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QUEEN ELIZABETH OLYMPIC PARK, THE UK’S HOME OF ESPORTS

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Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is fast becoming the home of esports in the UK, with its premier esports arena, Copper Box Arena, at the centre of this rapidly growing industry as it welcomes the World Series of Warzone Global Finals.

London’s third largest arena has already hosted major esports tournaments featuring popular games such as Apex Legends, League of Legends (LoL Esports), Gran Turismo, among many others, drawing in avid esports fans from all over the world.

  • Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park welcomes esports tournament World Series of Warzone Global Finals.
  • The leading innovation campus, Here East, on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, is now home to a thriving esports community and promoter Esports Engine.
  • The global games market has more than doubled in value from $70.6Bn in 2012 to $180.1Bn in 2021.
  • Hub of esports education with courses at Staffordshire University London based at Here East and College of Esports at Lee Valley VeloPark.

Copper Box Arena, managed by GLL, a charitable social enterprise and worker-owned cooperative, operating under the community-brand, Better will welcome the World Series of Warzone Global Finals on Saturday 16th September.

The world’s best Warzone players will battle it out live for a staggering $600,000 in prize money. The event will even include the iconic Solo Yolo event, which will see 150 Warzone demons go rogue, battling it out individually for a chance to claim the crown and a whopping $100,000 prize for the last player standing.

The last CoD event in London was back in 2020 when the London Royal Ravens held some of their electrifying home matches at Copper Box Arena.

The 7,500 seater arena’s flexibility enables it to accommodate the diverse event set-ups different esports events require from a full auditorium, to accommodating event and expo combined, from end stage to centre stage to projection onto the field of play itself.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is a global leader in esports. The Park is harnessing this growing industry, becoming a hub for skills training and jobs in the sector, and helping to create a better, more prosperous London for all. The eyes of the gaming world will be on the Copper Box Arena this week, as tens of thousands of visitors take part in the exciting programme of events, with millions more joining in online.”

Lyn Garner, Chief Executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, said: “It’s fantastic to be welcoming another esports event to the Copper Box Arena which has established itself as the capital’s prime esports venue. The esports cluster evolving here on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park drives huge opportunities for learning and jobs and makes a major contribution to the economy.”

Gavin Poole, CEO of Here East, said: “It is wonderful to see the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park’s transformation into a vibrant hub for the esports community.  Home to world-class tech companies, leading educational institutions and creative businesses, Here East has long supported innovation in the gaming industry.  We are thrilled to be at the forefront of this rapidly evolving sector, solidifying East London’s reputation as the leading destination for esports in the UK.”

Stuart Hutchison, General Manager at Copper Box Arena, said: “We’re immensely proud to be part of the emergence of esports. Copper Box Arena is rapidly becoming the home of esports in the UK after hosting huge tournaments such as League of Legends and Apex Legends already this year. We are now excited to be bringing yet another high-profile game to life in Call of Duty Warzone.”

Esports has garnered immense popularity, with viewership for events rivalling that of traditional sports, and the park is at the forefront of embracing this global phenomenon. As esports continues to capture the hearts of many, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is positioning itself as a leading destination for esports in the UK, offering a dynamic and cutting-edge environment for esports tournaments, athletes, and fans alike.

eSports

TUNDRA’S NEW ‘TEAMMATE’ UNVEILED

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Ballantine’s, the world’s second largest Scotch whisky has teamed up with defending champions Tundra Esports as their Official Spirit Partner for The Dota 2 International 2023, which will be the first ever esports team sponsorship for Ballantine’s. The partnership will see Ballantine’s make its debut on Tundra’s new The International official jersey, which goes on sale on 6th October 2023, which will celebrate those that live the ‘Stay True’ lifestyle, subvert expectations, and do things their own way.

Tundra’s Esports Dota 2 team are the reigning World champions, winning The International in 2022, beating the opposing team in a clean 3-0 sweep. The team has gone on to keep their crown as the DPC WEU Tour 3 top team, and they are one of the clear favourites going into the next Dota 2 The International 2023, which kick offs on 12th October and ends October 29th.

Ballantine’s is a long time champion of self-expression and has a storied history of celebrating people who live life with an independent spirit and have the self-confidence to stay true to themselves, even when faced with challenge, expectation & judgement. It was Tundra’s unwavering commitment to this ‘Stay True’ vision within their unique playstyle that led them, against all expectations, to be the crowning champions of Dota 2 The International 2022 and a perfect partner for Ballantine’s.

The partnership is the latest move by Ballantine’s in the esport space following their partnership earlier this year with BLAST.tv for the 10 year anniversary of CS:GO Majors in Paris. Together, Tundra Esports and Ballantine’s will be launching a series of bespoke behind the scenes content that gets up close and personal with the players.

Afterwork Drinks sees Head Coach Kurtis “Aui_2000” Ling speak on his work day and share his experiences with Ballantine’s. TI Dream Team where the Tundra Team, composed of Jingjun “Sneyking” Wu, Topias “Topson” Taavitsainen, Oliver “Skiter” Lepko, Neta “33” Shapira and Leon “nine” Kirlin will put together a roster of their favourites players giving insight into their picks, plus some words of wisdom Sip of Knowledge for any gamers hoping to go pro in turning their passion into their profession. Alongside this, as part of the partnership, Ballantine’s logo will also be featured on Tundra’s new The International jersey, as well as across Tundra’s social channels, and will also be featured within the Dota 2 in-game team’s flag and banners.

Carleton Curtis, Chief Executive Officer of Tundra Esports, said: “We are honoured to be the first esports team in history sponsored by Ballantine’s the Official Spirit Partner of our Dota 2 roster for the International 2023. This is a brilliant opportunity for us to work together in creating exciting new content and bring fans together around the world.”

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eSports

Team Vitality and Lille Olympique Sporting Club Renew Their Partnership

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Leading global esports organisation Team Vitality and Ligue 1 club Lille Olympique Sporting Club (LOSC), the 2021 French football champion and founding club of the eLigue 1 Uber Eats, announced the renewal of their partnership for the 2024 season. This renewed partnership solidifies the club’s commitment to excellence in competition and has brought together a formidable duo that will perform on the French EA SPORTS FC 24 scene. The two French clubs have joined forces for a second consecutive year to compete in French EA SPORTS FC esports.

Team Vitality and LOSC eSports introduced Ilian Bouchi as its newest recruit to the EA SPORTS FC 24 team. Coming from the north of France, Ilian is a die-hard football fan who discovered his talent for FIFA games with his family as a child, before being scouted for his potential soon after his first competitions.

Known for his exceptional mechanics, Ilian quickly ranked amongst the top players in Europe. He will focus his talents on achieving the clubs’ goals of dominating the eLigue 1 Uber Eats and taking the scene by storm. His arrival reflects the commitment of Team Vitality and LOSC eSports commitment to recruiting top young talent and remaining at the forefront of competition.

Ilian Bouchi said: “I am honoured to join a team as prestigious as Team Vitality and LOSC eSports. It’s a privilege to play alongside Rocky, having followed his career when I was younger and seen them evolve as a player. As a LOSC supporter myself, I’m really looking forward to representing the club for this upcoming season. I will do my best to take the team as far as possible.”

Team Vitality appointed Johann Simon, better known as “Maniika”, as coach of the team. The ex-professional player has over a decade of experience in FIFA games and has participated in several World Cups with several titles to his name including, eLigue 1 Champion (2017) and Dreamhack Champion (2016). This season will be the beginning of his new path into coaching. Finally, Olivier “NephaleM” Morizet takes on the role of Team Manager to support the team throughout the year.

Johann “ManiiKa” Simon said: “I am delighted to start this new adventure, particularly for a huge organisation like Team Vitality and a club like LOSC! I can’t wait to work with the team and help them conquer eLigue1.”

Just like last year, the two clubs are keen to stand out during eLigue 1 Uber Eats with the ultimate goal of winning the league and qualifying for the FIFAe World Cup.

The team will continue to wear the Team Vitality x LOSC mixed jersey with the colours of red and white which stands as a symbol of the collaboration. The team will also continue to train at Team Vitality’s V.Performance bootcamp, in the famous Stade de France. They will also have access to the prestigious Domaine de Luchin training centre and headquarters of LOSC.

“Signing LOSC for a second year is an incredible opportunity for our two clubs. LOSC is a club that shares our vision of excellence in competition, whether that is in esports or traditional sports. We can’t wait for the season to begin to see this new duo evolve together,” Nicolas Maurer, CEO & Co-founder of Team Vitality, said.

“We’re delighted to renew our collaboration with Team Vitality who are one of Europe’s leading esports organisations, after a successful first year together. Team Vitality is an ambitious organisation, and so is LOSC! We’re all competitors, and by combining our strengths and shared values, we look to achieve our highest goals. We welcome Ilian and Maniika who’ll join Rocky and the team. We hope they have a great season in EA Sports FC esports,” Olivier Letang, President and CEO of LOSC, said.

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Compliance Updates

LEC Introduces Sporting Financial Regulations

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To support the long-term financial stability and competitive balance of the LEC, the league is going to introduce new financial regulations – known as Sporting Financial Regulations (SFR) – for the start of the 2024 LoL Esports Season.

The LEC SFR will encourage teams to maintain the total sum of its five highest-paid player salaries below a certain threshold, with teams exceeding the threshold having to pay an excess fee (SFR Fee).

In doing so, the LEC seeks to create a financially sustainable environment for its pro players, partnered teams, and the league itself, allowing all parties to grow at a healthy and scalable pace, and protect the ecosystem from unsustainable spending practices. In addition, the framework will support the league by creating a better competitive balance and more engaging competition, further enhancing the experience for players and fans.

“In the current economic climate, we are dedicated more than ever to creating a sustainable future for our players, teams, and the LoL Esports ecosystem in EMEA as a whole. The LEC SFR, which will come into effect from the beginning of the 2024 Season, is one way in which we’re continuing to work towards our goal of long-term financial sustainability. By doing this, we aim to encourage teams to operate more sustainable businesses to provide job security for players and ensure we serve our fans for decades to come,” said Maximilian Peter Schmidt, Director of League of Legends Esports EMEA.

SFR will encourage each team to maintain the total sum of salaries (known as SFR Spend) paid to the top five highest-paid players in a team within a certain range. The range includes both an upper spending threshold (SFR Threshold) and a lower spending threshold (SFR Floor), with the lower spending threshold amounting to 50% of the SFR Threshold. Meanwhile, the SFR Threshold is calculated based on a number of considerations, including LEC player salaries, League Revenue Pool of the current and forecasted years, team financial data – such as revenue and expenses – and other market indicators. Teams that exceed the SFR Threshold will be imposed with an SFR Fee.

An exception will be made to teams if a player enters into a contract with the team either during or before the end of the 2023 LEC Season Finals. In this instance, the SFR Spend will be reduced by one-fifth of the SFR Threshold or the actual salary amount; whichever is lower.

The policy will be introduced starting from the 2024 LEC Global Contract Start Date (21 November 2023), with the first cycle running until the 2024 LEC Global Contract End Date (18 November 2024).

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