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F1 Esports Series 2020 breaks viewing records and Virtual Grands Prix return to kick-start 2021

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Mercedes win Esports Drivers’ and Teams’ title double in dramatic Grand Final of 2021 F1 Esports Series Pro Championship presented by Aramco
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The F1 Esports Series 2020 rounded off a huge year for Formula 1 and its virtual racing offering, as a record number of fans tuned into the action, achieving a total of 11.4m live stream views across all digital platforms, representing a 98% increase on 2019. View the F1 Esports Series 2020 overview here, which you are free to embed in editorial.

Alfa Romeo’s Jarno Opmeer secured his first F1 Esports title in December’s Grand Final event, as both the drivers’ championship and teams’ championship, won by Red Bull for the second successive year, came down to the final race of the campaign. The Grand Final alone achieved 2.7m digital views, setting a new record for a Pro Series event, previously attained in Event 1 of the 2020 season.

The nail-biting Grand Final also reached a staggering 1.7m social media engagements, an all-time record for any F1 Esports Series event, culminating what had already been a hugely successful campaign regarding social media interaction, as the Pro Series achieved 291m total social media impressions, a 151% increase on the 2019 season. Additionally, the series recorded 23.8m video views, up 29% on 2019, which was aided by increased social media output for last year’s campaign.

Following the popularity of the previous Pro Series’ and last year’s Virtual Grands Prix, more people than ever before attempted to qualify for the 2020 season, as participation increased 117% to 237k.

Looking forward to 2021, F1 Esports aims to build upon the success of 2020, and is kickstarting the new year with the return of the Virtual Grands Prix, this time for a three-race competition with a charity prize fund up for grabs for the teams.

Over 30m people tuned into the Virtual Grand Prix series last year to see F1 stars, sporting icons and music chart toppers represent the ten F1 teams in eight live events that replaced the official calendar, as F1 Esports continued to bring fans competitive action when the real-life racing stopped due to the pandemic.

The Virtual Grands Prix will return on Sunday 31 January for three events on consecutive weekends, where the ten teams will battle it out for a charity prize fund, represented by a combination of F1 drivers past and present, celebrities and F1 Esports Series gamers. The format has been altered since last year’s events, as the pro gamers will now take part in a five-lap Sprint Race to determine the grid order for the Feature Race, where the teams’ duos, made up of the participating famous faces, will then compete at 50% race distance to secure points for the overall standings. The team championship standings will be tracked across the events and will determine how the prize fund is then distributed to their nominated charities.

Whilst the return of the Virtual Grand Prix Series will be F1 Esports’ flagship event for the start of 2021, it is just one of many virtual competitions taking part. The F1 Esports Series China Championship will crown its second winner in next week’s Grand Final in Shanghai after an entertaining campaign, while the inaugural F1 Mobile Racing Esports champion was recognised earlier this month, as Matteo Pagliani came out on top from over 60,000 elite qualifiers. The Challenger Series also continues for a further eight rounds across PS4, Xbox and PC platforms until April, before the F1 Esports Series Pro Championship returns in the autumn.

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

“It is fantastic to see the F1 Esports Series 2020 break viewing and engagement records after a brilliant championship where we saw competitive racing and high drama at every event. We had to adapt in the way we operated for this year’s Pro Series due to the pandemic, but we’re thrilled to see that it didn’t affect viewers enjoyment, or consumption, of the action. 2020 was a tough year for everyone, but we look forward to bringing fans more excitement in 2021, starting with the return of the Virtual Grands Prix as we welcome back some of the faces that made it such a special experience last year, and invite some new ones too, all in the name of charity. Watch this space!”

eSports

Prodigy Agency Strengthens its Turkish Operations and Support to Players by Announcing the Addition of Tunç Demirçelik and Future Recruitments

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Prodigy Agency, a leading esports representation agency, has announced its development in Turkey to expand its initiative to support the players from all angles in the region, with the main focus to give proven and young players international opportunities on LoL, Valorant, CS:GO and other games.

Prodigy Agency is now representing world-class Turkish players, that they already signed with prominent esports organisations, such as Özgür “woxic” Eker (CS:GO, former Mousesports and Cloud9), Mehmet Yağız “cNed” İpek (Valorant, won Champions (1st World Championship) with Acend) and Melih “pAura” Karaduran (Valorant, former Heretics and current BBL) and more, but also young and promising prodigies like Doğukan “113” Balci (LoL, joined Karmine Corp in LFL) orMuhammed “Kaori” Şentürk (LoL, joined EG Academy in NA).

With the recent addition of Tunç Demirçelik, Prodigy Agency is now representing nearly 20 players in Turkey and developing its local team to continue to expand and always provide top-notch services and support to its players with the main goal to welcome new stars but also to focus on nurturing and providing full support to young and upcoming talents in the region, and create strong connections between Turkey and the main regions (Europe, North America, Asia).

Prior to joining Prodigy Agency in October 2021, as a prominent esports figure in Turkey, Tunç Demirçelik served as a team and content manager for renowned Turkish organisations such as SuperMassive Blaze, but was also deeply involved in the LoL Turkish ecosystem and development, working directly with Riot Games Turkey, and being the host of some of the most popular shows like “Üçlü Kuvvet”.

With a strong network with players and teams, and extensive knowledge of the scene in Turkey, he is now leading the charge of the development of Prodigy Agency in Turkey, by coordinating with all the services of the company around the world.

“I want Prodigy Agency to pave the way for a sustainable representation of the players in Turkey and Tunç is the perfect fit to keep expanding our initiatives and support to the region. Turkey has one of the best esports talent pool in the world with an incredible potential and our main goal is to support the players from all angles, giving them everything needed to find international opportunities in major esports region and teams. But we also want to help the grassroots of esports in Turkey becoming more sustainable for esports. With his extensive network, experience and incredible mindset, Tunç has already accomplished such an astonishing work since he joined Prodigy Agency to help and support our prodigies, and I’m really excited about 2022 and our long-term work in the region!” Jérôme Coupez, Founder & CEO of Prodigy Agency, said.

“We all know the untapped potential of the Turkish region. Two Turkish players were at the top of LEC and LCS this year. Talking with Prodigy and Jerome showed me that there is so much more that we can do for the players to help them realize their true potential. #PlayersFirst mentality was always in me without me realizing. Working in TCL, I’ve always tried to make the lives of the pro players I worked with easier. The life of a pro player is a very difficult one. They need the best support to focus on their respective crafts. That’s where I and Prodigy come in. Together; we will help the Turkish players improve, thrive and turn them into the best version of themselves,” Tunç Demirçelik said.

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eSports

JD SPORTS AND EXCEL ESPORTS ANNOUNCE OFFICIAL PARTNERSHIP

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JD SPORTS AND EXCEL ESPORTS ANNOUNCE OFFICIAL PARTNERSHIP
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As part of the partnership, the JD logo will be featured across all EXCEL’s roster of players and will take centre stage at EXCEL’s League of Legends roster competing in the League of Legends European Championship.

JD will also have exclusive naming rights to EXCEL’s academy roster which competes in the Northern League of Legends Championship (NLC) and will be known going forward as JDXL.

CEO of EXCEL ESPORTS, Wouter Sleijffers comments: “We are thrilled to announce JD SPORTS as our new partner. JD SPORTS is a pioneer within the sports retail industry, and we believe our partnership will unite gaming and sports communities on a level never seen before.
“We are looking forward to fans and sports fashion enthusiasts immersing themselves in the incredible experiences this partnership will deliver.”

Executive Chairman of JD Sports, Peter Cowgill comments: “We are excited to announce our partnership with EXCEL ESPORTS. Through this partnership, JD SPORTS will embrace casual and competitive e-gaming audiences across some of the biggest global gaming titles, whilst also delivering world-first digital and virtual experiences.”

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Thunderpick is launching the first ever eSports tournament series with a prize pool in Bitcoin

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Thunderpick is launching the first ever eSports tournament series with a prize pool in Bitcoin
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The Thunderpick Bitcoin Series is an online event that officially starts on the 17th of January with a CS:GO tournament that will last until the 7th of March. Other CS:GO and Dota 2 tournaments within the Thunderpick Bitcoin Series are expected later in 2022.

The first tournament of the Series will host top CS:GO squads from all over the world. There will be a total of 23 teams competing for a chance to win a chunk of the 1.2 Bitcoin prize pool with at least $75,000 guaranteed. The minimum amount is a secure prize, but there is no telling how high the Bitcoin price might go up during the playoffs, so the main prize might be even higher!

The format of the CS:GO tournament will be a standard best-of-three, divided further into three stages with the collective 50 Bo3 matches. In the closed qualifier 4 teams will face double elimination, where the winning team will advance to the main stage. Main stage will feature 16 teams where only 8 can get into the final stage and play against 4 additional guest teams. During the Grand Finale the top teams of the tournament will fight over who will take the main prize home.

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