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Esports Sets $3 million Payday Record as Sponsors and Big Brands Are Given the “Keys to the Kingdom” of Big Data

George Miller

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Esports Sets $3 million Payday Record as Sponsors and Big Brands Are Given the "Keys to the Kingdom" of Big Data
VNU's engageLIVE proves that sponsors love to ask questions and FANS love to answer and be heard!
Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

As a 16-year-old was awarded a $3-million-dollar cash prize for winning a Fortnite tournament, the largest payout ever for a single player in an esports tournament, an Atlanta startup unlocked its war chest of advanced patented technology promising to boost esports for big money sponsors and brands by breaking the data barrier within live events.  Move over content, data is the new king.

Kyle ‘Bugha’ Giersdorf, from Pennsylvania, is the 16-year-old who everyone is talking about after he was crowned king of Fortnite and took home the $3-million-dollar grand prize. The tournament, which was held in New York’s Arthur Ashe tennis stadium, had a total payout for all levels and ranks of $30 million dollars. But keeping to this trend of future sizable multi-million-dollar payouts may be difficult for other esports tournaments unless they can attract the deep pockets of corporate advertisers and sponsors. Massive exposure to this intriguing world of gamers is one way to secure large advertising spends; however, access to big data from this same group may be the keys to the kingdom.

Indeed, consultancy firm Accenture’s “Big Success with Big Data” study found that 79 percent of enterprise executives say that companies who don’t embrace big data will lose market strength and may face extinction. By now, it is a well-known fact that data is king when it comes to successful performance in the digital era.

Sponsors, advertisers, and brands in this technologically advanced age of millennials and their mobile devices have come to expect teams, leagues, and venues to deliver on the big data promise. Big data refers to extremely large data sets that may be analyzed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions. One company has both chartered and taken the lead in the industry on delivering on this promise, not only within esports but all LIVE events: VNU (pronounced Venue).  VNU has pioneered a new engagement technology platform called “engageLIVE.”

Pushing the data boundary is what engageLIVE is about. Last year the startup completed a proof of concept with Turner Sports during its ELEAGUE “Streetfighter V Championship” tournament. In a world where most teams and leagues are very happy with 5 to 10% participation in their apps during live events, VNU crushed those numbers, activating over 87% of the live audience in a moment’s notice (with zero pre-promotion) and holding their attention, with 90% of those activated participating during the entire engageLIVE session.

Betting big on data and live events is CEO and cofounder of VNU, Joe Carter. Carter is a former CNN host who worked at the cable news station from 2009 to 2016. He was a familiar face on HLN’s Morning Express with Robin Meade and various CNN news shows from early morning to late day. Since leaving the cable network, Carter has been laser-focused on maximizing engagement to drive actionable data during event downtime: “Our engageLIVE product combines the best features of demographic targeting and behavioral targeting into a new engagement platform which instantly enables any live venue to gamify and monetize the downtime of any live event while turning fans into advocates of the event sponsors and brands.

The engageLIVE platform comes from Internet patent pioneer Jovan Hutton Pulitzer and his patent/development incubator FLIP.Ventures.  A number of Pulitzer’s technology innovations and patents (for instance, how you scan and connect with QR codes and bar codes on your mobile devices) are already in use on more than 11 billion mobile devices globally. This scan-and-connect software, which comes pre-installed on most current devices, allows Carter’s company to activate the engageLIVE feature set in seconds.

We spent several years meeting and brainstorming with executives in the NFL, MLB, NBA, and other live events finding out what everyone really needs to engage their fans and also what would make it useful for sponsors and brands,” Carter states. “We are now rolling out what the teams, leagues, venues, brands, and sponsors told us they wanted to engage live audience members. We deeply researched the needs of all and then created the only technology product which could deliver on it.

VNU’s results with Turner’s ELEAGUE were exceptional, but Carter set out to push the engagement boundaries to show his technology company could succeed against higher stakes. VNU partnered with Esports Stadium Arlington to engage a crowd of thousands over a 12-hour period during a championship tournament.

Breaking ground and being bold is what Esports Stadium Arlington is known for. The 10-million-dollar, 100,000-square-foot facility located in Arlington, TX, is North America’s largest dedicated esports facility. The building is a joint venture of the city of Arlington and Esports Venues LLC, an arm of Infinite Esports, which is owned by Texas Rangers co-owner/COO Neil Leibmen. VNU and its platform engageLIVE activated and engaged the crowd during every downtime moment on championship Sunday at a popular tournament called Low Tier City 7.

Not only is Esports Stadium Arlington known as America’s largest dedicated esports facility, but it now has bragging rights by having launched the first fully engaged & interactive esports event. Low Tier City 7 fans were interacting with the engageLIVE platform during every game break and game changes.

EngageLIVE was a fantastic way to enhance the audience experience at Low Tier City in an authentic way. The active audience participation that engageLIVE generated using sponsor-driven questions during giveaways brings beneficial exposure to partners, which provided valuable insights. There are bright opportunities with engageLIVE for events to amplify experiential components for fans while simultaneously deriving valuable and informative ownable moments for stakeholders,” said Jonathon Oudthone, President of Esports Stadium Arlington.

Esports is hot, engagement is hot, and Carter’s company is hot. “Esports continues to show its huge potential, but it must prove it has full brand and sponsorship potential, and that it has the ability to deliver more than the traditional live events have in the past.  The more is big data. We knew that if we could get fans to engage on a moment’s notice and share views, votes, values, and vision with the brands and sponsors, then the advertising and sponsorship dollars needed for the esports business to explode will be soon to follow. We’ve accomplished what we set out to develop and we’re now looking forward to the new ideas, data, offers, and brand messaging which springs forth going forward,” closes Carter.

 

Source: VNU, LLC

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eSports

Wizards District Gaming to Host District Gaming Invitational Presented by Events DC

George Miller

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Wizards District Gaming to Host District Gaming Invitational Presented by Events DC
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Round robin tournament set for July 18 at the Entertainment and Sports Arena

 Wizards District Gaming is one of six franchises set to host a round robin tournament as part of the 2020 NBA 2K League season, the league announced Thursday. WDG will welcome NetsGC, Hornets Venom GT and 76ers GC for the District Gaming Invitational Presented by Events DC on Saturday, July 18 beginning at 1 p.m. at the Entertainment and Sports Arena.

The four-team tournament will pin each squad against each other once with the top two teams competing for the tournament championship and a $20,000 prize pool. All games except for the championship game will count towards the teams’ regular season record.

Ticket information for the District Gaming Invitational at the Entertainment and Sports Arena will be available at a later date.

“We are firm believers in Washington, D.C. as a global hub for esports and couldn’t be more excited to welcome NetsGC, Hornets Venom GT and 76ers GC for this premier 2K tournament as part of the 2020 NBA 2K League season,” Zach Leonsis, senior vice president for strategic initiatives at Monumental Sports & Entertainment, said. “Special thanks to NBA 2K League Managing Director Brendan Donohue, the NBA, and our partners at Events DC for sharing in Monumental’s vision to bring the best and brightest in 2K to the nation’s capital.”

“In partnership with Monumental Sports & Entertainment, we’re thrilled to host Wizards District Gaming and the NBA 2K League at the Entertainment and Sports Arena in July for the District Gaming Invitational Presented by Events DC. As a best-in-class venue, the Entertainment and Sports Arena is a place where champions come to win and we look forward to celebrating the NBA 2K League, its talented players, and passionate community for this exciting tournament,” said Gregory A. O’Dell, president and chief executive officer of Events DC.  “We thank the NBA for recognizing Washington, DC as a prominent market – as it remains our goal to continue to showcase the District as a top destination for the gaming industry.”

Wizards District Gaming will open the regular season by hosting Mavs Gaming in an NBA 2K League Rivalry Match at the MedStar Wizards District Gaming Studio on April 4.

 

Click here for the complete 2020 schedule.

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eSports

Hawks Talon Gaming Club Announces 2020 Schedule

George Miller

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Hawks Talon Gaming Club Announces 2020 Schedule
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Team Will Play 16 Regular-Season Games and Travel to Orlando for Round-Robin Event on Saturday, March 23

 

The NBA 2K League announced today that the NBA 2K League Studio is moving to Manhattan for the 2020 season and unveiled the league’s complete season schedule. The studio, a 13,600 square-foot space, is located at 508 West 37th Street in Manhattan.

Hawks Talon Gaming Club will play a total of 16 regular-season games highlighted by several matchups. The first of these is a Week 2 matchup against the NBA 2K League defending champion T-Wolves Gaming.

Later in the season, Hawks Talon will travel to Orlando in Week 7 for the team’s lone round-robin event. Select NBA 2K League teams will host rivalry matches and round-robin events in their local markets, which is a new form of competitive regular-season play. The round-robin event in Orlando will feature Hawks Talon competing in games against Magic Gaming, Hornets Venom GT and Heat Check Gaming during the afternoon of Saturday, May 23.

The next feature game is a rivalry matchup as the team travels to Memphis for Week 9 to compete against Grizz Gaming, which was the team that Kel (Mykel Wilson), Hawks Talon’s second-round pick from the 2020 NBA 2K League Draft, played for last season. All rivalry matches and round-robin games count toward a team’s regular-season record, with the exception of the round-robin championship games. Each round-robin event will have a total prize pool of $20,000 with the winner of the championship game receiving $15,000.

In one of the most highly-anticipated matchups across the NBA 2K League season, Hawks Talon will compete Kings Guard Gaming in Week 14. This matchup features Hawks Talon’s Bp (Michael Diaz) against Kings Guard Gaming’s Dat Boy Shotz (Connor Rodrigues) who were traded for each other along with two draft picks this past offseason. Bp was named one of five finalists for the 2019 Intel Performance NBA 2K League Most Valuable Player Award.

Similar to last season, weekly regular-season matchups at the NBA 2K League Studio will begin at 7 p.m. ET on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. All 23 teams will have five bye weeks during the season, including a league-wide bye week July 1-4.

On Saturday, Feb. 22, Hawks Talon Gaming Club drafted Lee (Lee Lamb), Kel (Mykel Wilson), followTHEGOD (Kwan Larry Niblack Jr) and Arkele (Derrion Elmore). The four draft picks join a roster that already includes both the third overall pick (Bp) and the fourth overall pick (MrStylez) from the 2019 NBA 2K League Draft. MrStylez (Andrew Valle) was retained this past offseason by Hawks Talon GC after being acquired in a mid-season trade with Pistons GT. The team is led by Team Manager and Head Coach Wesley Acuff who is primarily responsible for all aspects of team operations, including player personnel management and coaching strategy.

 

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Asia

Overwatch Postpones Seoul Matches Due to Corona Virus Outbreak

Niji Narayan

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Overwatch Postpones Seoul Matches Due to Corona Virus Outbreak
Photo Source: chiangraitimes.com
Reading Time: < 1 minute

 

The Overwatch League has postponed its scheduled matches in Seoul amid reports that Asia’s virus outbreak is spreading in South Korea.

The league previously postponed matches scheduled for three cities in China this month and rescheduled them for March in Seoul due to the COVID-19 illness. Those matches, along with previously scheduled home dates for the Seoul Dynasty, have now been postponed.

“In order to protect the health and safety of our players, fans, & staff, we are canceling plans to host OWL 2020 matches in South Korea in Weeks 5, 6, and 7, including the Seoul Dynasty home event. We’ll share more info about when and where matches will take place at a later,” Overwatch League said in a statement.

This is the first year for OWL’s unprecedented global schedule including host matches for its 20 city-based franchises in Asia, North America and Europe.

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