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Wizards District Gaming wins top pick in 2020 NBA 2K League Draft

George Miller

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Wizards District Gaming wins top pick in 2020 NBA 2K League Draft
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The NBA 2K League announced today that Wizards District Gaming won the NBA 2K League Draft Lottery and will have the first overall pick in the 2020 NBA 2K League Draft.  Knicks Gaming will have the second overall pick, and Hawks Talon GC will have the third overall pick.

The NBA 2K League Draft Lottery was conducted today at the National Basketball Association (NBA) office in New York City.  Click here for the complete 2020 NBA 2K League Draft order, which is subject to change based on trades and additional player retainment.  The date of the draft will be announced in the coming months.

Additionally, Hornets Venom GT, the NBA 2K League affiliate of the Charlotte Hornets, won the NBA 2K League Expansion Draft Lottery, which was also conducted today at the NBA office in New York City.  Hornets Venom GT will have the first and fourth overall picks in the 2019 NBA 2K League Expansion Draft.  Gen.G will have the second and third overall picks in the expansion draft.

During the expansion draft, which will be held Friday, Oct. 18, the two expansion teams can each select up to three players from the non-protected player pool.  The expansion draft will consist of three rounds, with each team’s third-round pick being optional.  Expansion teams have the option of selecting a third player in the expansion draft if they forgo their second-round pick in the 2020 NBA 2K League Draft.  The expansion draft will be a snake draft, so the pick order will alternate in the second and third rounds (i.e. 1, 2, 2, 1, 1*, 2*).

* indicates optional picks

Today’s two draft lotteries were conducted by drawing ping-pong balls in random order from the official ball machine that is used for the NBA Draft Lottery.  For complete details on both lotteries, click here.

For more information on NBA 2K League Season 3 roster construction, click here.  Fans can also follow the NBA 2K League on Twitter (NBA2KLeague), Instagram (nba2kleague), Facebook (NBA 2K League), Twitch (NBA2KLeague) and YouTube (NBA 2K League) and visit NBA2KLeague.com.

 

About the NBA 2K League:
The NBA 2K League, a professional esports league co-founded by the NBA and Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ:TTWO), launched in 2018 and features the best NBA 2K players in the world.  Each of the league’s 23 teams features six players who compete as unique characters in 5-on-5 play against the other teams in a mix of regular-season games, tournaments and playoffs.  During the 2019 season, NBA 2K League partners included Anheuser-Busch, AT&T, Champion Athleticwear, Dell, Facebook, HyperX, Intel, New Era, Raynor Gaming, SCUF Gaming, Snickers, Stance, Tencent, Twitch and YouTube.  For more information about the NBA 2K League, visit NBA2KLeague.com.

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eSports

PandaScore raises $6M to drive esports betting with AI-powered data

George Miller

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PandaScore raises $6M to drive esports betting with AI-powered data
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PandaScore, a startup that provides real-time data for the esports betting industry, has raised €5 million (~$6M) in recent funding. The funds will be used to expand the company’s products for bookmakers, enabling more and better esports betting experiences.

Paris-founded startup PandaScore, which supplies esports bookmakers with AI-powered statistics and odds, announces today that it has raised €5M (~$6M) in funding. The round is led by Serena, with other investors in the round being Alven, sports-tech investor KB Partners and esports owner and investor aXiomatic Gaming.

Esports is estimated to have close to 500 million fans worldwide and the industry accounts for about $1bn in global revenues. Still, it has room to grow when it comes to betting. PandaScore’s real-time AI-powered odds empower betting traders to better leverage this massive entertainment industry.

“Providing game-changing data for bookmakers is our way to fuel the growth of esports,” says PandaScore founder and CEO Flavien Guillocheau. “When bookmakers can offer great esports betting it also helps in raising sponsorships for teams and tournaments.”

Collecting data in real-time from ongoing esports matches and from official sources, PandaScore uses its proprietary artificial intelligence to sift out and analyze the most useful pieces of information as it happens. Betting traders gain an edge utilizing machine learning to set better odds and a larger esports offering.

“Bookmakers are some of the most data dependent companies out there,” says Mr. Guillocheau. “With esport tournaments and fantasy leagues becoming a more significant component of sportsbook offerings around the world, access to PandaScore’s abundance of real time esports odds and data is vital to all the bookmakers we work with. Our vision is to help esports grow by providing the data resources for any esports business.”

PandaScore taps into the trend of a new generation tuning in to esports for entertainment and betting just as much as their older peers have done with traditional sports. The trend has only been emphasized by the recent lockdowns in many countries, which have disrupted regular sports more than they have the online gaming esports industry.

Pandascore has recently signed some of the fastest growing companies in the esports entertainment and esports betting industries as clients, including fantasy esports company Sleeper and leading companion app Strafe, esports betting platform Pixelbet and leading LATAM sportsbook BetCris. The company will use the new funding for further expansion, including hiring for the team in Paris and in Malta, as well as to cover more esport titles.

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eSports

paysafecard becomes main partner to NEO in new esports partnership

George Miller

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paysafecard becomes main partner to NEO in new esports partnership
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As the 2020/2021 esports FIFA season kicks off, paysafecard and NEO are embarking on a new collaboration, with paysafecard becoming the team’s main partner. The deal with NEO, the esports team featuring the former FIFA world champion “Gorilla”, will see the paysafecard brand featured through an exclusive in-game integration, online and offline, as well as via joint social media, Twitch and YouTube activations. The partnership was initiated by sports marketing agency Weirather Wentzel & Partner (WWP Group).

paysafecard, a market leader in eCash payment solutions and part of the international specialised payment platform Paysafe, enables simple and secure online cash transactions and is available in over 650,000 points of sale across 50 countries. By using a 16-digit paysafecard PIN, customers do not need a bank account or credit card to pay online, keeping their confidential financial data secure and protected. paysafecard has been active in the gaming community since its creation in 2000 and is well known in esports circles and popular with gamers.

Meanwhile, after a successful premiere season with a place among the top 8 teams in the world at the FECWC 2020 (the team world championship of sports simulation FIFA) and a top 4 place in the eChampions League, NEO has set itself up for the new season in a very ambitious way, with strong newcomers. In addition to Gorilla, the team now also includes DFB eNational player “DullenMIKE,” the youngest FIFA major champion of all times, who is moving from VfL Wolfsburg to NEO. The line-up is completed by the young up-and-coming talents “Lenny” and “JuliusFGU,” one of Germany’s most popular FIFA content creators.

ADDED VALUE FOR THE COMMUNITY THROUGH CREATIVE STORYTELLING

Konstantinos Maragkakis, paysafecard’s esports spokesperson, comments: “paysafecard’s connection to esports has been anchored in our DNA since our company was founded 20 years ago. Our mission is to provide gaming enthusiasts with an eCash payment solution that is as safe and easy to use as cash. Our partnership with NEO, such a young and ambitious team, is an essential part of our strategy and in this case the in-game brand placement will help us further connect with our customers and demonstrate our commitment to esports.”

NEO Manager Dan Woods is looking forward to the partnership: “It is a great pleasure to finally present our main partner at the beginning of the new season. The talks with those responsible at paysafecard were very target-oriented and straightforward right from the start. The cooperation will generate much excitement, especially in the digital space. paysafecard is experienced in esports, which makes all of the discussions about content, activations and so on extremely creative. From our side, we are focused on playing a very good sports season with the new line-up and feeding our community on social media with high-quality content. I’m sure that with such a team and such a partner the new season will bring a lot of good things for us!”

Bastian Kroll, Managing Director of WWP-Germany, added: “In our opinion, paysafecard and NEO are the perfect fit. The in-game placement of a brand, which enables simplified payment transactions for in-game purchases, is really powerful. In the past two years we have promoted and expanded the topic of esports in the entire WWP-Group with experts like Ramón Reber. The COVID-19 crisis shows the opportunities this new market offers for partnerships: flexibility and crisis resistance make esports the sport of the future.”

 

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Eastern Europe

Ukraine’s UPEA Unveils Five-year Strategy for Esports Development

Niji Narayan

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Ukraine’s UPEA Unveils Five-year Strategy for Esports Development
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The Ukrainian Professional Esports Association (UPEA) has introduced its strategy of esports development in Ukraine for the next five years, as well as its structure and key objectives.

UPEA intends to raise funds, develop streaming studios, open an “esports ready” hotel, increase the number of international tournaments, attract investments, and more.

The Association plans to attract $100 million of investments, $42 million of which has already been made towards the purchase and development of the first “esports ready” hotel on the infrastructure base of the Dnipro Hotel. Another $20 million is planned to be invested into its reconstruction, according to a release.

“We want Ukraine to be among the world leaders, and today we have all chances to enter the TOP-5 countries with the most developed esports ecosystem,” Oleksandr Kokhanovskyy, Board Chairman for UPEA and Founder of Natus Vincere, said.

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