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Jarno Opmeer and Mercedes lead F1 Esports Series Pro Championship presented by Aramco after dramatic Event 1

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Mercedes’ Jarno Opmeer in pole position to retain World Championship crown in three-way title race for 2021 F1 Esports Series Pro Championship
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The 2021 F1 Esports Series Pro Championship presented by Aramco got underway with an thrilling Event 1 this week, where Jarno Opmeer and Mercedes took an early lead in the Drivers’ and Teams’ Championships respectively, but with eight different podium finishers in the first three races, the huge $750,000 prize pot is all to play for.

The return of the Pro Championship was more anticipated than ever before following record-breaking viewership last year, the highest ever participation numbers of fans attempting to qualify, as well as several huge moves around the grid with a number of F1 Esports’ biggest names switching allegiances in the off-season.

Much like the 2020 season, drivers are continuing to race remotely from their homes or team facilities, but the hugely popular competition continues to broadcast from the Gfinity Esports Arena in London, with live shows fronted by familiar faces: Natalie Pinkham, Tom Deacon and Nic Hamilton. Following the same Event format as recent campaigns, teams battle it out on the official F1 2021 video game, developed by Codemasters, in two races on a Wednesday, and one on a Thursday, across four broadcasts, which also features qualifiying.

In the first of Wednesday’s two races, the virtual world mirrored reality as the season opener took place at the Sakhir International Circuit, Bahrain, and it was Britain’s Lucas Blakeley who took his maiden win in a historic moment, becoming the first winner for the Aston Martin Cognizant Esports team. Blakeley started in P2 behind Nicolas Longuet but passed him going into the first corner and didn’t relinquish top spot until the final few laps when the lead changed hands several times between the pair, thanks to brave racing and the use of DRS, before the Aston Martin man timed his last attack to perfection. Alvaro Carretón was with the front two the whole way, ready to pounce on any mistakes, but in the end had to settle for a well-deserved P3 for Williams.

Wednesday’s action continued with a trip to China, and whilst the real-world drivers haven’t raced at the Shanghai International Circuit since the pandemic struck, the popularity of F1, and Esports, continues to flourish, as seen by the success of the F1 Esports Series China Championship. Reigning champion Jarno Opmeer showed his title-winning pedigree with an unbelievable victory, taking a huge risk as the only driver to start the race on intermediates tyres, despite there being torrential rain, after a poor qualifying performance that left him in P14. He fell as far as P18, before the rest of the grid began to pit and switch to the same tyres, allowing him to make his way up the grid. He was soon leading, and despite a brief change of leadership between himself and Fabrizio Donoso, as the Alpine driver became the first switch to softs, Opmeer was able to secure his first win for Mercedes in stunning fashion. Red Bull’s Marcel Kiefer put in an accomplished performance in tricky conditions to get his first podium of the season.

The first Event of the new season was rounded off with a second win for Opmeer at the Red Bull Ring with an emphatic victory as he sent out a message to the rest of the field that he is intent on defending his crown. Frederik Rasmussen, one of last year’s front runners picked up his first podium of the year, ahead of McLaren’s new boy Bardia Boroumand who secured third, and is already living up to the hype around him in the pre-season. 

Event 2 will see the drivers battle it out on a trio of iconic ‘old-school’ circuits as the Pro Championship heads to Silverstone, Monza and Spa, in what is set to be an action-packed two days across 27-28 October.

Following Event 1, the official standings are as follows:

Driver standings

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Team standings

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The live shows are streamed online via official channels of Formula 1 on Facebook, YouTube, Twitch and Huya, as well as broadcast on television via select international broadcast partners.

In the last 18 months, F1 Esports events have achieved over 40 million views across TV and digital, and this popularity led to a record number of people attempting to be a part of this year’s Pro Exhibition, with almost half a million taking part in qualification. This year’s qualification is now open through a challenge in the official F1 2021 video game, with the first event live until 31st October. If you would like to find out more information on how to take part in the F1 Esports Series and for more information on the Pro Championship presented by Aramco, visit www.f1esports.com.

Full race results:

Race 1 – Bahrain

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Race 2 – China

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Race 3 – Austria

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Ben Pincus, Director of Commercial Partnerships at Formula 1®, said:

“It’s great to see the F1 Esports Series Pro Championship presented by Aramco back underway. We’ve been spoilt with excitement in the real-life racing this year and if these first races are anything to go by, we’re in for a treat this season in the virtual world too.”

 

John Clarke, CEO at Gfinity, said:

“Last year’s record-breaking participation is a testament to Formula 1’s continuous innovation and expansion, bringing more fans than ever into the world of F1 Esports. Off the back of last year’s success, the F1 Esports Series has returned bigger and better than ever, giving Gfinity the opportunity to utilise its tech IP and world-class production to help F1 fans feel ever closer to the series.

 

Paul Jeal, F1 Senior Franchise Director at Codemasters, said:

“We’re into the fifth year of F1 Esports, and the standard continues to get higher and higher, with some blistering lap times and exciting wheel to wheel racing to open the series. A great display from Jarno Opmeer as he tops the drivers’ championship, and it looks like we could have an incredible battle between a handful of teams for the team championship. Roll on the second show.”

eSports

Staffordshire University makes history in college esports

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Students of Staffordshire University have achieved a unique success: becoming the UK’s first winning university team in Europe’s premier esports competition between colleges. Players of ‘Korean Pop Superstars (KPS)’ emerged victorious last weekend in VALORANT (Riot Games’ shooter title) at the Grand Final of UNIVERSITY Esports Masters (UE Masters), where they defeated their rivals from National University of Physical Education and Sport of Ukraine (NUPESU) by a score of 3-2.

It was not an easy road to glory. British representatives had to overcome the continuous returns from the Ukrainian players, who demonstrated a tough competitive spirit throughout the Grand Final. However, it was a great sporting experience in which fair play prevailed between the two teams. In fact, students of KPS waited over an hour for their NUPESU’s counterparts due to a problem with the venue where they were competing.

All the clashes at the Grand Finals of UE Masters (both VALORANT and League of Legends) were played entirely in online format. Live streams of the showdowns on Twitch and X (formerly Twitter) accumulated more than 40,000 views throughout last weekend on two official social channels with over 11,000 followers.

A great victory for the UK

The win of KPS is a meaningful milestone for college esports in the UK. For the first time, a British team has been crowned as Champion of UE Masters, the most important esports tournament in the college ecosystem across Europe. Since the first edition of the competition in 2016, Great Britain has had representatives, but none had been able to lift the Championship title.

This group of five students from Staffordshire University, integrated by Diarmuid McGirr, Josh Green, Zain Lim, Stanley Lebon, and Ignas Kantauta as the main squad, have completed a successful performance in this edition of UE Masters: overcoming qualifiers, beating the best opponents, and positioning the UK at the top of the university esports in the continent.

One of the KPS integrants, Zain Lim, said: “Playing as a team has definitely been fun, competing with friends just created such an atmosphere where it felt like we would beat teams due to just having better vibes than them. I would recommend university esports to others. I felt it made gaming a more social-able hobby, as over 5 years of university, at two different unis, I have met a bunch of people.”

Find out more about VALORANT, the victory’s game

What is VALORANT? What does it consist of? It is one of the most wanted esports-games globally. This shooter title, developed by the giant Riot Games and released in 2020, is a 5v5 character-based tactical FPS where precise gunplay meets unique agent abilities. It also includes a lot of effects and advanced weapons to offer players a better first-person experience.

Millions of people have tested their tactical skills on VALORANT over the past few years. According to the specialized website Tracker Network, over 16 million active users have played VALORANT so far in July worldwide.

Beyond of a video game competition

UE Masters, supported by Riot Games, is the conclusion of the UNIVERSITY Esports season, a global program with a presence in 26 countries on four continents and involving more than 100,000 students from 2,000 universities.

The main objectives of UNIVERSITY Esports are to create a sense of community among players from all over Europe, to give them the opportunity to compete in high quality international tournaments and to provide avenues for young people to develop a career within the esports world, as well as to find a place to learn and enhance their skills.

In the UK and Ireland, UNIVERSITY Esports, a project organized by NUEL (a GGTech Entertainment’s company), has celebrated its 13th Season. The winners of its Winter Split, such as Staffordshire University, have been the national representatives in the outgoing edition of UE Masters.

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Asia

BGMI MASTERS SERIES SEASON 3 SET TO LAUNCH WITH EXCITING NEW INITIATIVES

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The BGMI Masters Series (BGMS), India’s premier esports tournament, is back with its highly anticipated third season. Season 3 will begin on Friday, July 19 at 7:00 PM and will run until August 11 on the Star Sports Network. This season promises to be the most thrilling yet, with several innovative features for an esports experience like never before.

Broadcast Schedule:

  • Monday to Saturday: 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
  • League week Sundays; Playoff & Finals: 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM

Channel Mix:

Fans can catch all the action on Star Sports 2 (HD & SD) in English and Star Sports First in Hindi. Fans will also have the option to switch to Tamil & Hindi commentary on SS2 using the blue button.

Digital Streaming:

The entire BGMI Masters Series will also be streamed on Star Sports & Nodwin Gaming’s YouTube, making it accessible to a broader audience.

Exciting New Features for Season 3:

  1. Powerplay:
    • Returning from Season 2 to make the game action-packed from the get-go, this feature rewards double the points to squads for each finish they achieve in the first circle of each match.
  2. Impact Player:
    • For the first time, , the in-game leader will conduct a random draw to select the Impact Player. This player will earn double points for each finish.
  3. Bounty:
    • Also debuting this season, the top 4 teams based on the standings of the league week’s first match will carry a bounty. In subsequent matches, the top 4 teams overall will carry a bounty, with ten bounty points awarded for wiping out an entire squad.

Impact and Reach:

Over the first two seasons, BGMS has garnered an impressive reach of over 100 million across linear and digital platforms. As the biggest esports IP in the country, BGMS continues to play a pivotal role in bringing esports into the mainstream.

Fan Engagement Initiative: Play with the Masters:

BGMI fans now have the unique opportunity to play the game directly with top BGMI gamers featured in BGMS everyday through the ‘Play with the Masters’ initiative. This exciting feature, introduced by Star Sports and Nodwin Gaming, encourages viewers to follow Star Sports’ & Nodwin Gaming’s social handles and tune into the BGMS broadcast for updates on how to participate.

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Skyesports Championship 2024 – Counter-Strike 2 to take place at Taj Lands End Mumbai, 12 teams to battle it out for $300,000 prize pool

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Skyesports, a premier global IP and community builder for gaming and esports, has unveiled the venue for the anticipated Skyesports Championship 2024, a $300,000 Counter-Strike 2 esports tournament. The event, featuring 12 teams, is set to happen at the Taj Lands End in Mumbai, India from July 23 to 28.

Commenting on the tournament, Shiva Nandy, Founder and CEO of Skyesports, said, “We are thrilled to welcome international teams to India for the $300,000 Skyesports Championship. This event, at the Taj Lands End in Mumbai, is among the most significant ones of our 2024 Counter-Strike esports roadmap. As we position Skyesports’ IPs for new audiences, this tournament is a crucial milestone for our long-term plans in the game. Our vision of bringing international teams to India to participate in our IPs is coming true, and we are setting a platform to establish India as a global hub for esports. This is a pivotal moment in putting India on the global esports map.”

The Skyesports Championship will happen across two stages: the Group Stage and the Playoffs. The Group Stage will take place from July 23 to 25 with the 12 teams split into two groups of six teams each. Each group will compete in a single round-robin format with the top three teams advancing to the Playoffs. The group stage will adopt a “semi-LAN” format where the teams will be competing from remotely set-up bootcamps at the Taj Lands End.

The Skyesports Championship 2024 Playoffs will move to the main stage at the Taj Lands End, where the six teams will battle it out in a single-elimination bracket for the title of champions on July 27 and 28. Additionally, there will be a lot of surprises set for fans in the Skyesports Championship 2024.

The complete list of teams is as follows:

● Aurora Gaming
● AMKAL Esports
● BetBoom Team
● Bleed Esports
● DMS
● ENCE
● Eternal Fire
● Parivision
● Revenant Esports
● The MongolZ
● 3DMAX
● True Rippers Esports

Aurora Esports, the Serbian champions of the previous international Skyesports events—the $350,000 Skyesports Masters 2024 and the Skyesports Grand Slam 2024 in Pune, India—are once again traveling to the country, aiming for the throne. Joining them are Turkey’s Eternal Fire, Mongolia’s The Mongolz, and formidable European teams such as ENCE, Bleed Esports, and Revenant Esports.

Additionally, open qualifiers for Europe and India were held, granting two direct slots for the Skyesports Championship 2024 Main Event. True Rippers will be representing India, while 3DMAX have secured the European qualification for the event.

Fans can catch all the action live on the Skyesports YouTube and Twitch channels. The tournament will be broadcasted in several languages, including English, Hindi, Russian, Portugal, and Mongolian – a testament to the global nature of the Skyesports Championship IP.

The Skyesports Championship is India’s longest-running homegrown esports IP. The tournament was introduced in 2018 as a regional competition for South India. Since then, it has grown manifolds year-over-year to become one of the most prominent esports events in the 2024 calendar.

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