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100 Thieves crowned champions at Red Bull Home Ground after all-American Grand Final

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100 Thieves emerged victorious at Red Bull Home Ground after battling it out against Cloud9 in an electric Grand Final today. The official off-season VALORANT tournament was broadcast live from the historic Victoria Warehouse in the buzzing city of Manchester, England.

For the first time in Red Bull Home Ground history, teams from the Americas were eligible to enter and face off against the top EMEA teams in front of a live audience. This brought explosive match-ups, reigniting fierce overseas rivalries and testing the strength of new team rosters ahead of the 2023 Official VALORANT Championship Tournament. The thrilling Grand Final saw 100 Thieves and Cloud9 go head-to-head to stake their claim as the best VALORANT team, having battled through eight of the most elite rosters from across the globe.

The presence of the North American teams tested the mettle of their EMEA rivals, as 100 Thieves secured its place in the semi-finals after coming out undefeated in the group stages and knocking out the French esports organisation Team Vitality in the first semi-final contest. The South American team KRÜ Esports also made waves, as they displayed the strength of their newly established roster against Team Liquid, kicking the defending champions out at the quarter-finals.

Broadcast live from the Victoria Warehouse in the vibrant city of Manchester, the space for the Red Bull Home Ground was transformed into a one-of-a-kind immersive space stylised after a futuristic, cyberpunk aesthetic and boasted magnificent displays from professional VALORANT cosplayers. This year the tournament ramped up proceedings at the official off-season VALORANT tournament, which hosted hundreds of fans in the live audience and broadcasted live on Twitch and YouTube to a global audience. To amp up the excitement within the VALORANT community, Red Bull Home Ground also hosted official viewing parties across the UK, located at the Red Bull Gaming Sphere in London and Pixel Bar in Manchester and Leeds.

Kicking off with the Group Stages on Friday, there was an eruptive start to the tournament as 100 Thieves flexed their gaming muscles and advanced to the semi-finals undefeated. Cloud9 proved the strength of their new roster as they swept through Group B and secured their own spot in the semi-finals.

For the first semi-final, the NA giants 100 Thieves faced the last EMEA team left standing in the tournament, Team Vitality. In the first map, Pearl, Team Vitality stepped up to the challenge, losing narrowly by two. However, in Fracture, 100 Thieves were able to re-assert their dominance and swept the French team out of the competition, going through to the Grand Finale with a 2-0 win.

The final day began with an exhilarating second semi-final battle between Cloud9 and KRÜ Esports, where KRÜ had initially come out strong in the first few rounds. However, the Argentine team could not hold off the North Americans for long, as Cloud9 began to dominate before progressing through to the Grand Final.

With the stage set, the Grand Final started in pulse-racing fashion, with 100 Thieves inching ahead of Cloud9 with a three-point difference in the first map, Bind. In the second round, 100 Thieves began to fracture Cloud9’s dreams of becoming the next Red Bull Home Ground Champions as they stole the second round effortlessly. By the third round, 100 Thieves had expertly identified Cloud9’s strategy and denied them the chance for a comeback as they defeated them mercilessly 13-3 to claim the Red Bull Home Ground trophy.

Following the win, Matthew “Cryocells” Panganiban from 100 Thieves commented: “Bringing home the team’s first international title is great for us as Red Bull Home Ground has acted as a great proving ground for 100 Thieves ahead of the 2023 VCT. It’s been great to prove anyone wrong who has underestimated 100 Thieves and to play with a group of people that are my friends…I love these guys.”

Elevating the tournament, renowned VALORANT host Yinsu Collins returned to Red Bull Home Ground and led the competition alongside her star-studded lineup of broadcasting talent, including Mitch “Mitchman” McBride, Tom “Tombizz” Bissmire, Ryan “RyanCentral” Horton, Adam “Dinko” Hawthorne and Adam Savage. Beatriz “kaquka” Alonso and Connor “Sliggy” Blomfield also provided insight and commentary throughout the tournament. Red Bull Home Ground also featured special guest appearances from G2 Gozen, bringing their trademark expertise and strategic knowledge to every matchup.

eSports

Riot Games Announces VALORANT Esports EMEA Partnership With Unilumin

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With the start of the 2024 competitive VALORANT Esports season now underway, we’re proud to announce our partnership with Unilumin, a world leading LED display solution provider!

Unilumin has been instrumental in helping us level up the fan experience at the all-new Riot Games Arena with their industry-leading LED display technology, of which 250 square meters will now feature across the Riot Games Arena in Berlin. We’re so excited to welcome them on board as an official supplier for VCT EMEA, VALORANT Game Changers EMEA, and VALORANT Ascension EMEA.

Unilumin’s screens will light up the stage at the Berlin arena – and their logo will feature across various VALORANT Esports EMEA broadcasts throughout 2024. They’ve supplied display solutions globally from Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium to the Mercedes-Benz Arena, a mere stone’s throw away from us at the Riot Games Arena in Berlin. They’ve also worked with some of the biggest names in entertainment venues and global sports stadiums to illuminate events across the globe with grandstand, perimeter, and centerhung screens alongside scoreboards in major competition venues.

As we continue to level up the fan experience throughout 2024, we know Unilumin is the perfect partner to help us bring the most immersive experience and exciting atmosphere to the Riot Games Arena in Berlin, for our fans.

“Unilumin Sports is pleased to bring our solutions and technologies to the Riot Games Arena in Berlin and be a partner of VALORANT Esports in EMEA”, said Oscar Feng, the Global Director of Unilumin Sports. “We will use our well-designed products and fast response services to cooperate with Riot Games for their events and show the ultimate audio-visual experience to their fans.”

“After working with Unilumin for the refit of the Riot Games Arena, we’re delighted to welcome them as a supplier for our various VALORANT Esports EMEA events in 2024,” said Daniel Ringland, Head of VALORANT Esports EMEA. “Unilumin has helped us enhance the fan experience for those watching from home and joining us on-site, and we can’t wait to use their display technology throughout the season.”

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Tundra Esports Announces Addition of Ludwig ‘Zai’ Wahlberg as Dota 2 General Manager to the Team

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The veteran offlaner and captain will serve as the cornerstone for Tundra Esports’ Performance Management Team

Tundra Esports is delighted to announce the addition of Ludwig ‘Zai’ Wahlberg to its Dota 2 Performance Management Team, taking on the role of General Manager.

A household name in the competitive scene to both fans and peers alike, Wahlberg brings over tens years of experience, numerous championships and four top-three finishes at The International to the Tundra Esports tribe. Alongside his impressive tenures on some of the highest profile rosters in Dota’s history, he retains the impressive record of a 66.6% win rate across his 2,000+ game career; the highest of all pro Dota players*. For someone with such an intimate relationship with success in Dota 2, Wahlberg is expected to bring about a new level of excellence to the team’s management style and gameplay.

*With more than 200 pro matches played

Wahlberg’s addition further cements Tundra Esports’ commitment to growing and evolving its performance management team and the move marks a significant milestone for the organisation’s continued journey towards competitive success in the world of Dota 2.

“I’m thrilled to welcome Ludwig ‘Zai’ Wahlberg to Tundra Esports as the Dota 2 General Manager and support his journey into management after his illustrious playing career,” the co-founder and Esports Director for Tundra Esports, Anthony Graham, said. “We are doubling down on our approach to Dota and I don’t think there is a better person to lead our Dota operations going forward than Wahlberg.”

Wahlberg joins the already star-studded 2024 Tundra Esports Dota roster, consisting of:

1 – Ivan ‘Pure-‘ Moskalenko
2 – Topias ‘Topson’ Taavitsainen
3 – Ivan ‘MinD_ContRoL’ Ivanov
4 – Edgar ‘9Class’ Naltakian
5 – Matthew ‘Whitemon’ Filemon

“After an extensive break from the game, I’m very excited to be involved with Dota again but in a different capacity,” Wahlberg said. “I’m looking forward to stepping into a new role as General Manager for Tundra Esports and to use my previous experiences and insights as a player to manage and influence its Dota division.”

Fans will get to witness his impact on the team’s performance first-hand in its upcoming match against The International 12 champions Team Spirit this Sunday at DreamLeague Season 22.

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Esports to Beat Football? SOFTSWISS Shares Sports Betting Trends for 2024

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Esports to Beat Football? SOFTSWISS Shares Sports Betting Trends for 2024
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Esports is raising its position among top sports by bets in 2023. The product team of the SOFTSWISS Sportsbook, a top sports betting software provider, reflects on the past year.

 

Esports Unstoppable Rise

Over the past three years, the top three sports by bets remain unchanged, with football, tennis and basketball maintaining their leadership. In contrast, esports has demonstrated a consistent upward trend, progressing from the seventh position in 2021 to the fourth in 2023. Notably, Counter-Strike stands out, claiming the sixth position among the top ten disciplines by the number of bets.

Alexander Kamenetskyi, Head of SOFTSWISS Sportsbook, comments: “Considering the rise of esports, we guide our partners to focus on cyber disciplines, engaging audiences beyond traditional betting demographics. Highlighting the cybersports potential for operators, Newzoo’s report projects 640 million viewers by 2025.”

 

Mobiles Drive 92% of Operator GGR

Another notable trend in sports betting, which has remained unchanged for several years, is the consistent growth in bets made from mobile devices. According to the SOFTSWISS Sportsbook, 80% of bets in 2023 were placed via mobile versus 70% in 2022 and 68% in 2021. This trend solidifies as players increasingly opt for mobile convenience, especially in live betting scenarios. More importantly, it was mobile devices that contributed 92% to the operators’ GGR.

Kamenetskyi adds: “Mobile betting is one of our main focuses in product development. We put much effort into improving our mobile application and mobile website. It is specifically important for locations facing challenges with internet connectivity and regions like LatAm and Africa where internet coverage is still growing.”

 

Casino Turnover Drops During Major Sports Events

The SOFTSWISS Sportsbook team has repeatedly emphasised shifts in player behaviour around major sports events. Specifically, there was a 10–20% drop in online casino turnover, coinciding with the World Cup 2022. This highlights a dynamic wherein a significant portion of casino players redirect their focus towards sports betting based on seasonal patterns. Considering audience preferences, reinforcing casinos with sportsbooks is a logical step.

Kamenetskyi adds: “This pattern underscores the strategic imperative for iGaming stakeholders to recognise the synergistic relationship between casino ventures and sportsbooks. Combining these options not only enhances casino appeal but also maintains player engagement, especially during sports events. In this context, it is worth mentioning that the SOFTSWISS Sportsbook is compatible with any casino platform on the market.”

Additionally, the SOFTSWISS Sportsbook team notes the strengthening of other trends like regulation and responsible gambling that have recently been highlighted in the iGaming Trends 2024 report by SOFTSWISS. The SOFTSWISS Sportsbook team will be glad to discuss all learnings during the first SBC Summit Rio at the stand D360.

 

About SOFTSWISS 

SOFTSWISS is an international tech company supplying software solutions for managing iGaming projects. The expert team, which counts over 2,000 employees, is based in Malta, Poland and Georgia. SOFTSWISS holds a number of gaming licences and provides one-stop-shop iGaming software solutions. The company has a vast product portfolio, including the Online Casino Platform, the Game Aggregator with thousands of casino games, the Affilka affiliate platform, the Sportsbook Platform and the Jackpot Aggregator. In 2013, SOFTSWISS was the first in the world to introduce a Bitcoin-optimised online casino solution.

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