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Jarno Opmeer and Red Bull lead F1 Esports Pro Series at halfway mark after Zandvoort, Montreal & Spielberg rounds

George Miller

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F1 Esports Series 2020 breaks viewing records and Virtual Grands Prix return to kick-start 2021
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

The F1 Esports Series presented by Aramco continued with three dramatic rounds of racing in Event 2 at Zandvoort, Montreal and Spielberg, as some drivers begin to pull away in the fight for this year’s huge $750,000 prize pot.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic drivers are racing remotely for the first time this year, but the popular live shows continue to be broadcast from the Gfinity Esports Arena in London, as we ensure fans don’t miss a moment of the action.

On Wednesday evening, drivers took to the Circuit Zandvoort, which was due to make a long-awaited return to Formula 1 this season before the pandemic hit, but the action on the virtual version of the F1 2020 official video game developed by Codemasters, did not disappoint. Red Bull’s Frederik Rasmussen took victory in the Event 2 opener for his first win of the season, ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Jarno Opmeer and his teammate Marcel Kiefer who made up the top three.

Wednesday’s double-header continued with a visit to a fan and driver favourite, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. The heavy-braking chicanes made for a tense spectacle, which saw Opmeer take his third victory of the season despite a late collision with Ferrari’s David Tonizza (technical issues meant he was unable to see Tonizza’s car), with Rasmussen and Kiefer also joining him on the podium for the second time that day.

Event 2 ended on Thursday evening where the rescheduled 2020 F1 season began, at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. Despite it being one of the shortest circuits on the calendar, what it lacks in length, it makes up for in speed as we witnessed a high-paced battle to the end, that saw Kiefer take victory for his first win of the season after some fantastic teamwork alongside Rasmussen, who finished in P2 . Opmeer was on the podium again in P3 to finish the first half of the season with a solid result.

This week’s results mean Alfa Romeo’s Opmeer leads the way in the driver standings, whilst Red Bull top the team’s championship at the halfway stage.

Attention now turns to the penultimate event, on 18-19 November, as we get set for another three mouthwatering races at a trio of iconic circuits. Event 3 will see drivers go wheel-to-wheel at Silverstone, before we head to Spa and Monza, in what could be the fastest round of the season.

The live show was streamed online via F1’s official channels on Facebook, YouTube, Twitch and Huya, as well as broadcast by international television partners such as ESPN (US), Sky (UK) and Ziggo (Netherlands).

Following a huge year for F1 Esports, which saw over 30 million people tune in to the Virtual Grand Prix Series, more people than ever want to get involved. The second and final dedicated qualifying event for the 2021 F1 Esports Series is now open until the end of November on F1 2020, the newly-released official videogame developed by Codemasters. For more information visit www.f1esports.com.

Julian Tan, Head of Digital Business Initiatives & Esports at Formula 1 said:

“The F1 Esports Pro Series presented by Aramco continues to deliver as we were treated to three more thrilling races in Event 2 at some fantastic circuits, including a superb first outing at Zandvoort. Jarno Opmeer and Red Bull lead the standings at the halfway mark after some brilliant performances in the first two events, but there is plenty of racing to come this season and I’m looking forward to seeing them fight to keep hold of their leads.”

Frank Sagnier, CEO at Codemasters said:

“Despite lockdown, the F1 Esports Series presented by Aramco continues to lead the way in competitive gaming entertainment. The field is starting to take shape, and it looks like Jarno Opmeer, Marcel Kiefer andFrede Rasmussen are the ones to watch. From an F1 2020 video game perspective, it was terrific to see Circuit Zandvoort make its maiden appearance on the F1 calendar.”

John Clarke, CEO at Gfinity said:

“20 world class drivers, virtually connected from different parts of the world, pushing themselves and their cars to the limits. Event 2 delivered yet again, raising the bar for tension and excitement. Together Gfinity and Formula 1 are demonstrating the future of live sporting broadcasts when participants cannot be in the same location. This is truly a product for the times.”

 

For more information on the F1 Esports Series presented by Aramco visit www.f1esports.com.

eSports

Team Vitality unveils partnership with Garmin

George Miller

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Team Vitality unveils partnership with Garmin
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

The organisation will utilise its experience competing at the highest level of competition to help the watchmaker take its Instinct® Esports Edition to the next level 

Leading global esports organisation Team Vitality is pleased to announce a partnership with the world leader in the connected watch market, Garmin. The partnership will see Garmin supply Team Vitality with its model dedicated to gamers, the Instinct® Esports Edition as the two brands work closely together in R&D to further develop the product.

The Instinct® Esports Edition is based on Garmin’s health and sports technologies, and comprises a specific function dedicated to the analysis of biometric data during the game. The watch analyses and displays, for example, the user’s heart rate and stress level, together with the time and a game timer. Whether it be during the players’ physical preparation or during their games, the watch is fully in line with the team’s new ambitions.

Garmin sat down with Nicolas Maurer, CEO of Team Vitality to discuss the collaboration and the organisation’s approach to the partnership.

“The idea of creating a watch dedicated to gamers is really ingenious,” comments Nicolas Maurer, CEO of Team Vitality. “First, because it did not exist in the esports microcosm, unlike many other sports that have had their own connected watch for a long time. Then, because it will be exciting to follow the evolution and progress of this innovative product. There is so much to create around this watch…” A product stamped ‘Team Vitality’ for example? “Yes, why not! We already have some experience with branded products. It went very well with adidas. It is following the course of our history…”

Team Vitality did not hesitate to join forces with the American equipment manufacturer. First, due to its legitimacy and  investment in the gaming industry  as a technology expert. Then, because Garmin has “a cautious and considerate approach”. “Everyone has their own speciality. Garmin is a technological brand with talented R&D teams. For our part, our knowledge stems from practice and we have very experienced professional players, who have very specific and different expectations depending on the games. Esports is protean, let us not forget about that!”

For the time being, the Garmin and Team Vitality teams have already started brainstorming. The equipment manufacturer is reflecting on how best to work with Team Vitality and what future improvements can be made to the watch to help professional players perform even better. Team Vitality sees this as an opportunity to be challenged. “We are ultra-stimulated,” explains Nicolas Maurer. “We have to take a different look at the discipline. Innovation has always been part of our DNA. But this time we feel even more involved, boosted by this partnership, which aims to develop the best possible product and meet the expectations of all audiences, both professionals and amateurs.”

“Garmin’s approach is very sound,” says the CEO. “The equipment manufacturer is entering the esports market with caution and humility. Garmin is presenting a first product, which will likely need to be improved. It is then up to us to share our expertise with them. The partnership was, in fact, concluded with that in mind: in a logic of R&D, expertise and exchange.”

At the present time, it is difficult to know which of the functions included in the connected watch will appeal most to Team Vitality’s professional players. “We can imagine that in games like Counter-Strike or League of Legends, the watch can be used in the key moments of the game and provide additional information or DATA, allowing players to make the right decisions at the right time. It is important to remember that esports is based on two essential principles: decision-making and mechanical execution. These choices are made in record time, when every second counts. This is where the watch will have a role to play.”

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eSports

Rix.GG signs Aaron “frei” Frei to VALORANT roster

George Miller

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Rix.GG signs Aaron "frei" Frei to VALORANT roster
Reading Time: < 1 minute

 

Rix.GG, a top UK esports organisation, announces the signing of professional player Aaron “frei” Frei to its 2021 VALORANT roster.

Aaron “frei” Frei previously played under the Rix.GG banner as a stand-in on the main roster during First Strike. He went on to win the Logitech G Invitational alongside EU powerhouses from G2 including Ardiis, Patitek, and Mixwell. Prior to joining VALORANT Aaron “frei” Frei was a professional CS:GO player with several notable accomplishments including: competing in the ESL Premierships since 2016, and winning Insomnia 60 and Insomnia 62.

Aaron “frei” Frei said: “I’m really happy to be joining the Rix.GG Valorant team. I’m excited to get started and give it my all.”

Jamie Lewis, CEO & Founder, said: “Aaron ‘frei’ Frei has been with us unofficially for a while now and, to be honest, with his stats and skill we were initially worried we’d lose him to another Org. To secure his signature and know he’ll be playing in Rix Blue for the whole year is music to my ears.”

Zack Chandler, Esports Manager, said: “Frei is an incredibly versatile player, a quality that we at Rix.GG think will be extremely important as the game matures and the meta develops. I have every faith he can grow with the game and, ultimately, be one of its most feared combatants on any server.”

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eSports

Manchester City and FaZe Clan Set to Host Fortnite Tournament

Niji Narayan

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Manchester City and FaZe Clan Set to Host Fortnite Tournament
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Manchester City has joined forces with Epic Games and North American esports organisation FaZe Clan to host a Fortnite tournament.

Starting 24 January (GMT), players can choose from 10 different variants of new “Kickoff Set” outfits to represent their favourite club in-game. Each outfit can be swapped to any of the 23 football clubs participating, including Manchester City. Additionally, players will be able to earn or purchase two new emotes, including a “Fancy Footwork” dribbling emote.

To celebrate the launch, City and FaZe Clan have partnered to hold the FaZe City Cup Featuring Fortnite on 21 January.

The open-to-public event will be the first Fortnite tournament held by the Club and FaZe Clan and will see the top 50 duos pairings (top 100 players) earn early access to the Manchester City skin and special in-game emotes.

This activity builds on City’s already successful partnership with FaZe Clan, which has created new experiences for fans of both football and esports since it began in 2019, expanding the Club’s esports offering to global audiences.

Throughout the partnership, City footballers, legends and esports players have teamed up with FaZe Clan talent to create engaging content and launch limited-edition product collaborations, as well as hosting each other at events in Manchester and Los Angeles.

Nuria Tarre, Chief Marketing Officer at City Football Group, said: “The FaZe City Cup featuring Fortnite is an exciting first for the club in one of the most popular gaming titles globally and we hope fans worldwide will get involved in the competition and wear their Manchester City outfits in-game with pride.

“Given their significant existing presence within Fortnite, we are delighted to partner with FaZe Clan on this competition.

“It is further testament to our partnership with FaZe Clan, through which we will continue to explore opportunities to bring our fans new and immersive ways to engage with the Club.”

Lee Trink, FaZe Clan CEO, said: “The FaZe City Cup featuring Fortnite is an important illustration of our groundbreaking partnership with Manchester City.

“Alongside Manchester City, we are thrilled to be a part of a competitive tournament in Fortnite. We look forward to building on this tournament and hope to produce more entertaining competitions in the future.”

Nate Nanzer, Head of Global Partnerships at Epic Games, said: “Football is consistently one of the top sports that our players tell us they want to see and experience in Fortnite.

“We’re excited to collaborate with Manchester City to bring ‘the beautiful game’ to Fortnite fans around the world as they face off in competitive tournaments, experience new creative modes of gameplay, and celebrate global football.”

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