This Memorial Day, I’m giving our investigative reporter Kevin Hitt a special assignment: dig into the mysterious ramen burger. I will report its findings next week. Until then, please enjoy your holiday weekend and try to make time for something deliciously decadent. -Jason Wilson
ESL is on a roll with Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, as the world’s largest esports event organizer just sold out tickets for the fall Intel Extreme Masters in Rio de Janeiro in less than an hour. The sale follows record numbers for PGL around a major in Antwerp earlier this month.
While interest is strong for this major in Rio from October 31, the path to a quick sell-off has been aided. COVID has forced the cancellation of the original date of the IEM Rio Major in 2020, and fans who have purchased tickets have been informed that these will be honored going forward.
But it’s still good news for ESL, especially in an esports hotbed like Brazil. Think of CS:GO majors like the Grand Slam events in tennis. They get the most attention from fans and players, which means the biggest sponsor dollars and the biggest prize pools.
The PGL Major Antwerp 2022 Grand Final between FaZe Clan and Natus Vincere set the record for the largest indoor event for a single esports championship with 20,000 fans in attendance (capping a crowd of over 40,000 for the event) . For streaming audiences, Antwerp was the second-best CS:GO tournament of all time, with over 68 million hours watched.
Taking place at the Jeunesse Arena in Rio, it will be the first major tournament in Brazil – or South America for that matter – as most have been in Europe. CS:GO has become one of the most popular games in Brazil and is home to two-time major champion Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo de Alcântara Sguario and popular streamer Alexandre “Gaules” Borba. — Kevin Hitt
The Roland-Garros eSeries made a number of moves for this year’s event that resulted in an increase in the number of competitors, including holding the competition, which ended on May 21, with a game completely different and moving to a mobile platform for the first time.
Moving to mobile has broadened the potential pool of gamers and achieved one of the main goals this year, which was to engage more people, especially women. It attracted over 238,000 competitors from over 207 territories. That’s a significant improvement from 2021, when 132 people took part in the PC-only event.
“Moving to mobile esports competition through our new partnership with the world’s most popular mobile tennis game, Wildlife Studios’ Tennis Clash, has been a resounding success,” said Aymeric Labaste, head of international development at Roland. -Garros to the French Tennis Federation. “We have significantly expanded our reach. This elevated the competition to completely new heights.
French banking conglomerate BNP Paribas was back as presenting sponsor and has now worked with the event since its debut in 2018. This year marked the debut of French car brand Renault as a partner of the event. Activations included both sponsors having their logos on the Philippe-Chatrier virtual court for over 1.6 million eSeries matches. The brand was also visible on the event’s Twitch livestream.
Labaste noted that his organization is “very committed to continuing to develop the Roland-Garros eSeries”, but failed to commit to the same format or game in 2023. — Jason Wilson
Event organizers ECL Entertainment and Rush.gg recently wrapped up the inaugural ECL Global Cup, which was a FIFA 22 title esports competition aimed at bringing more attention to women in esports. Fabienne Morlok captured won the event which brought together 32 women to compete for the championship.
ECL has spent the two years identifying talent, and the company noted that the next two events already have even more registered attendees. Major sponsors for the first iteration included Rush.gg, UK-based sports retailer Kitbag and Medina Investments.
“We held community events and tournaments to help integrate male and female players,” ECL CEO Nas Baig told SBJ. “Our goal is to help fight sexism and toxic behavior. We’ve worked with esports organizations and streamers who have high reputations in the community to help show that women can compete. Fabienne …was the first woman to qualify for competitive FIFA.”. Our goal is for role models like Fabienne to inspire the next generation. Our events aim to help women compete and be identified so that they get investments to help them improve.” — Jason Wilson
- Gaming PC maker XMG has signed a two-year deal to sponsor Project V, a series of offline competitions for the DACH region of the Valorant Regional Circuit (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland). The sponsorship runs until March 2024.
- China Telecom and streaming platform Kuaishou have signed sponsorship deals with All Gamers, a Chengdu-based Peacekeeper Elite team, SBJ’s Hongyu Chen reports.
- The Dallas Fuel (owned by Envy Gaming) will be using Digital Seat Media beacons in their upcoming Overwatch 2022 tournament, the Dallas Fuel Kickoff Clash. Digital Seat places metal tags on seats in an arena with QR codes that can be scanned to do things like order food and drinks, enter contests, get stats and more. This is the first time Digital Seat has done this for an esports event.
- Tracy Parkes is the new director of esports partnerships for the Warriors. He spent nearly four years at Team Liquid and also worked at Vans and Kawasaki.
- The Pro Bowl could undergo a drastic transformation, ditching the lackluster game and replacing it with more challenges and activities, like presenting the game for EA Sports’ Madden NFL, SBJ’s Ben Fisher reports.
- Riot Games’ Intel Arabian Cup has just begun and runs through December, with competitions for League of Legends, Valorant, and Wild Rift. It has a prize pool of $130,000 and sponsors include Coca-Cola, Acer, Hardee’s, Logitech and Coda Payments.
- QA officers at Activision Blizzard studio Raven Software have voted to form the first union at a major US games company, reports GamesBeat.
- Dota 2’s biggest event, The International 10, won the Sports Emmy for “Outstanding Esports Championship Coverage,” reports SBJ’s Jason Wilson.