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BLAST announce WePlay Esports as new Russian language broadcast partner

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BLAST Premier has announced a two-year deal with WePlay Esports to broadcast its global Counter-Strike tournament series exclusively in the CIS region.  

Under the nature of the deal, media holding company and esports tournament organiser WePlay Esports will own exclusive Russian language media rights to broadcast this year’s BLAST Premier Fall Groups (September 16-26), Showdown (October 12-17), Final (November 24-28) and World Final (December 14-19) and the entire 2022 season. 

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 over the course of 2021 with a combined prize pool of $2,475,000 on the line. 

The CIS region represents one of BLAST and CS:GO’s most popular countries for viewership, with it regularly featuring in the most watched regions for each event. A recent study by Esports Charts, reported that Russian-language esports broadcasts in 2020 amounted to a total of 200M hours watched, growth of 10% compared to 2019, with Counter-Strike remaining the second most watched esport in the region. 

Alexander Lewin, VP of Distribution and Programming for BLAST, said: “We’re delighted to welcome WePlay Esports as our latest broadcast partner – with their extensive expertise in Counter-Strike production, WePlay Esports will help to bring the very best of BLAST Premier to Russia for the remainder of the 2021 season and beyond. BLAST has always enjoyed great support and viewership in the CIS region and we look forward to maintaining our industry leading esports production and entertainment for the community to enjoy.”

Maksym Bilonogov, Chief Visionary Officer and General Producer at WePlay Esports, said: “We at WePlay Esports recognize BLAST Premier as one of the best CS:GO circuits out there, which uses technology and creativity to deliver world-class entertainment. Our team will go all out to bring the same level of show to the CIS audience and make sure that the love for the game in the region only grows stronger with time.”

BLAST’s portfolio of media rights currently stands at over 35 partners, meaning BLAST Premier is shown in 18 different languages and over 150 TV territories.

WePlay Esports has experience not only in broadcasting but also in hosting CS:GO tournaments. The company organized WePlay! Lock and Load, two seasons of the Forge of Masters league, WePlay! Clutch Island, and the first season of the WePlay Academy League. 

 

eSports

Veloce joins forces with Codemasters to launch ground-breaking VERSUS ULTRA Series

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Veloce joins forces with Codemasters to launch ground-breaking VERSUS ULTRA Series
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  • Innovative esports series, to feature competitions across multiple leading titles from Codemasters, looks set to kick off in 2022
  • Lando Norris’ Quadrant is the first team confirmed for this unique esports tournament
  • ‘Original and engaging format’ to ‘break the mould’ in burgeoning gaming sphere 

In an industry first, Veloce Esports has announced a partnership with leading racing game developer Codemasters to launch a revolutionary, multi-title, global esports racing league – the VERSUS ULTRA Series – with Lando Norris’ Quadrant team revealing itself as the first official entry.

Veloce is well-versed in original and innovative projects in the burgeoning esports sphere, sparked by the success of its immensely popular #NotTheGP series during the lockdowns of 2020. The ever-expanding Veloce Esports ecosystem yields substantial monthly viewership figures in excess of 230 million across its various channels.

Codemasters is a world-leading video games developer specialising in the racing genre. Its portfolio includes DiRT, Project CARS, GRID, and the official series of F1® video games. The VERSUS ULTRA Series will feature an innovative event format with different stages of competition taking place across several Codemasters titles.

Some of the best-known global esports teams will be taking part, comprising world famous streamers, pro gamers, and more, with squads competing for the inaugural VERSUS ULTRA Cup.

The first team to throw its hat into the ring is Quadrant, F1 star Lando Norris’ ever-popular esports squad.

With the likes of F1 YouTube star Aarav Amin (Aarava), leading virtual racer Steve Alvarez Brown (Super GT), Maria Bish (RiaBish) and Niran Yesufu (FNG) on the books, Quadrant will undoubtedly be running at the sharp end during the inaugural season.

More information on the event format, team announcements and the VERSUS ULTRA CUP will be revealed in due course, with racing set to get underway in 2022.

Rupert Svendsen-Cook, CEO, Veloce Esports, commented: 

“We’re delighted and feel very privileged to be partnering with such an established player in the industry as Codemasters, to launch what we know will be the best racing esports league in the world. We have worked closely with Codemasters for some time, as a large part of our media network features their titles, so it made a huge amount of sense to work together on this project.

“For us, the key focus is on entertainment for the gaming community and offering an original and engaging format that breaks the mould of the traditional racing esports leagues currently available. We’re incredibly excited to share further details regarding who and what is to come as we prepare to launch in 2022.”

Toby Evan-Jones, Head of Business Development, commented: 

“The VERSUS Ultra Series is an exciting new format which creates both action-packed content and the opportunity for our players to compete with their heroes from the real and virtual racing worlds. Codemasters’ expertise in delivering world-leading racing titles makes us the perfect partner for Veloce. We hope players of all levels will come together to create a fun competition which redefines the competitive gaming landscape with an innovative and inclusive format.”

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eSports

Promod Esports Joins ESIC as a New Member

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Promod Esports has officially become a member of Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC).

As part of its membership, Promod Esports will integrate ESIC’s integrity codes and standards into its esports operations, encouraging fair play and sporting integrity across its platforms.

“It is such a pleasure to welcome Promod Esports into membership. I have known the guys behind this for a long time and it has given me a lot of joy to watch them put their offering together and begin to thrive in the esports ecosystem in the UK and further and further afield; especially as they have always kept competitive integrity and participant welfare at the heart of everything they do. I’m really looking forward to a long and mutually beneficial future with them as we work together to protect and enhance esports and, particularly, trust in the competitive integrity of all matches,” ESIC Commissioner Ian Smith said.

“Ever since ESIC was established I strongly believed in their work and its importance to the esports industry in making it a safe and fair environment to be a part of. We are thrilled to be a Member of ESIC, and I am proud that we have taken this step to combat corruption during our tournaments. We are growing fast, and becoming an ESIC member shows our commitment to our fans, our players, our clients and the industry,” Rob Black, CEO of Promod Esports, said.

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Asia

Esports Officially Recognised as a Professional Sport in Thailand

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Esports has been officially recognised as a professional sport in Thailand meaning that players and organisations can now be supported by the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT).

Esports’ popularity has soared in the country with the Thailand E-Sports Federation (TESF) running regular competitions, seminars and workshops.

The sport’s global revenues are projected to surpass $1.5 billion (£1.096 billion/€1.279 billion) by 2023.

The Government involvement could help Thailand become a prime destination for groups like ESL and the Professional Gamers League (PGL) to host their events.

Esports is set to be a medal event at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games in China after featuring in the 2018 edition as a demonstration sport.

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