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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.”

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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