SlamBall, the fast-paced, gravity-defying sport that combines elements of basketball, football, hockey and acrobatics, today announced that Circa Sports has been named a Founding Partner of SlamBall League. Play resumes this Thursday to Sunday from Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas at 8:00 p.m. EDT/5:00 p.m. PDT on ESPN+.
“We have always believed that SlamBall was a tailor made property for sports gambling, and Circa Sports coming on at this early juncture further validates and expedites this critical part of our business plan,” said Mason Gordon, SlamBall co-creator and CEO. “Our expansive partnership with Derek Stevens and the team will be amplified this upcoming weekend when live gambling on SlamBall will take place for the first time.”
“We are excited to be one of the founding partners of SlamBall,” Derek Stevens, CEO of Circa Resort & Casino. “We’re happy to have them included in the continuously growing sports scene in Las Vegas and we look forward to seeing their growth. We also can’t wait to put up lines for the games on Thursday and seeing the action that comes in!”
Circa Sports will provide legal gambling lines for all remaining sessions. They join Old Trapper as SlamBall’s first two Founding Partners
SlamBall’s two-year ESPN partnership will combine to air more than 40 hours of live SlamBall programming across five weekends, culminating August 15-17 with the SlamBall Playoffs and SlamBall Championship Game.
The National Lacrosse League (NLL) today announced an extension and expansion of its partnership with BetMGM, a leading sports betting and iGaming operator, as an Official Sports Betting partner of the NLL. The two companies have extended their partnership agreement for an additional year, with greater investment and a focus on innovation.
“We are proud and honored to continue our partnership with BetMGM,” said NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz. “BetMGM has been an incredible partner in helping us build the NLL sports betting platform. This extension shows the value of our partnership and what we both bring to the table for each other, which is what partnering is all about. Our shared like-minded vision will continue to increase the relevance of the league and draw a wider audience of fans, while providing BetMGM access to a new audience of NLL fans on television.”
As part of the agreement, BetMGM and the NLL will work together to provide odds for regular season and post-season NLL games in the 2021-22 season. In addition to receiving exposure through the NLL’s expanded broadcast partnership with ESPN and ESPN+, BetMGM will have significant in-arena presence in NLL venues. BetMGM also will be fully integrated into the league’s social media and digital activities. The partnership will be activated through organic broadcast integrations, redefining the way sports betting is supported through league partnerships.
Matt Prevost, BetMGM’s Chief Revenue Officer, said, “We’re pleased to elevate our partnership with the NLL and look forward to growing the League’s sports betting audience. The NLL’s passionate fan base will appreciate the new and engaging experiences only offered by BetMGM.”
As BetMGM continues to expand its sports betting platforms to new states, responsible gaming education remains a key focus. BetMGM is proud to provide resources to help customers play responsibly. For more information on BetMGM follow @BetMGM on Twitter.
For the most up to date information and breaking news, sign up for the NLL newsletter at NLL.com. You can also follow Deputy Commissioner Jessica Berman and Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz on Twitter @JessicaBerman1 and @NLLcommish, respectively.
Five sports betting startups have been selected to present their business plans to industry executives and investors at the upcoming Global Gaming Expo (G2E) conference in Las Vegas.
A panel of judges representing Turner Sports, NASCAR, Sportradar, and Sharp Alpha Advisors will hear pitches and conduct brief Q&A sessions before awarding prizes.
Turner Sports’ VP of Emerging Media and Innovation Peter Scott will join Sharp Alpha’s Lloyd Danzig and Sportradar’s Neale Deeley in assessing the startups. NASCAR Managing Director of Sports Betting Joseph Solosky will also join the panel of expert judges.
Prizes to be awarded include a $25,000 cash investment and a year of access to Sportradar’s accelerator program. Turner Sports will offer one founder behind-the-scenes access to a marquee sporting event hosted by the media company. One startup will win a VIP trip to Phoenix Raceway for the NASCAR Cup Series Championship and the opportunity to demo their product for NASCAR executives in a luxury box at the event.
The competition will feature founders from the following companies:
HedgePay, a B2B solution that enables any online gaming platform’s users to automatically fund their accounts using spare change round-ups
SharpRank, a software-based ratings agency that verifies and evaluates the performance of professional sports bettors and handicappers
Tallysight, a publishing platform that helps sportsbooks, media teams, and content creators monetize their sports betting audience
Bettor Fantasy, a platform that enables fantasy sports players to bet on their league’s matchups and outcomes
Juice Reel, a bet-tracking app that automatically syncs to users’ sportsbook accounts
“The quality of the applicants and judges involved in this competition is a testament to the size of the opportunity in and adjacent to sports betting,” said Lloyd Danzig, Managing Partner of Sharp Alpha Advisors and organizer of the event.
The competition will take place on Wednesday, October 6 at 3:00pm PT in the Innovation Lab at G2E, which is being held at the Venetian Expo Center in Las Vegas.
Conference attendees are welcome to spectate the pitch competition free of charge.
Entain, the global sports betting and gaming entertainment provider, today announces that in line with its commitment to raise both the quality of entertainment and protections to customers worldwide it has extended its initiatives in responsible gambling to new areas including video-gaming and esports.
The new partners include the Counter-Strike Professional Players Association, Kindbridge, Rise Above the Disorder, and an expanded partnership with EPIC Risk Management. These four organizations will provide mental health support services and education for players potentially at risk and will work internationally with Entain and the Entain Foundation, the company’s non-profit charity dedicated to promoting responsible gambling, sports integrity, and corporate compliance.
Each organization seeks to bridge the gap between demand and availability of affordable professional, individual therapy and care. The Entain partners include:
EPIC Risk Management – An international consultancy specializing in prevention of gambling-related harm, EPIC already works with Entain both internationally and the U.S. and will now be extending its activity further, also to address videogaming and esports.
Rise Above the Disorder – A non-profit universal mental health care system, RAD covers the cost of mental health care for tens of thousands of people around the world. Once a video game group selling in-game items to crowd fund therapy, RAD is now celebrated by the United Nations for having helped over 36,000 people receive free support.
Kindbridge – The world’s first teletherapy company focused specifically on the successful treatment of gamblers and gamers struggling with their mental health, Kindbridge is a U.S.-based mental health services organization that provides access to online professional mental health counselors and specialized support services.
Entain’s strategy for sustainability and growth underscores its commitment to delivering the highest possible levels of player safety and protection across all its markets. As part of its safer gambling strategy, the Entain Foundation supports customer protection through a mix of education and support projects, as well as research and data analysis, using Entain technology to pioneer new and higher standards of online player protection.
Martin Lycka, Entain Senior Vice President for American Regulatory Affairs and Responsible Gambling and Trustee of the Entain Foundation US, explains, “We are committed to supporting initiatives that encourage responsible gambling and gaming in every way we can. The vast majority of people enjoy playing for fun have no problems whatsoever, and we want to leverage our capabilities to offer them additional experiences whilst keeping all our customers safe. These new partnerships are initial steps in this and other new directions as we both expand our offer to customers and the protections we put in place to protect the very small number who may be at risk.”
Today’s announcement supports Entain’s planned expansion into video-gaming and esports alongside furthering its commitment to responsible gaming. Entain recently unveiled its Advanced Responsibility and Care (ARC) initiative, pioneering use of data science, behavioral analysis, and technology to develop protective and preventative measures that work in real time.
Late last year Entain appointed Dr. Mark Griffiths as Distinguished Professor of Behavioral Addiction and Psychology, a title he also holds at Nottingham Trent University. Professor Griffiths is advising Entain on triggers for problems with online play and addiction, which is supporting the ongoing development of ARC. Professor Griffiths was previously involved in work with the World Health Organization around online addictions, resulting in the first official recognition of gaming disorder as a psychological problem among video-gamers.
The Electronic Gaming Federation, the national governing body for formalized collegiate D-I esports and high school level leagues, will host a series of panels on topics in collegiate esports ranging from team management to mental health beginning on February 3rd for member colleges and universities across the country to engage in information sharing to their esports and gaming communities. The event is open to all faculty, coaches and students as a way to bring together the fluid and fast rising world of gaming across college campuses. The event is free and will be streamed on twitch.tv/officialEGF each Wednesday at 2PM ET.
“The esports and gaming communities across the country continue to grow, but the market, as happens with many startup industries, can be very siloed and fractured, our goal is to bring together like minded individuals with one purpose; to share best practices and learn from each other,” said EGF CEO Eric Johnson. “For esports to continue to grow holistically, we need consistency and we believe this is a great next step.”
EGF Leads is one of the first major projects initiated by the recently elected EGFC Board of Governors under the leadership of Michele King (William & Mary) and Courtney James (DePaul University). “I am excited to see how EGF Leads allows students to learn to lead from industry leaders and staff professionals at EGF Member Institutions. EGF has established itself as an industry leader when it comes to competitive play; and the expansion of EGF Leads will allow the Federation to be a industry leader when it comes to co-curricular leadership development for students involved in the Esports & gaming community.” – Courtney James, Director of Student Involvement & Esports, DePaul University
The goal of this series of panels and educational sessions will be to have students learn from peers, industry leaders and member institution staff and faculty about topics pertaining to leadership, communication and more.
“EGF’s strength is in its leadership and active participation of its member institutions. What better way to enable our students to grow and to develop than to offer EGF Leads–a weekly panel discussion on topics relevant to the esports ecosystem. We believe in integrity and transparency, so we want all esports community members to join in the discussion as we learn from schools across the country and industry leaders. I’m excited to be part of an organization that encompasses what it means to be a part of the esports community from the competitive and industrial side to the academic rigors of creating the esports landscape.” –Michele King, Ph.D., Director of Esports at William & Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia
The Entain Foundation US and EPIC Risk Management today announced the launch of a player education initiative with colleges around the nation to deliver a series of gaming awareness educational sessions. The Entain Foundation US is funded by Entain plc, the global sports betting and gaming entertainment operator which jointly owns and provides the technology to BetMGM in the United States.
The joint initiative will be focused on education and awareness and the need to keep betting safe as sports betting and gaming continues to expand across more states, with New York most recently expressing interest. More than 40 colleges in the U.S. will initially take part in the nationwide educational initiative, including the Mid-American Conference, Fordham University in New York City and Monmouth University in New Jersey.
Entain Foundation US and EPIC plan to work together to add new colleges to the program throughout 2021. Those colleges already participating include the University of Akron, Eastern Illinois University, Harvard University, Northern Illinois University, University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), University of Ohio, University of Oregon, Seton Hall University and the University of Utah.
EPIC and Entain Foundation US launched the partnership and program in March 2020. Overall, the program is fully funded by the Entain Foundation US and is part of Entain’s pledge to invest $132 million over five years towards responsible gaming initiatives and to support people and communities around the world where it operates.
To date, EPIC Risk Management and the Entain Foundation US have launched collaborations with the National Football League Players’ Association Professional Athletes Foundation (NFLPA PAF) and USA Rugby, as well as the Division on Addiction at Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital, which is already working with Entain on a five-year research initiative better to understand problematic and addictive behaviors.
EPIC is a global leading gambling harm minimization consultancy providing strategic advisory and impactful and proven awareness, education, and risk management programs to the highest risk sectors in over 20 countries worldwide to reduce the human, financial, brand and reputational risks associated with gambling harm.
Martin Lycka, Entain Senior Vice President for American Regulatory Affairs and Responsible Gambling, and Trustee of the Entain Foundation US: “We know from international experience that the most successful sports betting operators are also the most responsible. As legalized sports betting continues to expand in the US, education and responsible gaming is a top priority. We are excited to expand our partnership with EPIC to reach colleges across the country to educate young people.”
John Millington, VP of US Operations at EPIC Risk Management: “We are delighted to be able to work closely with colleges around the nation on this essential education and awareness program. There is a collective responsibility to ensure the minimization of potential gambling harms, and the promotion of player safety. Our collaboration with the Entain Foundation represents a key strategic piece of our prevention pillar, and it is great that so many organizations are recognizing the importance of education and awareness for this potentially high-risk population.”
AJ Schaufler – Associate Athletic Director for Compliance, Monmouth University: “Monmouth University Hawks are delighted to have EPIC Risk Management deliver their gambling awareness and sports betting integrity education sessions to our student athletes. This is a topic that we take very seriously here at Monmouth and indeed, these sessions are providing our students with an increased understanding of the risks of problematic gambling, and in particular, its close links to sports betting integrity breaches. Furthermore, they are now better aware of the support mechanisms that are available to them and have a deeper understanding and knowledge of this growing issue. We look forward to a long and successful partnership and would absolutely recommend this to all NCAA programs across the nation.”
Shannon Raymond –Assistant Athletic Director for Compliance, Fordham University: “Fordham Athletics is excited to engage with EPIC Risk Management to educate our student-athletes around the dangers of problematic gambling and the ever-growing risk that sports betting brings to both student-athletes and institutions. As part of our overall student development and wellbeing program, we see this as an extremely beneficial collaboration and are committed to ensuring our student-athletes learn from EPIC’s expertise to better understand how student-athletes can be susceptible to gambling harm. We look forward to learning how we can best support our student-athletes in this area with a long and successful partnership with EPIC.”
Today, the BIG EAST Conference and the Electronic Gaming Federation (EGF) announced a three-year agreement that will enable all 11 member schools to compete in a year-long multigame season for the first time as official EGF Collegiate (EGFC) league members. EGFC is the national Division I Varsity Esports League with a growing number of schools bringing their own elite teams together to vie for National Championships across a number of game titles.
The EGFC Season begins October 5 and features nationwide intercollegiate competition in two eight-week splits as well as conference championships, regional playoffs and the EGFC National Championship to be held April 24-25, 2021. Expanded titles include: Rocket League, Overwatch, SSBU and FIFA. Broadcasts of all matches will be streamed on EGF’s 5 Twitch channels, the BIG EAST YouTube channel and various institutional platforms.
The BIG EAST members, located in eight of the country’s top 36 largest media markets, include Butler University, University of Connecticut, Creighton University, DePaul University, Georgetown University, Marquette University, Providence College, St. John’s University, Seton Hall University, Villanova University and Xavier University.
“We’re very excited that the relationship BIG EAST esports has enjoyed with EGF will be continuing for the next three years with league membership across many titles,” said BIG EAST Commissioner Val Ackerman. “We’re grateful for the outstanding leadership EGF provides annually to collegiate esports and look forward to partnering to bring compelling rivalry matches and broadcasts to our fans around the country.”
“We are honored to have earned the trust and respect of all the BIG EAST schools and conference leadership,” said Eric Johnson, CEO, EGF. “EGF is attracting teams who want to play against the biggest and best programs across the country for a national championship, want to have a voice and a stake in their governance, and want a partner who has the students’ passions as the top priority.
In addition to the BIG EAST’s conference wide affiliation with EGF, a growing number of other colleges and Universities are selecting EGF not only based on their competitive governance, but their commitment to serving esports communities and teams on campus and virtually through strategic partnerships, educational development, wellness, diversity and inclusion and industry leadership programs.
The esports (competitive video games) has generated more than $1 billion globally in 2019 and is expanding exponentially throughout 2020. By 2022, the growth of esports from a competition and viewer standpoint is expected to exceed 300 million participants. Division I collegiate programs began in earnest in 2015 and now feature more than 100 teams in the U.S.
ASA Entertainment announced today that the Super Girl Gamer Pro will return for its fourth year as a celebration of women in gaming. The series will run for 10 weeks beginning with weekly online qualifier tournaments from July 10 – September 6 as a lead-up to the Super Girl Gamer Pro Championships, which will be held October 3-4 in conjunction with the Super Girl Pro Festival in Oceanside, Calif. The Super Girl Gamer Pro will host open tournaments in three popular esports titles: League of Legends, Hearthstone, and Counter-Strike: GlobalOffensive. Past competitors have included some of the world’s top female pros including Stephanie “MissHarvey” Harvey (Quebec City, Quebec, Canada), Emmalee “EMUHLEET” Garrido (Los Angeles, Calif.) and more.
“This is a really important series for women, and I am so happy to be a part of it,” said Garrido, Captain of the women’s CS:GO team for Dignitas. “It’s such a great step for Super Girl Gamer to expand its reach to women throughout North America via the online qualifying series. Most people recognize how critical it is to create meaningful opportunities for women, and it’s been gratifying to watch the progress Super Girl has made over the past few years.”
“As part of our mission to provide opportunities for women in male-dominated industries, we are excited to expand the Super Girl Gamer Pro to include an online qualifying series,” said Rick Bratman, CEO of ASA Entertainment and producer of the Super Girl Series. “This is an exceptionally important initiative given the lack of opportunity and general toxicity towards women in gaming. The Super Girl Gamer Pro’s empowerment platform is the perfect vehicle to help propel this movement towards equality and inclusion.”
Players and teams will earn their spots into the Championships through a cumulative ranking points system based on their results from the weekly online qualifier tournaments.
The Super Girl Gamer Pro is the only female-driven, multi-title esports tournament series in the U.S. It was launched four years ago to provide a platform for female gamers in a safe environment and to help both inspire and empower women to take a larger role within esports. Ultimately, the goal is to facilitate a future where women and men have an equal playing field within the gaming industry. As part of the Super Girl mission to provide opportunities for women in traditionally male-dominated industries, this unique series offers female gamers across North America of all skill levels a path towards greater recognition, access and acceptance.
Registration for all tournaments isFREE and will be held through ChallengerMode (https://www.challengermode.com/s/SuperGirl). The online qualifiers and Championship matches will be streamed live on Twitch and Facebook Gaming for more than 225 hours of live streaming content collectively.
Players and teams will compete for a cash prize purse, as well as sponsor prizing at the Championships. Each player and team will also be able to apply for a Super Girl Travel Fund to help with financial assistance to and from the live event. With this, we hope to help lower the barrier even further and give accessibility to as many female gamers as possible.
The Super Girl Gamer Pro Series and its message is supported by brands that are passionate about the importance of this platform and want to take a leadership role in developing equality for women in gaming – GameStop, the US Air Force, Nissan, Zenni Gaming, Facebook Gaming, Twitch and the US Marines are just a few of the partners using their voice to amplify the Super Girl values.
During a time of casino closures and league shutdowns, Colorado bettors have shown their willingness to engage with the state’s newly regulated sports betting offer. Since launching on May 1, the state has generated $25.5 million in gross, unaudited sports betting revenue. In a recent survey by ColoradoSharp.com, 75% of respondents said they would return to casinos “as soon as they’re open.” All signs point to a statewide boom for betting revenue when full-fledged gambling returns to The Centennial State.
“Colorado’s month-one results cement the state as a leader in the US gambling arena. $25 million in revenue is impressive on its own, and it’s even more impressive when you consider how sparse the gambling options are during a globally trying time,” said Chris Nesi, Managing Editor for ColoradoSharp.com. “This first month showcases the strength of the Colorado gaming industry, and I think we’ll continue to see impressive numbers from the state in the future.”
The Covid-19 pandemic hit Colorado hard. Related closures resulted in revenue loss nearing $100 million through April 30 alone. However, amid a challenging time for the state, Colorado’s successful first month of sports betting generated more than $25 million. Compared to Indiana’s launch month, the number is particularly impressive: Indiana earned $35 million in October 2019 when it debuted sports betting absent any casino closures. Colorado’s success in light of league cancellations and virtually no casino activity bodes well for the future of sports betting in the state. The first month’s $25 million signals a general desire for betting in Colorado, a conclusion supported by ColoradoSharp.com’s recent casino reopening survey.
In the survey, three-quarters of participants said they would return to casinos as soon as they reopen, even though the state has no current timeline for reopening land-based casinos or sportsbooks. The survey showcased Colorado’s excitement for gambling’s return, though not without some caution. 75% of survey takers intend to wear a mask when visiting a casino, and 50% said it is “very important” that casinos take social distancing safety measures upon reopening.
The exciting world of Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be the subject of the Gaming Standards Association’s (GSA) latest Technology Summit (GSATS), “Focus on Artificial Intelligence.” This crucial technology event for the gaming industry takes place November 6 and 7 at the Hyatt Regency in San Diego, Calif.
AI is defined as “the ability for computer-based programs to parse large volumes of data, identify patterns, learn those patterns, discern probable outcomes and make recommended actions based on that learning.”
As defined, AI has great applicability in the global gaming industry with use cases ranging from responsible gaming, such as, the early identification of potential problem gamers based on analysis of actions and the evaluation of pertinent big data, to tracking patrons feelings and analyzing their needs and interests allowing for the creation of better gaming experiences, anti-money laundering, identifying most valuable players, identifying efficiencies for revenue maximization, and a host of others.
Leading AI experts from around the world are scheduled to present at the event, including:
Dr. Stasi Baran ~ COO, nQube Data Science Inc.
Mr. Kiran Brahmandam ~ CEO, Gaming Analytics
Mr. Andrew Cardno ~ CEO, Innovation Gaming Group
Dr. Gavin Clarkson ~ Managing Director, Native American Capital
Mr. Simo Dragicevic ~ Founder and CEO BetBuddy, a Playtech Company
Mr. John English ~ Partner, MD Sports and Technology, Global Market Advisors
Mr. Earle Hall ~ CEO AXES.ai
Mr. Tim Huckaby ~ Founder and Executive Chairman, VSBLTY
Mr. Amit Likhyani ~ Account Executive, Dynatrace
Mr. Mark Pace ~ Managing Director, GSA Europe
Mr. Clayton Peister ~ Managing Director, Differential Labs
Mr. Joseph Pisano ~ Founder and CEO, Jade Group Companies
Mr. Nimish Purohit ~ Sr. Director, Tech. Compliance, Aristocrat Technologies
Mr. Travis Siegfried ~ Global Cognitive AI & Vision Solution Eng., IBM
Dr. Ralph Thomas ~ Founder and President, Education Revolution LLC
Mr. Markus Van Kempen ~ Corporate Strategy Executive, IBM
Dr. Johannes Wilms ~ Sr. Data Scientist, NOVOMATIC AG
Mr. George Yang ~ Founder and CEO, AI PROS
GSA is gratified to recognize our event sponsors: Diamond sponsor AXES.ai, a Cloud Information Management Platform that licenses actionable intelligence and applications to the Global Gaming & Amusement Industry and Platinum NOVOMATIC AG, a producer of high-tech gaming equipment and operator of electronic casinos, regular casinos and sports betting outlets, as well as a technology and service partner in the lottery segment.
The rise of eSports is largely due to the vast extent of media platforms such as Twitch or YouTube. Previously, Twitch dominated the eSports media industry as many top players across various games live streamed on the platform. However, as the industry continues to ramp up, others want to get involved in the marketplace. Notably, Microsoft has its own platform called Mixer and while it is relatively small compared to Twitch or YouTube, the platform is growing.
Recently, top eSports influencer, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins signed a deal with Mixer to exclusively stream on its platform, leaving Twitch behind. Ninja was one of the top streamers on Twitch, boasting over 14.7 million followers. Ninja attributes to his success to Twitch and Fortnite, which has led him to accumulate over a total of 270 million viewing hours since January 2018. To put it into perspective, Riot Games, owner of League of Legends, accumulated 165 million hours, while individual streamers such as Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek and Turner “Tfue” Tenney have reported 144 million and 105 million hours, respectively. Ninja, who is also an individual streamer, has more than 100 hours of viewership compared to Riot Games, which is multi-international gaming franchise corporation. While Twitch does dominate the eSports media scene, other platforms have also become increasingly popular such as Facebook Live, Smashcast, and Bigo. Aside from free online platforms, large corporations such as Disney and Comcast have also dove into the industry. And with the evolving eSports scene, competition among media companies could potentially grow even larger as they try to secure the media rights to livestreams and tournaments. According to data compiled by Infoholic Research, the global eSports market is expected to triple by 2025, reaching a value of USD 3 Billion. Additionally, the market is expected to exhibit a CAGR of 20% during the forecast period from 2019 to 2025. UMG Media Ltd. (TSX-V: ESPT), Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC), Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO), Western Digital Corporation (NASDAQ: WDC), Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (NASDAQ: MRVL).
At its inception, eSport just involved a group of friends creating a team and competing against others. Since the birth of games, there has always been a competitive aspect to the industry, whether in the original Pac-Mac or the latest edition of Call of Duty. A multitude of players has been attracted to the idea of winning and climbing the leaderboard, which is why the eSports industry grew at such a remarkable pace. Now, games such as Fortnite and League of Legends have pushed eSports into mainstream media, allowing organizers to create multi-million dollar tournaments. The attractive grand prize pools have prompted teams from around the world to strive to become the best of the best, which is why some teams have become more business oriented rather than just a group of friends. In particular, games with a large fan and player base generally offer the highest prize tournaments. And with the large sum of monetary prizes in combination with popular professional players, a large audience is expected to be drawn in.
The larger the audience and the longer the viewing hours, the higher a company can monetize the broadcast. Similar to sports, many broadcasting and media companies are aggressively pushing to obtain the media rights for specific sports teams or tournaments. For instance, one of the largest sports networks, YES Network, broadcasts games for the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Nets and is a template others want to emulate. The network owns exclusive media rights to the teams, meaning that if other companies want to broadcast a Yankees or Nets game, they would need to negotiate a deal or pay the network.
Steve Arhancet, Co-Chief Executive Officer and Owner of Team Liquid said in an interview last year with CNBC’s “Fast Money,” that media streaming providers are pursuing to own the exclusive rights to broadcast League of Legends. League of Legends is a prime target for many companies because of its large audience. In 2018, League of Legends World Finals had nearly 100 million viewers. The impressive number only means more monetization for media companies. “Media rights have to do with the exclusive right to broadcast the League, and there’s plenty of interest in the space,” he said. “You’ve got Twitch, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, kind of all vying for these rights.”
UMG Media Ltd. (TSX-V: ESPT) announced earlier last week that, “Legends were made and champions were crowned this weekend in New York City at the Fortnite World Cup. With over $30,000,000USD awarded to players in the Solos, Duos, Creative and Pro/AM World Championships, countless lives were changed from a few flights on Fortnite’s Battle Bus.
Out of the four world championship events, all four were won by players of UMG’s Friday Fortnite. Bugha, a 16-year old reigning from Pennsylvania just won the most recent Friday Fortnite on July 19, 2019 and went on to win $3,000,000USD and claim the title of Fortnite World Champion. Aquaa took home $1,500,000USD in the duos championship. Friday Fortnite regulars, Cizzorz and Airwaks won the Creative World Championship and Pro/AM at the World Cup respectively. Countless other Friday Fortnite competitors finished top ten in the world taking home a combined $9,287,500.
UMG’s CEO, Dave Antony had this to say regarding UMG series players performance at the World Cup:
‘I want to congratulate everyone who participated in the Fortnite World Cup on their achievements and give a special shoutout to the four newly crowned world champions who participate in UMG’s broadcast events, along with all other UMG players at the event. Everyone at UMG loves the game, the competitions and most importantly the players and community. We look forward to kicking off more Fortnite initiatives through the remainder of 2019 to give more players a platform to kickoff their competitive gaming careers.’
UMG has increased their Fortnite offerings in the recent months to meet the demand set forth by the competitive gaming community for their competitions. Since 2019 started, UMG has had over 110,000 Fortnite tournament signups. Between the gaming platform and their initiatives on the influencer side, UMG is in a unique situation to capture a large percent of the Fortnite market.
World’s Fastest Gamer season two will bring together ten of the fastest esports racers on the planet to battle it out to win a year of racing for real at some of the world’s most iconic circuits.
The winner will become a professional driver and race Aston Martins with R-Motorsport at iconic circuits including Monza, Paul Ricard, Brands Hatch, Nurburgring, and in the Spa-Francorchamps and Daytona 24 hours.
Eight finalists come from the biggest esports racing championships of 2019. Two more will enter via wildcard qualifiers held in the coming weeks, one exclusively on mobile on the Gear.Club app, the other online on rFactor 2.
Finalists will undergo rigorous selection trials in the UK with the top six flying to R-Motorsport’s HQ in St. Gallen, Switzerland. Two will go through an intensive four-day set of challenges and will compete in an on-track shootout at the Hockenheim finale for Germany’s “Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters” – DTM.
Head judge Juan Pablo Montoya and WFG season one winner Rudy Van Buren will decide who has what it takes to claim the prize worth more than $1 Million.
Indy 500, Monaco Grand Prix and Daytona 24 hours winner Montoya is well placed to pick a worthy winner.
“I have raced online for several years and use simulators to stay sharp,” Montoya said. “I know there is huge talent in the virtual world because gamers regularly beat me! I know the skills between real and virtual are transferable, so my job on WFG is to make sure these gamers are hungry and perform under pressure.”
Van Buren became a Formula 1 simulator driver with his WFG season one victory. His story was watched by millions online and reached 400 million households on networks including ESPN, CNBC, Sky and Fox.
World’s Fastest Gamer founder, Millennial Esports Corp. (“Millennial” or the “Company”, TSX VENTURE: GAME,OTCQB: MLLLF) President, Darren Cox, believes the competition has the potential to unearth real-world motorsport talent.
“Esports racing has grown significantly since our first project more than ten years ago, but still there is a huge undiscovered talent pool out there,” Cox said.
“WFG is the bridge between the virtual and real worlds and we will again provide unparalleled access to both sides of our sport through all digital and broadcast platforms.”
Founded in 2014, R-Motorsport has established itself as one of the world’s top GT racing teams.
“In our short history R-Motorsport have had great success and impact on track with Aston Martin,” R Motorsport’s Co-owner and Team Principal Florian Kamelger said. “With Darren’s team at Millennial Esports we now have a foot in the virtual world that provides our partners with a new platform within motorsport.”
The R-Motorsport squad has extensive experience racing Aston Martin entries in high level global motorsport championships including the Intercontinental GT Challenge, the Blancpain GT Series and the world’s most important international touring car championship, the DTM.
“This project shows the increasing interest in Aston Martin in the real and virtual world and I am confident that this will catapult our brand to leaders in the burgeoning esports space,” said Aston Martin President and Group CEO, Andy Palmer.