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TEAM VITALITY DOUBLES DOWN FOR TWO COPENHAGEN MAJORS IN COUNTER STRIKE AND ROCKET LEAGUE

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  • From today, Team Vitality gears up for Copenhagen, competing in both the Counter-Strike and Rocket League Majors, highlighting their commitment to ascending as the world’s best esports club.
  • World champion in both games, the French club will defend its titles with its franchise players Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut on Counter-Strike 2 and Alexis “zen” Bernier on Rocket League.
  • On site and from its premises in Paris, Team Vitality will carry out immersive experiences and exclusive meeting sessions with its players, in close collaboration with its partners.

 

Team Vitality, the world’s leading esport club, is set to take part in two key events on the esport calendar, both taking place simultaneously in Copenhagen. Firstly, the first Major in the history of Counter-Strike 2 at the Royal Arena. And then, the Major of the Rocket League scene at the KB Hallen Arena. Together, the French trio will attempt to regain their position as leaders on the international scene after winning the 2023 World Championships in Düsseldorf.

TEAM VITALITY’S QUEEN TEAM AIMS TO MAINTAIN ITS REIGN

Team Vitality’s squad enters the first Counter Strike 2 Major, taking place at the Royal Arena in Copenhagen, with the determination to defend their title after reigning supreme at the BLAST.tv Paris Major 2023. With renewed energy, commitment and determination, the new Team Vitality era promises to be explosive. This new Major would be an opportunity for the team to achieve back-to-back Major victories, obtain a new star on their jersey, and maintain its heritage as champion of the scene.

With star player ZywOo’s contract renewal until 2026, Team Vitality gains renewed energy and commitment, heralding a new era of determination. These renewals reinforce the team’s dedication to finding and nurturing esports talent and support their competitive mission of maintaining their top position in esports. As the team’s cornerstone, ZywOo’s exceptional skills elevate Team Vitality’s competitive edge and inspire the entire organisation in its quest for excellence in esports.

“We will arrive in Copenhagen with a desire to make a good impression. For some players, this will be their first Major. For the players, arriving with the title of world champions, poses a significant challenge as they strive to live up to the expectations of being considered the best in the world. But for the team, it will be an opportunity to put our preparation to the test, evaluate if we have made the right decisions, and show our determination. Our ambition is strong, we are led by the best player in the world – ZywOo – we can only aim for the top spots.” explains Fabien ‘Neo’ Devide, co-founder and President of Team Vitality.

TEAM VITALITY’S ROCKET LEAGUE ROSTER READY TO DEFEND ITS LEADERSHIP

Reigning world champion and record-holders of the first perfect split in the history of the game, Team Vitality’s Rocket League team returns to the forefront to defend its leadership on the international scene from March 28 at the KB Hallen Arena in Copenhagen.

Made up of the crème de la crème of French players with Zen, Radosin and Alpha54, the Team Vitality team is driven by the desire to add even more titles to its list of achievements. The new coach of the roster, the former world champion FairyPeak!, will also be able to prove himself behind the screen by pushing his players to surpass themselves.

Together, the team hopes to win first place and remain the number 1 team on the French-speaking and international scene.

“RLCS Copenhagen, stands as a new competition where Team Vitality must take its stand and defend its title. This new season has been challenging, particularly in terms of player support. Currently, we find ourselves in a transitional period, where the team is still digesting their status as World Champions. This Major is an important competition, serving as a bridge towards our main objective which is to win the Worlds at the end of the year. In any case, we are going to Copenhagen with the aim to achieve.” recalls Fabien ‘Neo’ Devide, co-founder and President of Team Vitality.

DEFINING THE IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE FOR ALL FANS, FROM PARIS TO COPENHAGEN

Within the Royal Arena, Team Vitality will have a dedicated booth to welcome its fans and organise meet & greets with the players. This will also be an opportunity to (re)discover the V.Hive club application through a 100% winning digital experience.

To celebrate this historical moment where both of the French Club’s formidable rosters take centre stage, Team Vitality along with its official audio partner, JBL Quantum, has crafted an array of captivating experiences for its fans on the stand including:

  • Sound is Survival, step into a realm where you must rely on sound alone using the JBL Quantum 910 to navigate a Counter-Strike 2 map engulfed in smoke to defuse a bomb as quickly as possible while blindfolded. The person with the best time will be able to win a headset.
  • Sound of Legends, fans can experience 100% sound-based quiz. They will have to recognise the sounds from the Counter-Strike 2 game as quickly and precisely as possible, with the chance to win a JBL Quantum 910 headset by achieving the highest score.

IN PARIS FROM THE BUZZING V.HIVE

Team Vitality fans who did not have the chance to travel to Copenhagen will also have the opportunity to follow their teams thanks to EVNIA and Crédit Agricole. In Paris, viewing parties will be held at V.Hive from March 21 to 31.

Finally, Team Vitality and its partner Unilever are launching a unique gourmet initiative with Ben & Jerry’s named: Major Delivery. From March 20 to 29, fans can order delicious Ben & Jerry’s ice cream with the code ‘VITALITYMAJOR’ directly from the UberEats app. Team Vitality fans will benefit from a discount and will automatically be entered into a giveaway to have the chance to win a trip to attend the second Rocket League Major.

“It is an exceptional opportunity to have these two esports events at the same time and in the same place. Particularly in a city like Copenhagen where the culture of esports is well established and respected. This is why Team Vitality and its partners have made an effort to curate experiences for our fans who have travelled there, but also for those who remain at home. I am delighted that we were able to bring our partners on board this new adventure, signalling an important step for the club, and an opportunity to cement our leadership in the international scene.” said Nicolas ‘Nico’ Maurer, co-founder CEO of Team Vitality.

 

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Team ATK Oshun excels at 2024 Online Championships held on 13 April 2024

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Mind Sports South Africa’s (MSSA) 2024 Online Championships held on 13 April 2024 showed sterling results.
The championship was yet another chance for many esports athletes to qualify for MSSA’s National Team Trials to be held on 25 May 2024 at which the team will be selected to officially represent South Africa at the African Qualifiers which lead up to IESF’s 16th World Esports Championships to be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in October and November 2024..

All Registered Players who have finished in the top three places, or the top 20% – whichever is greater, are entitled to enter trials.

However, it must be remembered that all players must have a valid passport to participate in the National Team Trials.

It was indeed exciting to watch just how much all the female teams have improved.

Team ATK Oshun (ATK Club Sport) being a female team astounded all with their skill and sportsmanship. The team demolished all ATK Club Sport opposition to ultimately won the premier event overall and qualify for the National Team trials to be held on 25 May 2025.

IESF’s 15th World Championships will be played to the following titles:

  • Counter-Strike 2
  • Counter-Strike 2 – Female division
  • DotA 2
  • eFootball
  • Mobile Legends, Bang Bang
  • Mobile Legends, Bang Bang – Female division
  • PUBGM

The high standard of play saw 37 Registered Players from six provinces being awarded Provincial Colours. Only Limpopo, Free State, and Northern Cape did not have Registered Players who did not earn provincial colours.

Title Name of player/team Club Provincial Colours awarded
Clash Royale – Premier Johan Coetzee Middies Mpumalanga
Clash Royale – High School Aryan Maharaj PR0NHS
Counter Strike: 2 ATK Oshun
Kaylee Ludick ATK Club Sport Gauteng
Jessica Eleez Greeff ATK Club Sport Gauteng
Christin Brazier ATK Club Sport Gauteng
Megan van der Westhuizen ATK Club Sport Gauteng
Kayhla Rose Calder ATK Club Sport Gauteng
DotA – Premier ZAG DOTA 1
Suhail Khan ZAG Academy Gauteng
Travis John Waters ZAG Academy Western Cape
Mark Kilian Lehle ZAG Academy Gauteng
Mohammad Dhooma ZAG Academy Eastern Cape
Nicholas Dammert ZAG Academy Gauteng
eFootball – Premier Aslam Parker PES Society Gauteng
FIFA 24 – High School Daiyaan Hendricks PES Society Western Cape
Mobile Legends – Premier
Mavericks
Matthew Tatalias Mavericks Gauteng
Damian Bransby Mavericks Western Cape
Preshan Pillay Mavericks Gauteng
Mohammad Azhar Ansari Mavericks KwaZulu Natal
Taygan Gabriel Mavericks KwaZulu Natal
Luke Green Mavericks Western Cape
Mobile Legends – Premier – Female
AHG
Je’nielle Cavanagh PES Society Western Cape
Inez Pringle PES Society Western Cape
Salma Parker PES Society Western Cape
Ra’isha Prout PES Society Western Cape
Fatimah Prout PES Society Western Cape
Mia Anthony PES Society Western Cape
PUBGM
Team uEnvy
Richard Henry ZAG Academy Eastern Cape
La-eeq Arendse ZAG Academy Western Cape
Kyle Dudley ZAG Academy Western Cape
Clayton Leak ZAG Academy Western Cape
Rocket League – Premier – 1 v 1 – Premier Nathan Strange Hoërskool Klerksdorp
Rocket League – Premier – 1 v 1 – High School Luther Peens Hoërskool Klerksdorp
Street Fightter V – Premier Marnus van der Merwe Hoërskool Klerksdorp North West
Tekken 8 Stasch Cloeta Team PlayBell Western Cape
Valorant – Premier
TuksValorant
Tapiwanashe Keith Matema TuksEsports Gauteng
Kyle Halvorsen TuksEsports Gauteng
Jaden Connor Swarts TuksEsports Gauteng
Ronald James Tyler Wheeldon TuksEsports Gauteng
Alejandro Luca Sartini-Kruger TuksEsports Gauteng
Armand Pierre van der Colf TuksEsports Gauteng
Sportsmanship Award Je’nielle Cavanagh PES Society
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Maharashtra Government rewards state’s Asian Games 2022 Esports athletes with INR 10 lakhs; marks historic moment for Indian Esports

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In a groundbreaking move, the Directorate of Sports and Youth Services of the Government of Maharashtra has rewarded a significant amount of INR 10 lakhs to each Esports athlete of the state who represented India in the Asian Games 2022, held in Hangzhou. This marks a historic moment for Indian Esports, as it is the first time any state has included Esports alongside mainstream sports in prize money rewards for its state players in a major tournament. The recipients of this monetary reward include Darshan Bata, captain of the DOTA 2 team, along with his teammates Krish Gupta, Ketan Goyal, and Shubham Goli, as well as League of Legends athlete Samarth Trivedi.

Expressing his gratitude, Darshan Bata, the captain of the DOTA 2 team who hails from Mumbai, said, “I would like to express my sincere thanks to ESFI and the Maharashtra government for honoring us and recognizing and supporting Esports.”

Esports made its debut as a full-fledged medal event at the Asian Games 2022, where a total of 476 athletes from 30 different countries competed for gold medals across seven titles. India participated in four of these titles, including DOTA 2, EA Sports FC Online, League of Legends, and Street Fighter V: Champion Edition.

“It has been a great experience at Asian games, I am grateful for the support I received from the Maharashtra government and I really appreciate the efforts ESFI has contributed to our journey,” stated Ketan Goyal of Pune who was a part of the DOTA 2 team at the Asian Games 2022.

The talented Indian contingent for the Asian Games was sent by Esports Federation of India (ESFI), who had organized open for all nationwide online qualifiers to select the best and most deserving athletes to compete for the nation at the tournament.

“Really happy to see that Esports is getting recognized and we are being aided by the government. Thank you for the support to Maharashtra Government and a big shoutout to ESFI for giving us this opportunity to represent India in the Asian games,” highlighted Krish Gupta of Pune, a member of the Indian DOTA 2 team.

The League of Legends team, in particular, achieved a historic fifth-place finish at the 19th Asian Games after competing against top-tier teams from around the continent.

“I am really grateful to the Maharashtra government for providing us with the financial support. It is amazing to see Esports being recognized by the Government. A huge shoutout to ESFI for giving us the opportunity and platform to compete at the Asian Games 2022 in Hangzhou,” commented Samarth Trivedi of Thane who played a pivotal part in the country’s performance in League of Legends at the tournament.

Prior to the 19th Asian Games, India had also secured a remarkable bronze medal at the Commonwealth Esports Championships in DOTA 2, showcasing the country’s prowess in video gaming on the international stage.

“Thank you ESFI and team for all you support throughout Asian games 2022. We are really blessed and honored by Maharashtra Government for supporting Esports players and considering Esports in events like Commonwealth and Asian Games,” noted Shubham Goli, a resident of Pune who represented India at both the Commonwealth Esports Championships as well as the Asian Games 2022 in DOTA 2. The latest FICCI-EY report titled ‘#Reinvent: India’s media & entertainment sector is innovating for the future, India is expected to have 20 international teams by 2024.

The Maharashtra government’s recognition and support of Esports signals a significant milestone in the journey towards mainstream acceptance of competitive gaming as a legitimate sport in the country.

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eSports in the CIS region , Q&A w/ Viktor Block, Senior Sales Manager/PandaScore

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eSports in the CIS region , Q&A w/ Viktor Block, Senior Sales Manager/PandaScore
Reading Time: 5 minutes

 

Esports has long been popular in the CIS region, with various top-tier teams and players all calling it home. How has the landscape evolved over the last few years? Have any particular trends emerged that have surprised you at all?

Esports boomed in the CIS region in 2008 when Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) games became really popular. While esports had been a thing as far back as 2003, the rise of games such as Counter-Strike and DOTA2 was a major catalyst for the upward trajectory the sector has been riding ever since. In recent years, the infrastructure needed to support esports has improved drastically across the CIS region, including the construction of the Pixel Esports Arena in Minks, Belarus, and the Cyberspace Arena in Almaty, Kazakhstan, both of which hold top-flight contests. Internet connectivity has also improved, while support from local and international sponsors such as Monster Energy, Red Bull and War Gaming have provided funds for further investment while also driving awareness. Ultimately, this has seen the landscape evolve into a thriving industry with lots of opportunities for further growth.

In terms of trends, and especially relating to esports betting, I’ve been surprised by the high demand for betting on console games – we call them eBattles and they include disciplines such as eSoccer and eBasketball. I think this is just a natural development that has occurred off the back of strong demand for video game content, which is often the bridge between traditional sports and esports.

 

What factors have contributed to esports’ growth in the CIS over the past few years?

One of the biggest factors for me is that teams have become more professional and are now training and playing in well-run clubs. This takes place in dedicated buildings and rooms, set up with high-speed internet and the absolute best gaming equipment. Player salaries have also gone up, which has increased the calibre of players taking part in contests across the region, taking competitiveness to the next level. Today, many CIS players now play for high-ranked teams such as Virtus.pro, Team Spirit, Betboom or Na`Vi which compete on the international stage. This in turn is helping esports grow across the CIS region.

 

Given how many countries are in the CIS region, can you walk us through some of the biggest regulatory differences when it comes to betting on esports? And how does PandaScore navigate these changes?

The legality of betting and esports betting differs from country to country within the CIS region. Some are super strict or even prohibit gambling, while others take a more liberal approach, regulating the activity and licensing operators. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest markets and their approach.

In Ukraine, esports has been recognised as a sport since 2018 and in 2020 the country regulated and licensed gambling for the first time. The law focuses mostly on standard betting – sports and casino – but is likely to also include esports betting given that esports is a recognised sport in the country with tier-one Ukraine sportsbooks like Favbet and Parimatch offering it to their players.

Kazakhstan has a growing gambling industry with betting shops and casinos operating in major cities such as Almaty and Nur-Sultan. Gambling is regulated by the Ministry of Culture and Sports and while the regulatory framework is somewhat restrictive, sports betting – which is likely to include esports betting – is permitted.

Navigating the constant changes in betting regulation across the CIS region can be challenging, so we make sure to keep up to speed with the latest developments by monitoring legislative updates and amendments to regulatory guidelines. We also track industry trends and best practices to anticipate regulatory changes ahead of time, allowing us to adapt quickly if needed. This can involve benchmarking against competitors, attending conferences and networking with key stakeholders.

 

In your view, are there any unique opportunities for the expansion of esports and esports betting within the CIS region? And how does this differ to other regions?

It’s important to understand that CIS, especially Ukraine and Kazakhstan, play by their own rules. By that I mean they are very different to other esports markets, so don’t think what works in Italy will work in Ukraine. For example, while League of Legends is very popular in Europe, in CIS, it’s Dota 2 that takes the top spot. But for those who can understand the region and each market, there are plenty of opportunities to explore.

Let me elaborate. Dota 2 is thriving in the broader CIS, with regular tournaments and events attracting large audiences both offline and online. teams like Natus Vincere (Na’Vi), Virtus.pro and Team Spirit have achieved significant success in Dota 2 competitions, contributing to the game’s popularity in the region. While Dota 2 is big, other video games also enjoy significant popularity, including CS2, World of Tanks and Fortnite among others.

Operators need to consider this when deciding their markets and odds, marketing strategies and plans for player engagement.

 

What would you say is the key to creating a successful esports product for a CIS audience?

Understanding layer preferences in each market and delivering an experience that exceeds their expectations. For the CIS region, this means focusing on Dota 2 – this is a game that offers deep and strategic gameplay requiring teamwork, communication and skilful execution of plans and strategies. Its competitive nature appeals to gamers as they enjoy the challenge of multiplayer experiences – this goes back to the original MOBAs back in 2008. These factors must be present in the esports betting experience offered to players – at PandaScore, this means a comprehensive Dota 2 offering that covers markets such as Kills, Towers, Roshans and Barracks, with players able to challenge themselves in a betting competition against others.

Support is also key to delivering a quality player experience. We offer round-the-clock assistance and are regularly rolling out updates to improve the experience players receive when betting on esports at sportsbooks using our data, odds and betting tools such as our Bet Builder. We are always working hard to expand our offering to cover the most in-demand games including CS2, Valorant, Call of Duty and many more.

 

What trends or developments do you anticipate shaping the future growth of esports in the CIS region over the next few years?

The industry will continue to grow and become more professional. Esports is different to traditional sports and it still lacks recognition in some markets, even though it is considered an official sport in a growing number of countries across the CIS region. I think as it evolves, more governments will provide more support for esports as it brings tremendous economic, cultural and social benefits. This could include funding for esports initiatives, rolling out regulatory frameworks, helping to foster partnerships with esports organisations or simply recognising it as a sport.

The continued proliferation of smartphones across the region will be a further catalyst for esports growth. Titles such as PUGB Mobile, Free Fire and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang will attract large audiences and provide new opportunities for teams, players, sponsors and other stakeholders to explore. This is a really exciting time for esports and esports betting in the CIS region, and PandaScore is thrilled to be part of it.

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