming draws spectators in droves to online platforms and real-world venues, like the Intel Extreme Masters Counter-Strike tournament in Poland’s Spodek Arena this year. Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Guardian

eSports could be added to the Olympic programme as an official medal sport in 2024.

Tony Estanguet, co-president of the Paris bid committee, has confirmed that he will speak with the International Olympic Committee and eSports representatives about the full-fledged inclusion of competitive video gaming when the Games come to France in seven years’ time.


Anti-doping in eSports: World's largest gaming organization will test for PEDs
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“We have to look at it because we can’t say, ‘It’s not us. It’s not about Olympics,’” Estanguet said in an interview with the Associated Press. “The youth, yes they are interested in eSport and this kind of thing. Let’s look at it. Let’s meet them. Let’s try if we can find some bridges.

“I don’t want to say ‘no’ from the beginning. I think it’s interesting to interact with the IOC, with them, the eSports family, to better understand what the process is and why it is such a success.”

Paris will be confirmed as as the host city of the 2024 Olympics when the IOC convenes next month in Peru, the result of a deal with lone competitor Los Angeles, which agreed to take the 2028 Games.

In April, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) announced that eSports will be a medal sport at the 2022 Asian Games in China, the boldest step yet toward mainstream recognition of competitive gaming.

The OCA said the decision reflects “the rapid development and popularity of this new form of sports participation among the youth.”


Is it time for eSports gamers to be recognised as athletes?
Read more
The details of which games will be contested have yet to be provided, though the OCA confirmed the titles for this year’s Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) in Turkmenistan: Fifa 2017, Moba (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) and RTA (Real Time Attack) gaming types.

The Asian Games, which are recognized by the IOC, are billed as the world’s second largest multi-sport event after the Olympics. Forty-five national delegations and about 10,000 athletes took part in the most recent Asiad three years ago in Incheon, South Korea.

IOC president Thomas Bach, whose support would be crucial to eSports’ addition as an Olympic event, sounded less than convinced when asked about it after the Asian Games decision in April.

“We are not yet 100% clear whether eSports is really sport, with regard to physical activity and what it needs to be considered sport,” Bach told Inside the Games.

However, Bach did concede that eSports achieves a “high engagement from the youth”, which has become a clear priority for the IOC in their recent additions to the programme. He attributed the June additions of three-on-three basketball and freestyle BMX for the Tokyo Olympics to the committee’s push for a “more youthful, more urban” Games.

The Olympic programme for the 2024 Games will begin to take shape in 2019 with the final decision on added events to take place at some point after Tokyo. By then, eSports will have already been a demonstration sport at the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia, which looms as an important testing ground for the nascent sport on the international stage.

eSports generated $493m in revenue with a global audience of about 320m people in 2016, the market research firm Newzoo reported last year.

While initially popular as a spectator sport in Asia – more than 40,000 people attended the 2014 League of Legends World Championship finals in Seoul – competitive gaming now draws tens of millions of spectators to online platforms and real-world venues, including New York’s Madison Square Garden, the Staples Center in Los Angeles and the MGM Grand Garden Arena on the Las Vegas Strip.

The International 2017, a Dota 2 tournament under way this week in Seattle, is offering a prize pool of nearly $24m.

theguardian-com/sport/20---vent-paris-bid-committee
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Olympic Channel to embrace esports after Pyeongchang

The Olympic Channel will be looking at using esports to engage young audiences after the Pyeongchang Olympics. A digital platform launched in 2016 with a $450 million (£320.8m) budget, The Olympic Channel has been tasked with keeping young people interested in sport.

Esports was finally recognised as a sport by the International Olympic Committee in November last year, and this step is another positive sign for the industry’s future. Esports is on its way to become a billion dollar market, so it’s not too hard to see why traditional sports is opening its arms to it after years of skepticism.

Yiannis Exarchos, Executive Director of The Olympic Channel explained: “As a youthful digital platform we cannot ignore the phenomenon of esports. With the channel after the Games we want to explore the area of esports more deeply.”

“Esports is still a very male dominated area, 85 percent to 15 percent,” he continued. “Secondly a lot of the content is quite violent or has the violence narrative engrained to it. This is obviously very foreign to what the Olympics represent.”

Exarchos doesn’t think those hurdles will get it esports’ way, though. “I don’t believe any of those three current limitations are not addressable. I believe it is a movement that has emerged out of nowhere without necessarily clear directions.”

Esports Insider says: An official channel for the Olympics embracing esports is just another step in the right direction for competitive gaming. If it proves to be a success, it’d be hard to ignore esports as a viable inclusion to the Olympics in the future as has been much discussed. What form this would take of course, is very much up in the air.

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G2 Esports teams up with ESP for betting venture

G2 Esports‘ Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team has forged an exclusive partnership with ESP, marking the organisation’s first venture into esports fantasy and betting.

The announcement from G2 reveals that it spent quite a lot of time waiting for the right opportunity and partner to come along before entering the esports betting scene, due to the amount of discussion – both positive and negative – surrounding it.

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With this partnership, both G2 and ESP are looking to “promote esports even further and spice things up with a little extra excitement with fantasy and betting”. Betting with ESP requires individuals to be 18 years old and located in a country where online gambling is permitted. ESP offers live betting on finals of tournaments and other notable match-ups.

ESP was founded in 2014 as esportspools, offering fantasy esports to its members. In July last year, the website extended its offering to wager pools – after that, it introduced live betting. In CS:GO, users can bet on each and any round of a game. The titles in which individuals can bet on – in addition to CS:GO – are League of Legends, Overwatch, PUBG, and Dota 2.

G2 Esports already counts Logitech G, AOC, paysafecard, NEEDforSEAT, and Vodafone among its partners. The organisation currently has 12 teams – including League of Legends, Hearthstone, PUBG, Rocket League, and Vainglory – but this deal specifically involves on its CS:GO roster.

Esports Insider says: Esports betting remains somewhat unrefined as a market, and the fact that G2 has waited to find the right way to enter it is encouraging. It’s interesting that this partnership exclusively revolves around the organisation’s CS:GO team – we’re looking forward to seeing what comes of it.
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Esports as big as American football for millennials, poll suggests

Esports is as big as American football for young Americans, according to a poll conducted by the Washington Post.

40% of 14 to 21-year-olds taking part in the poll claimed to be football fans; with 38% counting themselves as fans of esports.

“The popularity of esports and online gaming among American teens and young adults as both a recreational activity that you participate in or can also watch reveals a shifting landscape for what constitutes a sport in American life,” said Professor Joshua Dyck, Co-Director of the UMass Lowell Center for Public Opinion – the body that helped carry out the poll.

“It is absolutely telling that the fan base for esports is just as large as the fan base for professional football among Americans ages 14 to 21. The reasons teens and young adults give for participating in esports/online gaming mirror many of those given in our survey of adults 18 and older about why they watch live sports.”

The availability of online gaming may speak for its popularity among young Americans. 59% of teens and young adults in that age group said they have either participated in a video game competition or played an online video game with multiple players in the last 12 months, and a similar 58% have watched people playing games online on platforms such as YouTube and Amazon.com-owned Twitch.

The popularity of esports is even higher among young men: 89% of young males said they have either played online video games, participated in a competition and/or watched others playing games online in the last year. Only about one in 10 males in that age group have had no interaction with online gaming in the last 12 months.

Among females in that age group, 56% have either played or watched a video game over the same time-frame. By comparison, only 18% of American adults 18 and older reported having played an online video game with multiple players or participating in a video game competition in the preceding 12 months, and just 16% reported watching video gaming online via Twitch, YouTube or other platforms.
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ESI Gambling Report: Pro-Gaming licenses and esports in Japan

Japan has begun issuing pro-gaming licenses enabling players to compete in the larger esports sphere. How will Japan's inclusion in esports shape its future?


In early February, news broke there would be an addendum to an age-old law in Japan aimed at illegal gambling that restricted paid esports tournaments from being hosted in the country.

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his adjudication marked a colossal significance for Japanese esports; players can now experience financial freedom and, Japan itself can join in on the booming esports market that they’d previously been largely excluded from. With the dust settling following its announcement, we’re taking an extensive look into how the shift in ruling will shape Japanese esports going forward in this week’s ESI Gambling Report.

History

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Japan and video games have been synonymous since the digital pastime’s inception; engineering and fostered famed titles such as Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Tekken and Street Fighter into cultural staples. Japan found an early sweeping success in Arcade gaming in the 1980s, embracing games like Donkey Kong and Super Mario as symbols of their time which influenced video games for future generations.

The excitement surrounding the video game culture in Japan ushered them not only into revolutionary software, but also hardware leaps such as the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and 3D graphics; this distinguished Tokyo as a leader for decades. The first ever glimpse of esports can be traced back to Japan. Once, as an integral part of mainstream culture, video game tournaments were televised to millions before falling fate to oppressive legislation.

Pitiless legislation curbs esports in Japan

With Japan’s heavy influence of the video game industry, and even having begun broadcasting esports well ahead of the curve, you may be asking yourself: what happened? An outbreak of illegal gambling prompted laws to curb online gambling, this was primarily aimed at video poker tournaments used in organized crime to generate income. A wide net of rather bizarre rules cast by the Japanese government has seen professional gaming as collateral damage, this limits tournament winnings hosted in the country to just 100,000 yen (£684).

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This consistent harsh ruling halted esports in its tracks, thus hindering Japan’s greatest professional gaming talent by removing the platform for those to make livable wages. Japan was virtually nonexistent on major tournament calendars as well; a deficiency in prize pools hampered organisers from hosting events in the country, further dividing them from the rest of the sphere. In lacking this support, the Japanese esports ecosystem has a financial deficit that is detrimental in its ability to thrive. However, one organisation is taking significant strides in changing the status quo.

License to kill

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Japan’s first sign of relief came in the form of an announcement that three of the country’s biggest esports organisations would merge to create the Japanese Esports Union (JESU). The powerhouse team is aiming their sights towards cultivating the local professional gaming space by combining resources to promote esports in Japan. JESU released a statement earlier in February outlining the prerequisites for those with professional gaming talent who might be eligible to receive a license to compete, bypassing the strict regulation. A translation of the statement read, in summation one must possess: “self-awareness of being a professional, must demonstrate sportsmanship when playing, be dedicated to outstanding results in JESU-officially recognized titles, and contribute to the development of domestic esports.” While JESU’s spotty definition of a professional gamer is creating some confusion amongst players, licensing may not furnish an uncut solution to the problem.

Currently, the list of titles eligible for license are: Street Fighter V, Tekken 7, Winning Eleven 2018, Call of Duty: WWII, Puzzle & Dragons, and Monster Strike. A two year life on licenses, coupled with JESU’s vague classification of an esports professional still appears as another hurdle in the way of Japan’s professional gaming ambition. Despite not being a ceasefire to the uncompromising legislation, JESU’s deal provides an avenue for pro-gamers to establish a foundation for the localised community.

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East of Tokyo, Tokaigi 2018 was set to be the first tournament under the reframing, issuing the first ever pro-gaming licenses to the top finishers. With these invaluable licenses on the line attendees had the opportunity to “witness the moment a professional gamer is born” fashioning a historic atmosphere at the Makuhari Messe convention center.

Japan’s esports prospect

Understanding that JESU’s model is designed to separate professional players from casual competitors, there’s a distinguishable framework to how the licenses can actually succeed. Adopting pro-gamers can enable those to dedicate more hours to their respective games, catering to Japan’s existing video game market and leading as a segway into its esports derivative. While the somewhat convoluted story of Japanese esports will continue to unfold more clearly over the next 12 to 24 months, there is some speculation to how Japan’s entry into the esports galaxy will shape the rest of the faction.

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Albeit, and difficult to predict reliably, I’m confident that the influx of professional Japanese contenders will enlist a swell of new followers into esports, increasing its global popularity. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Japan’s deep-rooted gaming heritage jump start an infrastructure to facilitate amateurs into professional grade players (mirroring the system we see in Korean StarCraft), deepening the global esports talent pool. Japanese esports leagues can be an upshot of pro-licenses trickling down, generating an additional betting sub-market to supplement the current prospering esports betting industry.

This past January, Japan landed an exalting break in what is projected to be a landmark year for its esports division by hosting EVO 2018: the biggest fighting game tournament series in the world. Large scale tournaments like this are going to be critical in bringing Japan back into the esports circle while culminating betting outside of the country, they’ve single-handedly placed eyes on the developing landscape. There’s no covenant esports betting will spore in Japan anytime soon – especially with the region’s current gambling restraints – but the market has a better opportunity than ever before to spill over into the nation’s infrastructure.
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NBA 2K League nets multi-year deal with Twitch

It has been announced that the NBA 2K League and Twitch have entered a multi-year partnership that will see every single game within the League broadcast on the streaming platform. This deal seemingly means the media rights for the League are Twitch’s for numerous seasons.

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Kicking off on May 1st, the NBA 2K League will stream up to 199 games that take place throughout the inaugural seasons – this includes weekly games, three in-season tournaments, playoffs, and the finals. As you’d expect from a professional sports league, streams will include live commentary, analysis, and updates.

Brendan Donohue, Managing Director of NBA 2K League discussed the partnership: “This is a groundbreaking partnership for the NBA 2K League. Twitch shares our innovative spirit and commitment to putting the gaming community first, and is the ideal home to provide our passionate 2K, NBA and esports fans around the world with the opportunity to catch all the excitement of our inaugural season.”

Justin Dellario, Head of Esports Programs, Twitch commented:”From video games to real games, the NBA continues to innovate around basketball when it comes to engaging with the Twitch community. By partnering with Twitch for the NBA 2K League, that pioneering spirit will continue to be reflected when we elevate this latest entry to the world of competitive gaming with interactive features and our global stage.”

All games will be live-streamed on NBA 2K League’s official Twitch. Games will be made available for viewing on-demand after they’ve concluded.

Esports Insider says: This move for the NBA 2K League was expected. There are only a couple of options available when it comes to streaming esports gameplay, and Twitch is by far the most popular choice. The League knows it’ll be in good hands on this particular platform.
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Bookies name VP favorite to win China Dota 2 Supermajor 2018

Virtus.pro now has more points than any other team. Most of the tipsters agree that VP has all the chances to get the first prize of China Supermajor.

Let's take a look at the odds from bookies:

Average odds:
Virtus.pro — 3,36 (from 2,6 to 4);
PSG.LGD — 5,31 (from 4 to 6,3);
Team Liquid — 5,62 (from 3,5 to 6,95);
OpTic Gaming — 9 (from 8 to 11);
Evil Geniuses — 10 (from 5,5 to 13);
Mineski — 11,5 (from 7,5 to 14);
Vici Gaming — 11,6 (from 6 to 29,7);
Team Secret — 11,9 (from 6,5 to 21,5);
VGJ.Storm — 13,6 (from 10 to 28);
TNC Pro Team — 18,9 (from 13 to 23);
Newbee — 21,4 (from 12 to 44,5);
VGJ.Thunder — 23,4 (from 15 to 32);
Natus Vincere — 69,3 (from 25 to 135);
The Final Tribe — 72,6 (from 26 to 101);
Team Spirit — 94,6 (from 50 to 168);
Infamous — 99,3 (from 50 to 168).

Source: esa.gg/news/bookies-name...a-dota-2-supermajor-2018
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NHL Commissioner discusses future plans for esports

The National Hockey League is seemingly moving forward with plans for an esports structure surrounding the EA game franchise in the coming year, according to an ESPN interview with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.

Bettman states the goal for NHL esports will be to attract players and fans to the real-world NHL, not the other way around: “We wanted this to be another touch point and another connection to our real game. We weren’t looking to start something different. We weren’t looking to start a different league. We wanted to have our fans, who were into esports, to have a way to play our game and connect to our game.”

While Bettman and company have seen the way traditional sports like the NBA 2K League have developed they insist the NHL will do things differently and not create a structure based on a league, necessarily.

Chris Golier, Vice President of Business Development for the NHL stated in the first year they wanted to remain cautious: “In year two we’re going to invite our clubs in. It’s not going to be a full-blown league, but we’re going to have teams participate in some way, shape or form. We’re going to have locally activated tournaments that will be part of the overall construct of the league. The clubs are excited.”

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While minor community-run tournaments have been active for quite some time, the hockey league created the NHL Gaming World Championship this year for the first time to test the NHL esports waters. The Championship held qualifying tournaments in the United States, Canada, and Europe with the winner and runner-up flying to Las Vegas for a round-robin finals tournament in June ahead of the NHL Awards. The format was 1v1 with one person on each side controlling a 7-man team. The prize pool was $100,000, half of which went to first place winner “Eki” from Finland. Bettman explicitly stated future plans of NHL esports would involve a 6v6 game format.

Esports Insider says: Traditional sports flowing into esports is becoming a natural occurrence especially in relation to games that are based on traditional sports. We’ve seen it come from games like FIFA, Formula 1, and NBA 2K and the success is there. This will be exciting to witness as the league hopes to get every team involved in some form or fashion.
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F1 2018 Esports Pro Series begins October in London

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The 2018 F1 Esports Pro Series, presented by New Balance, will begin in October with $200,000 (£150,000) on the line. The series will take place at the Gfinity Esports Arena, London.

The series will begin on October 10th and run until October 31st with the Grand Finals taking place on November 16th and 17th. People who are unable to attend in person can catch all the action live on Facebook and selected global TV networks.

Julian Tan, Head of Digital Growth & F1 Esports at Formula 1, commented on the announcement: “The launch of the Pro Series is a pivotal moment for the F1 Esports Series. In a short space of time, the drivers have come together from all around the world to join their official F1 teams; and will now take their passion for motorsport and gaming from home all the way to the podium.”

Tan Continued: “With the F1 teams involved, we have been able to combine the power of Esports with the magic of Formula 1, establishing an adrenaline-fuelled series that has been streamed across the globe. Now it’s time for the teams to deliver their best performances, and we can’t wait to crown this year’s Teams’ and Drivers’ Champions.”

The series will feature nine of the current Formula 1 teams, with a number of teams partnering with existing esports organisations – Mercedes-AMG Petronas Esports, Red Bull Racing Esports Team, Hype Energy eForce India F1 Esports Team, Williams Esports, Renault Sport Team Vitality, Haas F1 Esports Team, McLaren Shadow, Toro Rosso Esports Team and Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 eSports Team. Currently, only Ferrari have not joined the series.

Mark Brittain, Chief Commercial Officer at Gfinity, added: “It is a privilege to welcome some of the very best gamers in the world to the Gfinity Esports Arena for the F1 Esports Pro Series. We’re braced to see a competition quite unlike any other as our hugely talented drivers battle it out head-to-head to be named this year’s F1 Esports champion. For aspiring gamers watching around the world, the event is sure to be nothing short of exciting.”

The game is played on the official Formula 1 title F1 2018, developed by UK developer Codemasters.

Jonathan Bunney, VP Publishing at Codemasters: “We’ve been impressed with the skill and dedication shown by our player community with F1 2018 across PlayStation®4, Xbox One and PC. The Pro Series takes gaming talent to a new benchmark and is set to make history for F1 and gaming fans alike.”

Esports Insider says: The F1 Esports Series has been gearing up to this moment all year, there appears to be a good level of expectation around this year’s series. The F1 teams involved have really stepped up their game and partnered with strong organisations or gone it alone in a big way. A special mention has to go to McLaren and their Shadow project.
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Pinnacle becomes Official Betting Partner for BLAST Pro Series

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Pinnacle has announced a new partnership with BLAST Pro Series, the world’s most explosive eSports event.

London, September 28, 2018


Pinnacle will become the Official Betting Partner for BLAST Pro Series for the rest of the 2018 series, including the upcoming tournament in Istanbul this weekend.

The partnership will be visible throughout BLAST Pro Series in Istanbul, the Copenhagen tournament on the first weekend of November and in connection with the big season finale of which the date, city and venue will be revealed soon. Through the riveting format of BLAST Pro Series, world class esports and Counter-Strike are taken to a whole new level; the partnership with Pinnacle will bring even more value to the tournament series and the fans.

Marco Blume, Trading Director at Pinnacle:

“We are thrilled to become the Official Betting Partner for BLAST Pro Series. As we celebrate our 20th anniversary, we have been looking to build on our presence within the eSports scene and this relationship with BLAST is the perfect opportunity to do so.

The rapid growth within the industry means there are ample partnership opportunities but we insisted on waiting for someone who matches our intent to have a real positive impact on the eSports community. Not only is this a big step for the business, but it’s also one that has generated a great deal of excitement amongst our employees. With so many genuine eSports fans working for Pinnacle, we’re now even more excited for the upcoming BLAST events."

Jakob Lund Kristensen, EVP Sales, RFRSH Entertainment, owner of BLAST Pro Series:

“We are extremely excited to have entered into this relationship with Pinnacle. Pinnacle have been an ever present part of the esports community for many years and we are excited they have chosen BLAST Pro Series as the world class tournament to meet their objectives in their 20th anniversary year. We believe that Pinnacle's prestige, values and commitment to their customers is the ideal solution for BLAST and our global audience, and we look forward to activating this partnership.”

About Pinnacle - Pinnacle is a respected industry leader with over 20 years experience in online betting. With an established reputation for always offering the best value and an unrivalled betting experience, Pinnacle took its first eSports bet back in 2010 and has been committed to the development of the sport ever since.

About BLAST Pro Series - BLAST Pro Series has fast established itself as a premium, esports tournament with world class entertainment and the world’s best CS:GO teams competing in an explosive 2 day format in major arenas in cities around the world.

Visit Pinnacle


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Michael Jordan Makes His Foray Into Esports With Startup Investment

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Michael Jordan is backing an esports startup, the first foray by the legend of traditional sports into the burgeoning industry.

The basketball Hall of Famer and owner of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets is joining an investor group putting $26 million into AXiomatic Gaming, which owns the professional-gaming franchise Team Liquid. The round is being led by Jordan, investing thorough his family office, and Declaration Capital, the family office of Carlyle Group billionaire co-founder David Rubenstein.

AXiomatic was formed in 2015 to capitalize on the esports industry, which features professional video-game players competing for prize money in front of often-huge audiences. The following year it acquired a controlling stake in Team Liquid -- a business now worth about $200 million, according to recent valuations by Forbes. That would make it the third-most-valuable esports franchise in the world.

AXiomatic, which was part of Walt Disney Co.’s 2017 accelerator program, also has invested in esports coaching platform Gamer Sensei and local tournament organizer Super League Gaming. AXiomatic didn’t disclose the size of Jordan’s investment, nor the other investors in the round.

Though esports remains tiny compared with traditional sports leagues, it’s expected to generate about $906 million this year, according to research firm Newzoo. Team Liquid got an early foothold in the industry nearly two decades ago in South Korea, where the popularity of StarCraft contests turned video gamers into well-paid celebrities. In more recent years, competitions have spread to the U.S. and beyond, packing audiences into venues like Madison Square Garden.

AXiomatic is co-chaired by Ted Leonsis, owner of the National Basketball Association’s Washington Wizards and National Hockey League’s Washington Capitals; Peter Guber, part owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Football Club; Jeff Vinik, owner of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning; and Bruce Karsh, co-founder of Oaktree Capital and a Warriors minority owner. Earvin “Magic” Johnson, another NBA Hall of Famer and minority owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, also is an investor.

Jordan, who retired for the final time in 2003, has been active since he stopped playing. He became a minority investor in the Hornets -- then the Bobcats -- in 2006 and bought the rest of the franchise in 2010. In addition to his work with Nike Inc., he’s an investor in global sports data firm Sportradar, alongside Leonsis. He also has backed the hiring startup Gigster and headphone maker Muzik.
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Big news not just because of the investment sum but with this move Jordan an iconic player made a big advertising to the whole eSports community and market. This move could be copied by another big investors.
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He makes His Foray Into eSports With Co-Investor Magic
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