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IBM Enters Esports Arena with Activision Blizzard in New Multi-Year Deal as the Presenting Partner of the Overwatch League Grand Finals

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IBM Enters Esports Arena with Activision Blizzard in New Multi-Year Deal as the Presenting Partner of the Overwatch League Grand Finals
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IBM to help power interactive and analytical content for the Overwatch League, engaging fans and players through cloud, IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence, and machine learning

Today, IBM and the Overwatch League™, the world’s first global esports league with 20 city-based teams, announced its first-of-a-kind multi-year deal to bring IBM’s cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI) technology to esports. A sponsorship component kicks off at this year’s 2020 Overwatch League Grand Finals, which started Oct. 8 and run through Oct. 10. With the agreement – IBM’s first-ever esports deal – the technology leader becomes the official AI, cloud, and analytics sponsor of the Overwatch League. The deal covers the 2020 Grand Finals and the entirety of the 2021 and 2022 Overwatch League seasons.

Through the course of the deal, IBM and the Overwatch League plan to leverage IBM’s suite of advanced cloud and AI products. Starting in 2021, IBM and the Overwatch League will be working closely to develop technology solutions leveraging IBM’s expertise in natural language processing and machine learning to improve the league’s rankings system, and utilize IBM’s Watson AI capabilities to create live and in-broadcast predictive analysis, with specific solutions currently under development.

“We’re constantly striving to give fans the ability to more meaningfully engage with the Overwatch League, and teaming up with IBM enables us to do just that,” said Brandon Snow, Chief Revenue Officer of Activision Blizzard Esports. “IBM’s cutting-edge AI and machine learning, underpinned by cloud technologies, will help enable us to bring interactive and innovative engagement opportunities to our fans and teams. This is a fantastic benefit to our viewers, and we’re very excited to be announcing it during the biggest event of our season.”

“We’re thrilled to bring our world class Cloud platforms and Watson portfolio to one of the leading esports platforms in the world,” said Noah Syken, Vice President of Sports & Entertainment Partnerships, IBM. “The solutions we’re partnering to create can help the organizations, players, and fans enjoy an even more immersive, engaging experience. We look forward to working with the Overwatch League, to bring innovative solutions at scale, to broad and relevant audiences.”

The sponsorship with the Overwatch League will kick off in 2021 and include new solutions, that plan to be hosted on the IBM Cloud. Those solutions, which are currently under development, will leverage IBM’s suite of analytics tools to process in-match data, adding Watson’s AI capabilities through the use of Watson Machine Learning and the AutoAI functionality within Watson Studio. Additionally, the solutions will find new ways to showcase the wide array of historical statistics that the Overwatch League gets from live play.

The announcement of IBM and the Overwatch League teaming together is IBM’s first foray into the global world of esports and joins an impressive list of sports and entertainment partnerships that IBM technology powers around the world. IBM has been a part of gaming history as a hardware manufacturer, chip creator, and software provider for developers since 1985. Over the past 35 years, IBM has worked with gaming and esports entities through PowerPC processors, NLP, and cloud technology.

IBM has been a long-time partner to a range of sports organizations, teams, and events, including tennis (US Open and Wimbledon), golf (The Masters), football (via ESPN Fantasy Football), and the GRAMMY Awards. Through IBM’s partnerships, including IBM’s new engagement with the Overwatch League, IBM is able to reimagine sports, and entertainment experiences for fans, players and coaches alike, leveraging the flexibility of the hybrid cloud, and other AI-powered solutions.

 

SOURCE IBM

eSports

ESL FACEIT Group releases documentary detailing the fight for women’s equality in esports and the efforts of the ESL Impact circuit

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The ESL FACEIT Group, the world’s largest esports and gaming company, has released “Making an Impact 2023” [available here], a documentary highlighting the work done via ESL Impact toward promoting women’s esports and levelling the playing field—revealing a powerful narrative that shatters barriers, defies stereotypes and fosters an environment that’s representative and inclusive for all.

The documentary follows teams of women competing at ESL Impact live events and Global Finals at DreamHack Dallas and DreamHack Valencia. The esports athletes featured discuss the ups and downs of competition, team dynamics and the pressure to win before a backdrop of toxicity and sexism endemic to esports, including Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken, Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski, Ksenia “vilga” Klyuenkova and Mounira “GooseBreeder” Dobie.

ESL Impact was launched at the beginning of 2022 as part of ESL FACEIT Group’s (EFG) #GGFORALL program. For over two years, it has set a standard for supporting DE&I in Counter-Strike esports by providing women teams, broadcast talent, and support staff additional opportunities to follow their dreams of being a part of the professional esports scene.

Over the past four seasons, the ecosystem has cemented itself as the hold for premier women’s Counter-Strike competition, and created critical pipelines for players and teams to grow – the league has increased participation in women’s esports by 25 percent and empowered women to break into the traditionally male-dominated industry.

Happy to connect you with a member of the ESL Impact team to learn more about what’s revealed in the documentary, the broader issues of toxicity within gaming and the powerful effect the circuit is having on women’s esports.

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eSports

LEON.BET partners with 9INE to become their Exclusive Online Betting House

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We at LEON.BET are thrilled to announce our partnership with 9INE, one of Europe’s top esports organizations known for their focus on Counter-Strike 2 (CS2). This partnership will take esports betting to a new level, offering fans exclusive content and exciting new ways to engage with their favorite games.

As a leading online betting platform, LEON.BET offers a wide range of betting options across sports, casino and esports. Our user-friendly interface, competitive odds, and commitment to fair play have made us a trusted name worldwide. We’re also dedicated to supporting young talents, believing it’s the key to a bright and promising future.

Through this partnership, we aim to combine 9INE’s expertise in competitive gaming with our innovative betting platform. This will create a more immersive experience for esports fans, providing new and exciting betting opportunities along with exclusive behind-the-scenes content.

“We are extremely happy to start our cooperation with 9INE. Recent changes to their roster show huge potential, and we at LEON.BET want to be part of that journey,” said our CGO.

“Together with 9INE, we will create a fantastic space for esports enthusiasts. Supporting young talents is at the core of LEON.BET’s development strategy, and we see great future and prospects in this path.”

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eSports

CopyBet partners with TrueLayer to enhance customer experience

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CopyBet has today announced a partnership with TrueLayer, Europe’s leading open banking payments network, to enable instant deposits and withdrawal payments for UK customers.

Players can now select the Instant Bank Payment option to immediately pay into their accounts on the CopyBet app or website. They can also use the Instant Bank Payment option to transfer their winnings to their bank account within seconds.

Anton Ivanov, Business Development Director, CopyBet UK, said: “We are always looking for ways to improve our customer experience, and this is a crucial partnership to take the CopyBet Sportsbook to the next level. By using TrueLayer technology, we can offer customers a best-in-class payment solution that is reliable, protected, and user-friendly.”

Roberto Villani, VP of iGaming, TrueLayer, said: “Providing fast, frictionless pay-ins and payouts is key to winning and retaining players. We’re proud to partner with CopyBet to help provide the instant experience customers demand.”

Payments from TrueLayer are authenticated directly with a customer’s bank, ensuring PSD2 and SCA compliance and significantly reducing the risk of fraud and unauthorised transactions.

CopyBet recently announced a deal to become the official front of shirt partner of Queens Park Rangers Football Club for the next two seasons. It also boasts former Premier League football legend, Shay Given, and talented Irish jockey, Jonathan Burke, as brand ambassadors.

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