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Head Of Esports For Data Company Sportradar Departs After Investigation, Gambling On Matches



Head Of Esports For Data Company Sportradar Departs
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Sports data company Sportradar parted ways with its head of esports following the revelation that he was betting on esports matches.

Sportradar issued a statement on Tuesday about the investigation and indicated to Legal Sports Report that only small amounts of money were wagered on matches. The company also said that the Esports Integrity Coalition — with which Sportradar partners — found no reason to believe that the company’s integrity services for esports were in any way compromised.

Sportradar provides data streams for many sports, not just esports, to bookmakers while simultaneously using that data to help ensure integrity in matches as it relates to wagering.

What happened at Sportradar

Sportradar reported that James Watson, who led the company’s esports division, would leave the company after an internal investigation. The company indicated Watson had bet on esports at the licensed esports betting site Unikrn, in violation of company policy.

The issue came to light several weeks ago, when the CEO of Unikrn, Rahul Sood, publicly called out Watson’s wagering.

Sportradar said, however, that “no evidence was found to suggest that James was using privileged information to bet” on matches. Still, Sportradar details in contracts of employees that they cannot bet on matches, no matter the amounts wagered, and treats the policy as a matter of black and white.

Statement from Sportradar

Here’s the full statement from Sportradar:

On 14th March 2018, Rahul Sood, CEO of Unikrn made some allegations on Twitter against Sportradar’s Head of Esports, James Watson. These allegations related to James’ activities on Unikrn’s own Esports betting platform, and Discord, Unikrn’s text and voice communication platform for gamers. 

The following morning, Sportradar issued a response stating that the allegations were taken seriously and that an internal review was underway in order to assess the allegations made.

That review process is now complete and focused on the two core allegations: 

That James had placed bets with Unikrn; and

That James had placed those bets using privileged information obtained in his position as Head of Esports at Betradar.

The internal inquiry, was led by two of the most senior management in the company.  Importantly, no evidence was found to suggest that James was using privileged information to bet, nor that he bet on any events where integrity concerns were raised by ESIC (Esports Integrity Coalition). Furthermore, there was no evidence to suggest that he was engaged in any manipulation of pricing for the purposes of betting through any of his online activity.

However, it was clear that James placed a series of low-level bets with Unikrn. Sportradar has a strict policy in relation to employees betting and takes the integrity of its operations very seriously. As a result it has been mutually agreed that James will leave Sportradar. 

In addition, Ian Smith from ESIC conducted an independent assessment of our findings. He concurred with the outlined conclusions. There had been no compromise in the integrity work that Sportradar undertakes in the field of Esports.

The ESIC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Sportradar handles issue quickly, publicly

Sportradar is set to be at the epicenter of the possible expansion of US sports betting, as it works with a variety of sports leagues and bookmakers around the world to provide both data streams and integrity services. Sportradar has relationships with numerous pro sports leagues, including the NBA.

Because of the nature of its work, Sportradar acting decisively and publicly was a good move. If it’s going to be entrusted with integrity monitoring in the US, such actions are necessary, both for optics and in practice.

It likely could have swept this issue under the rug or even handled it entirely in-house, had it chosen to do so, with few if any repercussions. Instead, it owned the issue.






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PUBG MOBILE Esports is thrilled to announce that the 2024 PUBG MOBILE Global Championship (PMGC) will be held in the UK, taking place live next December with a $3 million prize pool. The first time a major PUBG MOBILE event has been hosted in the UK, this tournament will bring local fans a unique opportunity to see the very best skill that the world has to offer. This news comes ahead of this year’s 2023 PUBG MOBILE Grand Finals in Istanbul.

James Yang, Senior Director of PUBG MOBILE Global Esports, announced the news during the opening ceremony of the 2023 PMGC Grand Finals, with the exact UK location to be revealed at a later date. This is the first time a major PUBG MOBILE event has been held in the country and the first in Western Europe since 2018.

The highlight of the PUBG MOBILE Esports calendar, the PMGC brings together dozens of teams from around the world to compete in the ultimate showcase of talent. This year’s Grand Finals are taking place this weekend in Istanbul, Türkiye, where the final sixteen teams remaining in the competition will battle it out to become PUBG MOBILE World Champion.

Joining next year’s PMGC in the top tier of PUBG MOBILE Esports events, as well as next year’s midseason tournament in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, is the PUBG MOBILE Global Open (PMGO), which will take place in Brazil throughout March and April 2024 and feature a $500,000 prize pool.

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Global Esports Federation joins UNESCO Chair on Governance & Social Responsibility



Global Esports Federation joins UNESCO Chair on Governance & Social Responsibility
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The Global Esports Federation is honored by the appointment of Thanos Karagrounas, GEF’s Executive Director, Strategy & Impact, as a member of the Advisory Committee of the UNESCO Chair on Governance and Social Responsibility in Sport.

The UNESCO Chair was established in June 2023 with the long-term aim of fostering an integrated system of research, education, and training to enhance the quality of governance practices within the sport industry and advocate socially responsible program designs that prioritize sport as a core component.

As a global leader in the realm of sustainable development and social impact, Thanos Karagrounas has been appointed to play a pivotal role in the Advisory Committee, co-coordinating one of the six strategic pillars on esports.

“It is a distinct honor to be a member of this esteemed group of internationally renowned experts. The opportunity to combine our diverse experiences and perspectives will contribute to the Chair’s objectives. The inclusion of esports as one of the UNESCO Chair’s six strategic pillars, underscores the important role GEF is playing in the governance and social responsibility realm and our commitment towards making an impact on a global scale.” ~ Thanos Karagrounas, GEF Executive Director, Strategy & Impact

The GEF convenes its #worldconnected esports community, harnessing the energy to drive meaningful progress. As a member of the Advisory Committee, the GEF looks forward to contributing its expertise to accelerate its overall contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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Stryda VALORANT Nordic Clash partners with talents for the Grand Finals



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The upcoming Stryda VALORANT Nordic Clash Grand Finals promise an unforgettable experience thanks to their talented hosts. Nonno “Nymy” Rydgren, a well-know esports player and content creator for Fnatic Network, will team up with Melanie “Yuna” Hecht, the Captain & Flex IGL for Heat Esports, to guide viewers through the thrilling event.

Stryda VALORANT Nordic Clash is part of the VALORANT Championship Tour OFF//SEASON in partnership with Riot Games, and it’s open to all skill levels with a prize pool of $20,000. The Qualifiers are now over, and the Grand Finals are set for December 9th and 10th, with a live stream on Sunday, December 10th.

In an exclusive interview, Nymy and Yuna shared their journeys, memorable moments, team predictions, and advice for aspiring gamers. They also emphasized the importance of women in gaming and the potential for mixed-gender teams in esports.

Nymy encouraged female players: “Keep grinding, keep your mental up, keep pushing, and don’t give up. There are so many talented GC players out there and hopefully, in the future, we get to see mixed teams competing together. The GC scene is so wholesome and supportive which is lovely to see and experience.”

Yuna added, “Riot is doing a great job in supporting the game-changer scene. In the future, I can definitely see mixed teams too on VCT stages. For the lovely ladies, don’t give up, keep improving, go for your goals, get an aim routine, watch VODs and you will be able to play on stages with some practice.”

The Grand Finals promise exciting matches, featuring standout contenders like OnlyFins and Wintermint. Watch the action live on December 10, 2023, on the tournament’s Twitch channel. For highlights, visit their YouTube channel. Stay connected with the hosts here:

Nymy on Twitch and X (Ex Twitter)
Yuna on X (Ex Twitter)
About Stryda VALORANT Nordic Clash:
Esports powerhouse Stryda has again joined forces with RIOT Games to announce the Stryda VALORANT Nordic Clash championship. This much-anticipated tournament calls on gamers of all levels to showcase their skills against one another across the Nordic region.

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