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Tag Archives: esports

Overwatch League strikes a milestone deal with Disney and ESPN

If you’re sick of hearing about esports, you need to get over it. The space continues to grow, inching its way into the traditional media landscape. Today, in fact, Activision Blizzard announced that the Overwatch League playoffs will be aired on ESPN and Disney XD. The Overwatch League in itself is a huge step for esports , as it’s the first true city-based league for a competitive video game. While most esports leagues are comprised of privately owned teams with little or nothing to do with geography, Overwatch League is a pro league made up of city-based teams such as the Dallas Fuel or the San Francisco Shock. Many of these teams are owned by big names in the traditional sports world, such as Robert Kraft (CEO and owner of New England Patriots, who owns the Boston Uprising) and Jeff Wilpon (COO of the New York Mets, who owns the New York Excelsior). The agreement, which also includes a recap/highlights package from 2018 Grand Finals coverage on ABC on July 29, marks the first time that live competitive gaming has aired on ESPN in primetime, and will be the first broadcast of an eSports championship on ABC. Activision Blizzard said in the announcement that this is just the start of a multi-year agreement. That said, EA’s Madden NFL 18 did broadcast an e-sports tournament on ESPN2 and Disney XD earlier this year. Overwatch League playoffs begin tonight at 8pm ET, and will culminate in the Grand Finals, taking place in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, on July 27 and July 28.

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Razer leads $3.3M investment in Australia’s Esports Mogul

Razer, the gaming hardware company that went public in Hong Kong last year, is resuming its investment strategy after it led a $3.3 million deal for Australia-based Esports Mogul. Esports Mogul is, as the name suggests, focused on e-sports. The company operates a platform for organizing e-sports competitions — called Mogul Arena — and a gaming news website . The firm is focused on Asia and Latin America and it went public in Australia via a reverse listing that raised it $7 million . The new money will go towards developing Mogul Arena for mobile, and funding user acquisition and monetization pushes, Esports Mogul said. Razer already works with Esports Mogul, and now this deal will increase the collaboration which will focus on integrating Razer’s payment system, which itself was created by the recent acquisition of MOL , according to both companies. Others in the round include Singapore’s Cloud Alliance , which develops software systems for gamers. It recently  raised $15 million from an ICO and it said it plans to work more closely with Esports Mogul and Razer going forward. Esports Mogul said the round was over-subscribed, with existing investors and local Australian institutions also taking part. The deal is priced at AU$1.8 per share, which represents a 20.55 percent discount on the company’s volume-weighted average share price over the last 15 days. Esports Mogul shares were priced just below $2 when it joined the ASX in late 2016.

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PlayVS, bringing esports infrastructure to high schools, picks up $15 million

PlayVS , the startup building esports infrastructure at the high school level, has today announced the close of a $15 million Series A funding round. The financing was led by New Enterprise Associates, with participation from existing investor Science, as well as CrossCut Ventures, Coatue Management, Cross Culture Ventures, the San Francisco 49ers, Nas, Dollar Shave Club founder Michael Dubin, Twitch cofounder Kevin Lin, and others. PlayVS first publicly launched out of the LA-based Science startup studio in April. The company partnered with the NFHS, the equivalent of the NCAA for high school-level sports, to build out leagues, rules and more around high school esports. Most high school sports are governed by the NFHS, which writes the rules, hires referees, schedules seasons and determines the format of playoffs and state championships. That same infrastructure might carry over from one high school sport to another, but esports represents a new challenge for the NFHS. PlayVS brings to market a platform that schedules games, helps schools hold tryouts and form teams, and pulls in stats real-time from games thanks to partnerships with game publishers. In October, PlayVS will launch its inaugural season, bringing organized esports to more than 18 states and approximately 5 million students across 5,000 high schools. As esports continue to grow, colleges and professional organizations have already started investing in scholarship programs and pro teams respectively. But whereas other high-level teams look at high school athletes for recruiting, the same infrastructure has not yet been put into place for esports. PlayVS wants to change that. The new round of funding will go towards expanding the product and the team to eventually put PlayVS in every high school across the country.

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Esports Overwatch League heads to hipster Brooklyn for its finals

What could be more perfect than moving the inaugural championship finals for an eSports league from its Los Angeles home to Brooklyn? For Overwatch League , the esports conference created by fiat from Activision Blizzard , the move is the first step in its plans for housing esports teams in cities around the country. Heading from sunny Burbank, Calif. to the hipster heartland of Brooklyn conjures up echoes of the famed Dodger franchise move (in reverse) while tapping into one of the few other markets in the U.S. that might rival LA for esports popularity. When the Overwatch regular season ends on Sunday, June 17, six teams will face off in the league’s first post-season playoffs. Those games are set to begin July 11 and will take place in Burbank at the company’s “Blizzard Arena Los Angeles”. After the playoffs, the final teams will fly to New York to compete for the largest share of a $1.4 million prize pool and the first Overwatch League trophy. The games are slated to begin Friday, July 27 and continue on the 28th. “The Overwatch League Grand Finals will be an epic experience for fans and viewers,” said Overwatch League commissioner Nate Nanzer in a statement. “We want this to be the pinnacle of esports, and holding it at a world-class venue like Barclays Center, in a global capital like New York, will help us celebrate not only the league’s two best teams, but the fans, partners, and players who have joined us on this incredible journey.” Overwatch is taking a geographic approach to its franchises with teams sponsored by cities in the U.S. and major esports hubs around the world like London, Shanghai, and Seoul. Eventually the league is looking to set up stadiums in locations outside of Burbank. With league play requiring teams to travel — like a traditional sports league. The move to Brooklyn could be a test of how well the Overwatch experience travels and a precursor to the league starting to take its show on the road in earnest.

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