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2020 Was the Year of Possibilities for WePlay Esports

George Miller

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WePlay Esports results in 2020
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2020 is a year we will always remember, but at WePlay Esports, we will also recall those difficult months for a very different reason. To us, it was a time of growth, change, and exploration.

Last year, the esports media holding company hosted eight events with a total prize pool of $1,605,000. Among them, there was the WeSave! Charity Play online marathon, which raised $188,879 for the battle effort against COVID-19.

A Year Full of Firsts 

While the year brought about social distancing, only gathering in small groups, and working from home, it also marked a new direction for WePlay Esports, leading to a handful of firsts. Let’s look at those more closely.

WePlay! Bukovel Minor 2020

WePlay Esports hosted its first Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) event, WePlay! Bukovel Minor 2020, which also happened to be the first of its tournaments to be hosted in a remote location. The Bukovel ski resort in Ukraine made an excellent backdrop for our winter holiday theme and, according to Esports Charts, garnered 233,124 peak viewers and 5,484,237 hours watched. This made it the most-watched Minor in the history of the DPC.

“Fresh from the holiday season, we wanted to hold on to all that revelry and share it with the community we love. So, the WePlay Esports team prepared the biggest gift — a DPC Minor to remember,” says Yura Lazebnikov, Managing Partner at WePlay Esports.

WePlay! VALORANT Invitational

VALORANT brought Riot Games’ free-to-play business model to first-person shooters, and WePlay Esports was one of the first tournament operators to host an event in the new esports discipline. WePlay! VALORANT Invitational was a $50,000 prize pool tournament with a neon cyberpunk vibe. The event became a part of the official VALORANT IGNITION SERIES. According to Esports Charts, running from July 15 to 19, the event secured a peak viewership of 54,021 and 687,359 hours watched. The company learned that half the VALORANT tournament audience was aged between 18 and 24. Additionally, we discovered that those who both watched broadcasts on WePlay Esports’ English Twitch channel and visited the event page on the website, love movies and technology just as much as they do video games.

WePlay Dragon Temple

Before the year was over, we added yet another new discipline, Mortal Kombat 11, to our list, but this also meant we had stepped into a new genre. The $60,000 WePlay Dragon Temple event gained 10,718 peak viewers and 163,401 hours watched with an air time of 29 hours (Esports Charts provided the data). These statistics made it the Mortal Kombat 11 tournament of 2020 ranked second by highest peak viewers and hours watched outside NetherRealm Studios’ official event.

From the wardrobe to stage setup, WePlay Dragon Temple was one of our most impressive productions yet. That we were able to do this during the pandemic year and keep all players, talent, and staff safe is an achievement I’m very proud of,” says Oleg Krot, Managing Partner at WePlay Esports.

Weathering the Storm

The year 2020 will remain in our collective memory as a difficult one, following the hardships experienced worldwide due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, 2020 was not without its merits, as WePlay Esports was able to adapt quickly to the new state of affairs. It was no groundhog day, that’s for sure!

eSports

Voodoo Ranger Becomes Official Beer Partner of Dignitas

Niji Narayan

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Voodoo Ranger Becomes Official Beer Partner of Dignitas
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Voodoo Ranger has become the Official Beer Partner of the esports organisation Dignitas.

The partnership marks the first in esports for Voodoo Ranger and features community-centric social, digital, and future on-location activations with the goal of connecting Dignitas’ vibrant fanbase through the organisation’s content creators and athletes.

Through the partnership, Voodoo Ranger and Dignitas will collaborate on exciting new content to celebrate Dignitas’ passionate esports fans and community. In Voodoo Ranger Community Game Nights, streamed live on Twitch, Dignitas athletes and content creators will square-off in battles of bragging rights and brews. Dignitas will also hold a series of fan-focused Happy Hours and release original content, celebrating the special connection between gaming fans across the world and the future of the global esports community. Dignitas and Voodoo Ranger will continue to connect gaming fans and athletes at live, in-person events in the future; offering opportunities for tasting, sampling and celebrating.

“Our partnership with Dignitas is an amazing chance to support a team and community that loves beer and all things gaming and esports but includes the community support and initiatives that we as a brewery also hold extremely close to our hearts. Cheers!” Patrick Morgan, Voodoo Ranger Community Manager, said.

“Aligning with a brand that values bringing people together as highly as we do makes Voodoo Ranger a natural fit. Community is the lifeblood of esports and gaming, and we’re proud to partner with a brand dedicated to uplifting and celebrating the lives and moments we all share together,” John Spiher, Vice President of Partnerships at Dignitas, said.

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eSports

BLAST Premier extends broadcast reach for 2021 season with eight new media deals

George Miller

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BLAST Premier extends broadcast reach for 2021 season with eight new media deals
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Media deals include linear TV channels SportsMax, Nordic Entertainment Group and BOLT+ after increased viewership in 2020

Esports tournament BLAST Premier has extended its international broadcast reach with eight new media rights deals for the rest of the 2021 season.

TV channels SportsMax, Nordic Entertainment Group and BOLT+, among other new deals, will take the world’s leading Counter-Strike tournament series to a number of new regions around the world, including: Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Iceland, Canada, Kosovo, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India and the Caribbean.

The new rights partnerships will extend the esports media network’s portfolio of media rights to over 35 partners, meaning BLAST Premier will be shown in 18 different languages and across 157 territories.

The announcement highlights a period of growth for BLAST’s TV and online distribution footprint after a year of increased viewership for esports. Newszoo’s 2020 report estimated a year-on-year increase in the total esports audience by 11.7% to just short of 500 million people, while revenue from media rights and sponsorships ($822.4m) was expected to account for three-quarters of the total market.

Last season, BLAST Premier enjoyed increased viewership and more than 83 million hours of content watched across all seven of its Counter-Strike tournaments while posting the most watched CS:GO online match of all time during the Global Final.

Alexander Lewin, VP of Distribution and Programming for BLAST, said: “We are thrilled to see so many new partners join the BLAST network of leading TV and online channels. These deals will offer even more fans the opportunity to tune in to watch BLAST Premier from around the world, which is now accessible in over 150 territories and 18 languages. We expect to continue our path of expansion during an exciting period of viewership growth at BLAST Premier and in esports.”

BLAST Premier is a global Counter-Strike tournament series that unites all major events, offers opportunities to all regions across the globe and crowns the world champions of CS:GO. Up to 32 teams will take part in the seven BLAST Premier events this year with a combined prize pool of $2,475,000 on the line.

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eSports

Formula 1® announce female-only qualification route for F1 Esports Series Pro Championship

George Miller

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Formula 1® announce female-only qualification route for F1 Esports Series Pro Championship
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Formula 1® has today announced plans for the F1® Esports Series Women’s Wildcard, a female only qualification route into the Pro Exhibition, where F1® teams will be scouting talent to add to their rosters for this year’s Pro Championship, which will start in the autumn.

The Women’s Wildcard will be open to female competitors only, where drivers will compete to set the fastest lap times on the official F1® 2020 video game, developed by Code masters, across a one week window in early May (3-9). The participant who sets the fastest time will be invited to take part in the Pro Exhibition later that month, an online combine where the next generation of Esports drivers will showcase their talents in a series of in game assessments, testing their abilities for the ten F1 ® Esports teams to assess and potentially choose for their Pro Championship rosters. The Pro Exhibition show featuring the Women’s Wildcard qualifier will be broadcast on Thursday 27 May on the official Formula 1 YouTube, Facebook, Twitch, Huya (China) channels.

Whilst previous F1® Esports events, such as the Virtual Grands Prix, have had female participants, there has never been a female driver competing in the professional ranks of the F1® Esports Series. This is the first female only competition the sport has run, which Formula 1 ® hope will encourage more drivers from the passionate and talented female sim racing community to engage with the F1® Esports Series at a grassroots level, in the hope of becoming the first ever female driver to be signed by an Official F1 ® Esports Series Team.

The introduction of the F1® Esports Series Women’s Wildcard follows the reaffirmed commitment to improving diversity and inclusion Formula 1 ® has made as part of the WeRaceAsOne initiative for 2021 and beyond.

 

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