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F1 Esports Series presented by Aramco returns remotely for fourth season with record prize fund

George Miller

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George Russell and Alex Albon lead the line-up for final Virtual Grand Prix event
Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

Formula 1® has announced the F1 Esports Series presented by Aramco will return for a fourth season, with one of the biggest cash prize funds in sports simulation esports on offer at $750,000. The action gets underway with the “Pro Draft Reveal Show” on 27 August 2020, where the official F1 teams will reveal their selected roster of talented drivers. A record breaking number of participants of over 237,000 attempted to qualify for this year’s competition as F1 Esports continues to enjoy its most exciting year yet.

As with other major sporting events, the F1 Esports Pro Series, which will take place this autumn, has adapted to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and will therefore be operating remotely in 2020, with competitors racing from their own homes and team factories to ensure the safety of all the teams and drivers involved.

The F1 Esports Series has been more anticipated than ever before following the success of the Virtual Grand Prix series, which featured a host of sports and music stars and achieved over 30m views globally across eight events between March and June this year. The 2019 F1 Esports Series saw Ferrari’s David Tonizza crowned drivers’ champion alongside Red Bull, who took home the constructor’s championship, with over 8.7m viewers across digital platforms and TV, and 169m social media impressions, making it the most successful season to date.

MAKING THE CUT AT THE “PRO DRAFT REVEAL SHOW”

This season’s “Pro Draft Reveal Show” will air on 27 August, where teams will announce their line-ups for the 2020 season for the first time, with each team required to add at least one qualifying draft member to their three-driver roster from a group of 45 qualifiers. The 2020 qualfication routes saw record participation of over 237,000 entrants, a growth of +118% from 109,000 in 2019, with players competing on traditional consoles and also mobile for the first time.

All Pro Draft qualifying drivers are available for selection, with no knockout racing qualification as the series adapts to a shorter process due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the online draft and team picks will take place online in advance.

For the first time, the two winners of the highly successful inaugural season of the F1 Esports Series China Championship (organised by licensed partner Juss Intellisports), Tang Tianyu and Yuan Yifan, will also be available for team selection after their success in last year’s regional campaign, where they came out on top as the fastest two drivers in the competition.

A BIGGER AND BETTER PRO SERIES

The Pro Series will run between October – December, following the same format as last season with a 12-round championship made up of four online events featuring three races, but races will now be run at an increased distance of 35%. There will also be a new full qualifying format for the 2020 season in line with real-life F1 World Championship.

F1 Esports Pro Series drivers will be racing on a bespoke version of the recently released F1 2020 official video game developed by Codemasters, with equipment provided by official supplier Fanatec, the world leader in professional simulator hardware, for a third season. Points scoring will once again follow real-life World Championship rules, with F1’s Official Logistics Partner DHL rewarding an extra point to the driver with the fastest lap.

MORE CONTENT THAN EVER BEFORE

This year’s Pro Series will provide fans with more content than ever before with eight live broadcasts, doubling last season’s offering. There will be live racing on Wednesday and Thursday across an event week, and this season will also see the introduction of supplementary livestreamed qualifying sessions on both days further adding to the content proposition for fans across the globe.

The F1 Esports Pro Series 2020 will be broadcast on F1’s social channels (Facebook, YouTube, Twitch and Huya), as well as select TV broadcast partners, with two live shows per event from the Gfinity Arena.

Julian Tan, Head of Digital Business Initiatives and Esports said:

“F1 Esports has had a huge year with the massive success of the Virtual Grand Prix series that we ran through lockdown. This has set us up well for the launch of the 2020 F1 Esports Series which will be our biggest and most innovative season yet. With over 237,000 participants this year, up from 109,000 participants in 2019, we are seeing incredible growth. We also continue to push boundaries by offering our largest ever cash prize fund of $750,000 which is industry-leading as well as continue to innovate by adapting quickly in the current landscape and operating the series entirely remotely as we look to ensure an enjoyable, but safe, Pro Series this year – we can’t wait to get started!”

Frank Sagnier, Codemasters CEO said:

“The appetite for F1® content has never been greater. We saw tremendous success from the Virtual Grand Prix Series, and that momentum has carried through to the launch of F1® 2020. It’s now time for the esports professionals to rise to the challenge. The 2020 F1 Esports Series presented by Aramco promises to be the most exciting and competitive to date. We can’t wait for the virtual racing to begin.”

John Clarke, Gfinity Chief Executive Officer said:

“The F1 Esports Series goes from strength to strength. Formula 1 has benefited from being an early adopter in the gaming space, with millions of young fans now engaging with the series. It is hitting the right notes in terms of driver performance, competitive racing and all round entertaining content. This year is going to raise the bar even higher. Expect high octane racing with lots of tension. Gfinity is proud to be a long-term esports operator for F1 and be at the heart of the design and delivery of this industry-leading competition”.

 

2020 F1 Esports Series presented by Aramco:

Teams
Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN F1 Esports Mercedes-AMG Petronas Esports Team
BWT Racing Point F1 Esports Team Red Bull Racing Esports
FDA Hublot Esports Team Renault Vitality
Haas F1 Team Esports Scuderia AlphaTauri Esports Team
McLaren Shadow Williams Esports

 

Asia

Leading EA SPORTS FIFA Online 4 players to compete in ePremier League China

George Miller

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Leading EA SPORTS FIFA Online 4 players to compete in ePremier League China
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

The Premier League, in partnership with Tencent Sports, Tencent Gaming and EA SPORTS, is launching ePremier League China later this month, the first ePremier League event to be staged outside the UK.

Some of the best Chinese gamers on EA SPORTS FIFA Online 4 will represent all 20 Premier League clubs alongside hand-picked content creators and influencers. They will compete together in a group stage to determine who reaches the finals in May. The tournament will be streamed live by Tencent across China and kicks off on Wednesday 28 April.

Premier League Commercial Director Will Brass said: “The EA SPORTS FIFA Online 4 video game series is one of the key channels through which fans in Asia can engage with Premier League clubs and players. After three successful ePremier League seasons in the UK, it is exciting to now be able to take this overseas for the first time and particularly to China – a hotbed for gaming and football.

“We are looking forward to working closely with EA SPORTS and our broadcast partner Tencent Sports to showcase some of the world’s best gamers in action. I am sure it will prove popular with the loyal and passionate supporters of Premier League clubs in China.”

Matches will be played on EA SPORTS FIFA Online 4 (FO4) on PC, which has more than 10 million registered players in China. Each of the 20 Premier League clubs will be represented in the tournament by two local players – one high-ranking gamer on the FO4 leader board and one influencer.

This will include famous esports commentator Guan Zeyuan and the well-known FIFA Online influencer Shen Rongjie.

The clubs will be divided into four groups of five teams, with the winners of each group advancing to a knockout stage. Group-stage matches will be played online, whereas knockout matches will be played offline at Wisdom Bay in Shanghai.

Group matches will take place between Wednesday 28 April and Saturday 8 May. The knockout phase will be held on Friday 14 May, with the Grand Final on Saturday 15 May.

The ePremier League China tournament will further complement the Premier League’s digital offerings in the country, where it has more than eight million followers across its digital and social platforms.

The tournament is being broadcast on Tencent Sports, Tencent Video and Tencent News. It will also be available on Huya, Douyu and Yizhibo.

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eSports

Guild Esports Signs Rocket League Creator D7RL

George Miller

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Guild Esports Signs Rocket League Creator D7RL
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Newest addition brings the first French-Language creator to the #GuildGang 

Today, Guild Esports announces the signing of European leading Rocket League content creator Dawson “D7RL” Berbuntes, which continues to strengthen Guild’s Rocket League offering.

After the professional team’s recent RLCS European victory, Guild has diversified its entertainment offering with a French-language creator; launching in partnership with Subway, Guild has ensured it will continue to create authentic content and support local-market creators all around the world.

At 20 years old, ex-professional player D7RL has established himself as one of Europe’s biggest Rocket League content creators. After playing three years professionally, D7RL turned his focus to content creation and has since seen incredible growth. He has over 350,000 combined followers across Twitch, YouTube, TikTok, Instagram & Twitter, and has grown over 40% since January 2021.

D7RL’s largest concentration of fans is on his YouTube channel, where he has over 173,000 subscribers and has amassed an incredible 6.3 million views in the last 30 days alone, which is a 42% increase month on month.

The signing of D7RL follows a string of other creator signings designed to bring Guild fans the very best entertainment, including Nihachu, Snowmixy, Stevie White, Gee Nelly, TN25 & SoMarcus.

Carleton Curtis, Executive Chairman of Guild Esports, said: “I’m incredibly proud to welcome the first French-language content creator to Guild. It is imperative that we are able to provide authentic content to audiences in a manner that resonates with them. D7RL allows us to do this to the French-speaking community and we are excited about the content we’ll be able to create together and expand into this market.”

Danny Lopez, Guild’s Director of Brand & Content, commented: “D7RL joining the #GuildGang brings us our first creator in France continuing our efforts towards global expansion. D7RL also bolsters up our commitment to providing the best in class Rocket League content, expect to see some collaboration with our pro-team in the near future.”

D7RL, said: “It’s a great honour to be joining Guild Esports at a time of incredible growth and success, after the professional team’s recent win at the Spring European Regional I can’t wait to take the Rocket League content to the next level.”

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eSports

Xsolla Unifies Skill-based Gaming and Esports Platform, Monetisation and Subscription Programmes

Niji Narayan

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Xsolla Unifies Skill-based Gaming and Esports Platform, Monetisation and Subscription Programmes
Reading Time: < 1 minute

 

Xsolla, the video game commerce company powered by its Transaction Engine and Business Engine to help developers and publishers market, sell, connect and optimise their games globally, has launched their new esports solution, enabling video game developers, publishers and esports event producers to create engaging fan experiences with safe and secure payment processing, globally.

The new programme provides a straightforward, streamlined solution for the fastest growing entertainment segment worldwide.

With Xsolla’s full suite of products, companies can work with esports properties or build their own esports platform with streamlined payments and subscriptions plans. With programmes that scale from small local skill-based matchups to massive global majors, virtual and in-venue, a range of scalable solutions are available to elevate gameplay in the promotion of a title.

“It’s a great time for companies to engage with esports as the category continues to see major growth, with projections of over $1.1 billion in revenue and nearly 500 million viewers by the end of 2021. Xsolla’s new solution, which we’ll keep adding new tools to based on partner needs, is designed to help companies build or expand their esports presence and monetize their efforts,” Berkley Egenes, VP of Marketing – Game Commerce at Xsolla, said.

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