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BLAST Premier expands reach into Israel with Gaming Channel broadcast deal

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BLAST Premier expands reach into Israel with Gaming Channel broadcast deal
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  • The deal will see the Gaming Channel own exclusive rights to broadcast BLAST Premier in Hebrew 

BLAST Premier has agreed a media rights deal with Gaming Channel, Israel’s first ever linear 24/7 esports and gaming channel. 

As part of the deal, Gaming Channel will own exclusive rights to broadcast BLAST Premier within Israel in Hebrew until the end of the 2021 season. The deal will cover BLAST Premier’s four remaining events of the year: Fall Groups (September 16-26), Showdown (October 12-17), Final (November 24-28) and World Final (December 14-19).

The Gaming Channel, owned by the Charlton Group, was launched back in July this year, bringing the first ever dedicated esports and gaming linear TV channel to Israel. The channel broadcasts a variety of content including live esports events, leading YouTube talent from the region, among other gaming and entertainment-themed content. 

Alexander Lewin, VP for at BLAST, said: “We are delighted to be able to give BLAST Premier fans from Israel the opportunity to watch their favourite Counter-Strike teams and players in a localised Hebrew broadcast, and very pleased to add Israel to our global media rights footprint. The Gaming Channel and its experienced team are the perfect partner for our move into the Israeli market, and we look forward to a successful collaboration.”

Yoav Sochen, General Manager for Gaming Channel, said: “I am very excited to partner up with BLAST Premier. Connecting both professional players and esports enthusiasts to the Gaming Channel through top tier international leagues, operated and offered on live broadcast in Hebrew for the first time. I look forward to seeing what this partnership can do for the Israeli scene.”

The deal takes BLAST’s portfolio of media rights to over 40 linear and online partners internationally, meaning BLAST Premier is now available globally in 18 different languages and in over 150 TV territories.

BLAST Premier is a worldwide 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. BLAST will be making its long-awaited return to arena events with fans later this year at Copenhagen’s iconic Royal Arena for the Fall Final. 

eSports

Fnatic Appoints Stuart Brown as Esports Operations Lead

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Fnatic, the leading esports performance organisation, has appointed Stuart Brown as its first-ever Esports Operations Lead.

The role will see Brown tasked with promoting best-in-class team management and see him act as a lynchpin between Fnatic’s London headquarters and teams across Fnatic’s six esports game titles.

Brown, who joins Fnatic from The Football Association (The FA), will look to enhance various aspects of professional gaming experience at Fnatic, from performance planning and nutrition to travel and accommodation. Working to continue to integrate Fnatic’s esports teams within the wider organisation, he will oversee and enable collaboration with other business units such as Product and Partnerships.

He will also work closely with Fnatic’s High Performance Unit and Team Managers to continuously improve performance outcomes for teams and give Fnatic’s players the edge in competition. Additionally, he will support the rollout of Fnatic’s recently released Global Safeguarding Policies, which promote and protect the wellbeing of young people and adults at risk who interact with Fnatic.

“Fnatic are deeply committed to continuous improvement. I’m excited to bring my experience from the world of traditional sports and fuse that with the innovation and opportunity in the esports space – to find the extra 1% for Fnatic’s teams. I’m looking forward to continuing to professionalise Fnatic’s backroom functions and further integrating our esports teams with the wider company,” Stuart Brown, Esports Operations Lead at Fnatic, said.

Brown brings a wealth of experience from the world of traditional sport, having spent 12 years at The FA. Most recently, Brown led the England Senior Football squad as Team Manager, where he was responsible for all operational, financial and administrative matters relating to the team, including during the Russia World Cup and the recent Euro 2021 campaign. During his time at The FA he also worked as part of the International Relations team, delivering football development projects in countries such as Rwanda.

“We’re very excited to have Stuart on board to play a key role in levelling up our operations as well as facilitating the drive for high-performance across our esports division. Having worked with elite national teams in football, Stuart’s experience will be invaluable to unlock another level of improvements, which builds on our work in the High Performance Unit. Stuart will also champion the roll-out of our player wellbeing initiatives and Global Safeguarding Policies,” Sam Mathews, CEO at Fnatic, said.

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eSports

Virtus.pro roster for PGL Major Stockholm 2021

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Our first CS:GO roster will be changed for the upcoming Major in Stockholm: Evgeny “FL1T” Lebedev will replace Sanjar “SANJI” Kuliev.

Sergey Glamazda, Virtus.pro CEO:

“The Major is the biggest event in CS:GO, the one we’ve been waiting for two years. It’s incredibly important for the club and our fans. We want to achieve the best possible result, and in order to do so the team needs a new impulse. An opportunity to play with Evgeny arose and we decided to seize it. We hope that this will be the impulse we need to play at the peak of our abilities.

No decisions regarding the future of our roster have been made for now. Everything will be clear after the Major when the dust is settled. I want to thank Sanjar. We’ve won tournaments, got into the top-3 of HLTV rankings, and qualified for the Major with him being in our ranks. Our current roster has already achieved a lot and this temporary change should help us reach even higher goals that we set for ourselves.”

Updated Virtus.pro roster at PGL Major Stockholm 2021:

Dzhami «Jame» Ali;

Timur «buster» Tulepov;

Aleksey «Qikert» Golubev;

Mareks «YEKINDAR» Gaļinskis;

Evgeny «FL1T» Lebedev.

Dastan «dastan» Akbaev (coach).

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Asia

Tourism & Sports Ministry, SAT and Garena Signs MoU to Support and Enhance Esports Industry in Thailand

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The Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) and the Thailand Ministry of Tourism and Sports have partnered with Garena Online Thailand to strengthen the domestic esports industry and develop the country as the hub of esports tournaments in Asean.

“The ministry and the SAT will focus more on esports next year including training and welfare to develop the esport ecosystem after esports was named in the Royal Gazette last month as one of the country’s professional sports,” Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said.

The esports industry across Asean was worth US$39 million in 2020 and is expected to grow to $72 million by 2024 as people spend more time playing online games amid the pandemic, according to the minister.

A boom in esports does not only benefit internet providers or IT products, but also consumer product makers which target millennials, sport tourism, and investment in the country, he said.

Mr Phiphat said Thailand is due to take part in the biggest esports event, Arena of Valor (RoV) International Championship 2021 (AIC 2021), with a prize pool of $1 million, at the end of next month, which could help the country prepare to serve as the future regional hub for esports competition.

SAT governor Kongsak Yodmanee said the agency has recently established the SAT Esports Academy to train RoV players participating in the upcoming Road to AIC 2021, a tournament that selects esports teams for AIC 2021.

Kongsak said there are 12 members from two esport teams that are preparing for the match under the supervision of the SAT, which provides support for physical training, nutrition and sports psychology.

The Tourism and Sports Ministry, the SAT and Garena signed a memorandum of understanding to support and enhance the esports industry in Thailand.

“Even though Thailand is not the biggest esports market in Asia, investors and stakeholders perceive the country as a potential market thanks to the readiness of the ecosystem and official recognition from the government,” Allen Hsu, regional head of strategic partnership and esports development at Garena Online Thailand, said.

Thailand is the first country where foreign football clubs like Paris Saint-Germain and Valencia have invested in the RoV Pro League, which showed the country’s potential for esports, he said.

He said 2022 will be the year for esports as many tournaments will take place in Thailand and overseas, particularly the SEA Games and Asian Games, where esports have become a medal sport and could gain more recognition.

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