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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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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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Reigning champion Jarno Opmeer will go into going the Grand Final of the 2021 F1 Esports Series Pro Championship presented by Aramco leading the Drivers’ Championship, ahead of Lucas Blakeley and Frede Rasmussen, after this week’s thrilling Event 3. Just as the real-life Constructors’ Championship is finely poised, Mercedes and Red Bull are neck and neck in the Teams’ title fight, after the latest trio of races.

Event 3 began with drivers taking to Portimao, for the first time in Pro Championships history, to battle the ‘rollercoaster’ circuit, with its huge undulations and fast straights. Blakeley had a front row seat from off, starting P1 on the grid and dominating the field throughout, racing clear of the chasing pack and only relinquishing the lead when he came into pit, as he continued to show his championship credentials. Rasmussen showed why he is also a strong contender for the crown, with an impressive performance on the alternative strategy, as he made his way through the field on the soft tyres towards the end to pick up an important second place finish for both his own title ambitions, and Red Bull’s. Fabrizio Donoso turned a great qualifying session, starting P4, into a second podium finish of the year for Alpine, rounding off the top three.

Mercedes were able to hit back as attentions turned to Zandvoort, as Dani Moreno took his maiden victory in the F1 Esports Series Pro Championship, ahead of Rasmussen, who scored his second P2 finish in a row. The pair had tussled for the lead throughout, as Rasmussen took the lead on Lap 1, but it was Moreno who prevailed late on taking P1 in the latter stages of the race, and withstanding the pressure from the following group. Blakeley secured another podium finish, his fifth of the year, with third place and Bari Boroumand continued his fine form in his debut season with McLaren, having secured pole in Zandvoort, and finishing just outside the podium places in P4.

Opmeer, who finished P7 and P6 in the previous races respectively, fought back with a huge victory at the Circuit of the Americas to reclaim top spot in the Drivers’ Championship, and make it back-to-back wins for Mercedes. Rasmussen made it a hat-trick of personal podiums in Event 3, with a P2 finish, putting him only eight points back from Opmeer in the standings. Nicolas Longuet secured his first podium since Round 1, whilst title contender Blakeley managed P6, adding crucial points to his tally and just five points off Opmeer.

It is still all to play for as we look towards this year’s Grand Final, which will take place on 15-16 December, and will feature races at Imola and Mexico, before the final race in Brazil, which has played host to many title deciders during the illustrious history of F1.

Drivers are continuing to race remotely from their homes or team facilities, as they did in the 2020 season, but the hugely popular competition continues to broadcast from the Gfinity Esports Arena in London. Following the same Event format as recent campaigns, teams battle it out on the official F1 2021 video game, developed by Codemasters, with 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.

F1 Esports events have achieved over 40 million views across TV and digital, in the last 18 months, 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. Qualification for next year’s competition is now open through a challenge in the official F1 2021 video game, with the second event live until 30th November.

 

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BEA to Open an Esports Performance and Education Campus at Riverside Sunderland

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The British Esports Association (BEA) has announced that it will open an esports performance and education campus at Riverside Sunderland, which will nurture and support the next generation of talent, as interest and engagement in esports grows in the UK.

BEA has made a multi-million-pound commitment to the city of Sunderland, having acquired former retail premises adjacent to the Stadium of Light, where it will establish its National Esports Performance Campus (NEPC).

The NEPC will become a centre of excellence, providing access to state-of-the-art equipment, training and investment that will support Sunderland, the North East and the UK to become a globally-recognised esports hub capable of attracting and developing the world’s best esports talent.

The campus will offer educational and coaching courses for players and all other roles within the esports industry and feature dedicated esports classrooms, performance rooms, streaming booths for shoutcaster skills and an arena space. It will also play host to regular esports events, community tournaments, summer camps and be used as a training base for the Great Britain esports team, which recently took part in the Global Esports Games in Singapore.

Chester King, chief executive officer at BEA, said: “The UK is Europe’s second-biggest video game market and ranked 6th globally – this speaks to the potential of esports which will capitalise on gaming’s popularity, with talented competitors emerging and a growing audience keen to spectate and enjoy esports as a leisure activity. This is a market that we know will explode in the UK and we want to support its growth.”

“Sunderland is a hugely ambitious and future-focused city and that aligns very much to BEA and esports, which has vast growth potential and ties into Sunderland’s strengths in gaming, digital and sport. The campus will be an inspirational site, a place for players and coaches to work, learn and develop. This is a much-needed facility and through my team’s experiences we understand its importance.”

Patrick Melia, chief executive of Sunderland City Council, said: “Esports has been a phenomenal global success, and it is a huge growth market in the UK, that will be realised over the coming years. BEA’s move puts Sunderland at the beating heart of that, and we couldn’t be more pleased.”

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “This is a truly game-changing development for Sunderland, and we could not be more excited about having BEA choose the city for its NEPC.”

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BLAST Premier Extends its Partnership with CS.MONEY

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Leading esports tournament organiser BLAST Premier has extended its partnership with skin trading platform CS.MONEY, taking the collaboration to four years.

The partnership will be centred around educating and engaging esports and Counter-Strike fans on the wide spectrum of skins available to trade and purchase online.

The deal is the first in a number of commercial deals that BLAST will be renewing for 2022, as the company continues to increase the value of its global partnership portfolio in line with its renewed commercial development and future growth plans.

The partnership will see BLAST and CS.MONEY collaborate on a series of premium, player-led content pieces throughout the year along with owning the broadcast segment “Play of the Day”. CS.MONEY will have access to a number of physical and digital branding assets across BLAST Premier’s seven events in 2022, which typically reaches a global audience of over 150 territories in 18 different languages.

Over the last few years the partnership has become famous for its much-loved CS:GO skin content that features the world’s best players taking part in a number of challenges and games that highlight their knowledge and love for skins.

“Extending the sponsorship into a fourth year is testament to the belief and satisfaction CS.MONEY have shown in this partnership, that we’ve built up from 2019. The result of this hard work is shown by their skin trading platform becoming synonymous with our Counter-Strike tournament and we hope to build on this further in 2022. Four years is a long time in esports and we’re really proud of the content and activations we’ve delivered during this period,” Oliver Clarke, Head of Brand Partnerships for BLAST, said.

“Skins have been for a long time a natural part of Counter-Strike ecosystem along with esports. This is why it is so important for us to support the CS:GO community by allowing them to trade skins safely and comfortably and by supporting events like BLAST Premier as well. We want Counter-Strike fans to have more emotions not only from having a new skin in their favourite game but from watching spectacular games. And I am sure that our partnership with BLAST will play a major role in that,” Artsiom Rabtsau, Chief Marketing Officer at CS.Money, said.

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Yesports Closes $2.25M Round to Launch Esports Metaverse Platform

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Yesports, the world’s first eSports engagement platform, has raised $2.25m during its round of seed funding.

The list of investors includes Polygon Studios, Alphabit, Cosmos, Kernel Ventures, Mozaik Capital and NGC Ventures. The fund raised will be used for the development of its NFT-based esports marketplace and esports-focused metaverse.

Yesports represents the first cross-chain metaverse engagement platform (MEP) designed to enable more than 500 million eSports fans worldwide to engage fully with their favourite teams in custom-built metaverse experiences.

The Yesports platform will provide access to exclusive content, community initiatives, merchandise, and more by acquiring or holding NFTs.

The raise follows an initial grant from the $100m gaming-centred NFT fund Polygon Studios founded in July.

Via the Yesports marketplace, fans can trade eSports NFTs across a range of ecosystems, including Moonbeam, Ethereum, Polygon, Binance Smart Chain (BSC), and other EVM-compatible layer-1 blockchains.

Yesports will also collaborate with teams to provide fans with a private metaverse experience, allowing them to vote using DAO tokens and access clubhouses and private team NFT marketplaces.

CEO and Founder of Yesports, Sebastian Quinn, explained Web3 and the emerging metaverse allow for much greater fan participation, engagement and ownership.

“Yesports is the Web3 upgrade the eSports sector has been waiting for and will serve as a portal for eSports fans to participate in this new paradigm,” he said.

“We can’t wait to get building with teams all over the world.”

Steven Bryson-Haynes, VP of Business Development, NFT & Gaming at Polygon Studios, said: “The team at Yesports are building something extremely valuable to the rapidly developing Web3 landscape”.

“The eSporting sector’s fan base and viewing figures are expanding all the time and Yesports will galvanize this by enabling an outlet for fan engagement,” he added.

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