Music Industry: How Esports will be the next contender

Inaugural track Music and Sports by Midem, scheduled to take place on June 6 and created by the sister company of Midem’s Esports BAR, is the only venue where people will be able to know how and why these two industries come together to play a key role in the future.

With some of the biggest gambling-giants like Bet365 and Betway esports offering odds on esports games, it’s clearly evident that the Esports industry is going to grow massively.

Executives and musicians from the fields of music and esports will share their knowledge and how this partnership will affect pop culture in the future.

“This Midem event is the only one designed to create a dialogue with esports professionals, as music is becoming important for sports production,” says Stephane Gambetta, Production Manager Esports BAR.

Digital entertainment is possibly one of the first entertainment platforms that attract the interest of major press and marketers for the uninitiated music industry.

There is a generation that enjoys watching gamers play online, on TV and at venues. Digital natives of Gen Z and the Millennials are a core part of the esports fan base including sports teams playing on streaming platforms, broadcasting Television and live venues.

Now, millions of watchers battle each other on live streaming sites including Twitch, a tech giant subsidiary Amazon.com. Yet gamers and esports enthusiasts using streaming platforms have become superstars with millions of followers running their own online esports tourneys.

Supporters communicate with them in real-time with feverish feedback within the chat region of the computer. Some use micro-trading to make donations, which can make millions of dollars from players organizing gaming tournaments.

The Newzoo research firm forecasts that in 2019 esports are expected to hit 450 million more viewers and the maximum profit of $1 billion. And while this is a small sum compared to the global music industry, a value of $19.1 billion, esports also attract fans in the music industry.

Therefore, innovation in esports from diverse technology, entertainment and commercial groups putting together Esports BAR is making this new phenomenon more formal.

And now, Midem so Esports BAR together want to bring music producers, record labels, retailers and holders of rights to a new yet rapidly growing media ecosystem.

“Rock and fans ‘ experiences are very different,” Gambetta says. Live esports events, comparable to music festivals, are high-performance audio-visual activities. There is also new audiovisual material surrounding music created in the sports industry. “Midem is a great forum for businesses to gather and publish information and understand that music plays an important role in esports,” says Pieter van Rijn, CEO of FUGA Digital Music Distribution Company.

How Esports Betting Affects the Industry

There appears to be a big market that is here to stay, not just the new gambling phenomenon. There are many reasons for the rise of eSports gambling. Second, it’s only natural for people who are in eSports, who want to pay for their expertise while attending eSports games.

ESports are very colorful, there are many surprises and in minutes things can change. This is why e-Sports betting can prove lucrative, but also very thrilling. If you wager on it, watching a match will be much more interesting than watching without gambling.

ESports games are broadcast online live, and usually free to view, making things much easier for viewers and punters in eSports. Millions of people are watching eSports, competitions are competitive, the game is broken into integral parts like maps and maps and other information like kills are registered and it is easy to see why eSports, close to traditional sports, is ideal for gambling.

Betting on eSports became widely known soon after eSports, at least as competitive games, if not as athletics. Yet eSports betting didn’t appear to become so popular, and certainly didn’t seem to be recognized and began offering eSports betting.

There were several reasons to doubt whether eSports gambling would become a major feature.

Next, eSports themselves are extremely uncontrolled and the players fatigued game cheating and other risks. In comparison, eSports primarily targeted teenagers and young adults, which means that the highest proportion of the target population was less than 18.

Skin gambling seemed to be the most prevalent form of eSports betting and real money betting would be limited to wagering among friends and a small number of somewhat depressing online sites. Yet things have changed, and quite rapidly they have changed.

Drake, Lopez and Steve Aoki investing in Esports

In order to reach a wider audience, Games developer Riot Games has approached FUGA to sell the songs to an audience broader, hosting high-performing competitions focused on its game of League of Legends (LoL) and creating in-house music.

In South Korea, last year’s opening ceremony of the Riot games championship event was the K / DA K-pop group live music, followed by the LoL characters ‘ Augmented Reality models, which chanted POP / STARS from Riot Games.

Riot Games wants the help of a marketing company such as FUGA to distribute this product to mainstream music fans.

ENTER Records, which is a joint-venture company with the ESL sports group, established major labels with Universal Music Group (UMG). The FatRat, which has increased its fan base of music available for esports entertainment, has already been included in ENTER Music. German electronic music is now available.

“We find out that the average player can spend up to 10 hours listening to Music.” Dirk Baur, CEO of Universal Music Labs Germany at a recent Esports BAR Conference in Cannes: “We have found that FatRat is a good example of how we use music at events; it provides added value for the way we do.” As Twitch streamed Drake online, a player himself, last year, Tyler Ninja Blevin broke most records.

Consumers of esports “are among the most technologically integrated and not reachable by other means,” says Gambetta, adding: “Sports are a promotional platform that allows its highly-touched audiences to perform music. We are happy to be able to put together the two industries.

By RJ Frometa
PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 11, 2019

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All the questions about ‘Fortnite’ you were too embarrassed to ask

Atlanta (CNN Business)”Fortnite” is big business and an unlikely cultural phenomenon that is sweeping the globe.

The multiplayer video game, about an impending ecological crisis threatening the survival of humanity, is about to have its Super Bowl.

The Fortnite World Cup finals will take place at Arthur Ashe tennis stadium in Queens, New York this weekend. Players from all over the world have flown to the Big Apple and will compete over a $30 million prize pool.

If you’re not among the millions of people playing “Fortnite” and are feeling left behind, we break down everything you need to know.

Let’s start with the basics. What the heck is this game?

“Fortnite” is essentially a crossover between “The Hunger Games” (a post-apocalypse battle) and “Minecraft” (a creative sandbox where players can build anything they like). You can play it on Xbox, PlayStation, Windows and Mac platforms

There are two versions: “Fortnite: Save the World,” which has players banding together to fight off zombie-like monsters who drop from storm clouds, and its free (and more popular) spinoff, “Fortnite Battle Royale,” which pits up to 100 players against each other in a frenzied fight for survival. Last one standing wins.

‘Hunger Games?’ Monsters?? This game sounds violent

“Fortnite” is rated T for Teen, which means suitable for ages 13 and up. It certainly contains violence, but its animation is cartoon-like and there’s no blood or gore.

The Entertainment Software Rating Board explains its parental guidance this way: “This is an action game in which players build forts, gather resources, craft weapons and battle hordes of monsters in frenetic combat … players use guns, swords, and grenades … (and) can also defeat enemies by using various traps (e.g., electric, spikes, poisonous gas). Battles are highlighted by frequent gunfire, explosions, and cries of pain.”

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Some parents have complained about the game. But while the objective is to kill all of your opponents, “Fortnite” is nowhere near as violent as games like “Call of Duty” or “Grand Theft Auto.”

What makes it so popular?

One driving factor behind “Fortnite’s” popularity is its cost, or lack thereof. Because the “Battle Royale” version is entirely free and accessible on a number of platforms, it has a low barrier to entry — allowing new players to quickly acclimate and feel accomplished.

The developers of the game are attuned to its popularity and release updates weekly with new items and actions.

Players also compete on Twitch, an Amazon-owned live streaming site for gamers, and now on the Nintendo Switch (although they’re still working out the bugs on this platform).

The game’s spontaneity and cartoonish glee make it highly accessible. But “Fortnite” also has a high-skill ceiling, keeping players hooked and eager to improve.

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How is this game making any money if it’s free?

The original version of “Fortnite” costs $40, and a deluxe version is $60. But it mostly turns a profit from its in-game currency, V-bucks.

“Fortnite” generates most of its money from in-game purchases.

Players spend real money to acquire V-bucks, which can be used to buy customizable aspects of the game such as tools, weapons, outfits and even emotes.

Slow down — what’s an emote?

Emotes are dances or gestures that characters can do in the game. They are one of the most popular aspects of “Fortnite” and have generated hundreds of memes.

Popular emotes include the Floss dance, Carlton’s “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” dance and the Take the L dance, in which a player makes an L on their forehead while kicking, donkey-like, from side to side.

Is it a passing fad, or is ‘Fortnite’ here to stay?

“Fortnite” remains the biggest video game in esports, although it is starting to lose momentum. That’s why, in a bid to remain popular, Epic Games is throwing its giant Fortnite sporting event this weekend. Fans of the game range from 13-year-old boys to 30-something gamers.

The game is also popular with celebrities. Rappers Drake and Travis Scott, NFL player JuJu Smith-Schuster and popular Twitch gamer Ninja all competed on a Twitch livestream of the game and broke the site’s record for concurrent viewers.

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Other famous fans of the game include Joe Jonas, Chance the Rapper and Norm MacDonald.

By Josh Axelrod and Saeed Ahmed, CNN Business
PUBLISHED JULY 26, 2019

— Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article was published June 17, 2018.
CNN’s Brandon Griggs contributed to this story.

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Five reasons why Mercedes-Benz is involved with eSports

Mercedes-Benz and eSports — isn’t that a contradiction? On the one side there’s a brand that even today is often regarded as conservative, has a tradition going back 130 years, and is associated with motorsports. On the other side is a sport whose players and fans used to be mocked as “nerds” and nowadays get excited about fantasy role-playing and “cosplay” (costume play, a performance art whose participants wear costumes representing their favorite fantasy characters — see below).

Outsiders would probably not even mention Mercedes-Benz and eSports in the same breath. Nonetheless, we have been one of the pioneers sponsoring eSports since 2017. At first glance, our partnership seems to be a mismatch — but in fact we fit together very well! In this blog post I’d like to take you with me into the world of virtual sports.

ESL One was held in Birmingham in early June. And Mercedes-Benz was in the midst of it! A big Mercedes EQC star shined brightly above the stage. The audience joined the jury in the vote for the “Mercedes-Benz MVP” — the Most Valuable Player in the tournament. People could play games inside a “Mercedes-Benz In-Car-Gaming CLA,” and there are many similar highlights.

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We want to communicate authentically in the world of eSports, and that’s why we’ve expanded our activities as a partner of ESL. In addition to its already existing premium partnership with ESL, Mercedes-Benz is now also the event’s exclusive and global mobility partner.

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That’s kind of cool — but you might still be wondering WHY Mercedes-Benz is involved in eSports. Here are five reasons why:

1. Because eSports are definitely sports

We’ve already explained the Top 3 misunderstandings about eSports. In our opinion, the argument that eSports participants are not real athletes is not justified. The cognitive demands and strains of eSports have been sufficiently documented, and the players’ physical fitness is becoming increasingly important.

Independently of the sports-science perspective, eSports are also sports that should be taken seriously from a marketing standpoint. “Event eSports” such as ESL One function exactly like “traditional” sports! Thomas Müller from the Bayern Munich soccer team is known as a star with rough edges — and in exactly the same way, there are also well-known faces in the eSports scene. The Birmingham Arena, which will be filled with 15,800 spectators in T-shirts representing their favorite teams, is completely sold out. Millions of spectators will also be streaming the matches, complete with live commentary, on their mobile terminals. The arenas, the stars, the fans, the playing field — from a marketing standpoint, there are clear parallels between “traditional” sports and eSports.

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2. Because eSports are a growing market

The eSports market is growing by leaps and bounds. The financial forecasts for the years ahead are tripping over themselves with superlatives, no matter what specialist report you’re reading. A current article in the sport business magazine SPONSORs predicts that in 2019 the revenues from global eSports will pass the US$1 billion threshold for the first time — and this figure is due to increase.

So it’s fantastic that in this market Mercedes-Benz is perceived as one of the pioneers of “non-endemic” eSports sponsorship. “Non-endemic” refers to companies and their products that are not directly part of the eSports scene — by contrast, endemic sponsors would include video game or electronic hardware producers. By comparison with its direct automotive competitors, Mercedes-Benz is clearly in the lead when it comes to eSports sponsorship. From a global perspective, many major corporate groups such as McDonald’s and Coca-Cola are investing in eSports. Why are they doing that?

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3. Because eSports reach a future-oriented, attractive target group

Through eSports it’s possible to reach a special young target group that does not exist in “traditional” sport sponsorships in this configuration and in these dimensions. Let’s take a closer look at this target group. The core of this community consists of highly educated millennials.

85% of the core target group is between the ages of 18 and 34. An above-average proportion of the core target group is firmly established in a career and has a high level of purchasing power. In addition, the target group is strikingly tech-savvy. That’s why this community is especially interesting for us as an automaker.

Establishing contact with the members of this target group as early as possible and providing them with a positive experience of the Mercedes-Benz brand can tip the scales later on, when an individual is deciding whether to buy a car from Mercedes-Benz or a competing brand. In other words, the goal of our sponsorship has been designed with the long term in mind. In particular, the future-oriented themes of mobility that are relevant for us, such as carsharing and autonomous driving, are central topics to which the community is more receptive than the average consumer.

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4. Because eSports have impressive reach figures

From a global perspective, eSports have long been more than just a youth-related phenomenon. In 2017, 81 million people all over the world were playing that year’s most popular game, the League of Legends (LoL) — that’s a far greater number than the population of France (67 million). In 2018, 17.7 million spectators watched the NBA basketball finals. The peak number of online spectators of the LoL championships in 2018 was 205 million fans! And if we compare the Facebook followers of VfB Stuttgart (547,000) with those of the eSports team “Fnatic” (2.5 million), here too the numbers speak for themselves. eSports have a much higher profile in North America and Asia than they do in Europe. At the end of last year, China built a whole “eSports City” from scratch in Hangzhou. It cost €254 million and covers an area the size of 68 soccer fields. China plans to invest an additional €2 billion in this facility between now and 2022. And there are further impressive figures concerning eSports, thanks to their diversity.

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5. Because eSports have a positive effect on the image of Mercedes-Benz

From a global perspective, Mercedes-Benz benefits from its involvement in an attractive and unique environment. The brand’s image looks fresher and more modern thanks to its close links with the eSports community. The fans, stars, and organizers of this global scene are younger and more closely connected with one another than those of any other sport.

The key to this closeness is the fast communication that the Internet makes possible. Because of the high degree of interaction within the community, sponsors are noticed quickly. They receive direct feedback on platforms such as Twitch and Reddit — platforms that are difficult to penetrate otherwise. Most importantly, the Mercedes-Benz brand strictly distances itself from ego-shooter games and other games that propagate or glorify violence!

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What are the next steps?

In the Mercedes-Benz sport sponsorship portfolio, eSports are a logical complement to sports such as golf and Formula 1 auto racing. Sponsors are tapping into a young, attractive, and tech-savvy target group that other sports cannot offer — and that’s why companies are investing in this sport. At Mercedes-Benz, our involvement with this up-and-coming sport is by no means over. We have expanded our cooperation with ESL. This year we’ve already been in Katowice, Poland and Mumbai, and now we’re in Birmingham. In October we’ve got a “home game” at ESL One in Hamburg. And our agenda for next year will once again include four major events and dozens of tournaments in the Mercedes-Benz markets. So stay online!

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by Manuel Müller
PUBLISHED May 31, 2019

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eSports Beginners Guide: Introduction to eSports

What Is eSports?

Not quite sure what eSports is? Whether it’s a medium for entertainment, a hobby in one’s freetime, or a potential source of revenue from bets, it’s clear that eSports is something everyone should be on the lookout for, especially as its popularity increases. As you can see below, eSports tournaments are able to not only match, but outshine other traditional sporting events. eSports professional gamers can make millions per year. The old adage that video games will ruin your life is officially dead. Don’t believe us? Read this article – Highest Paid eSports Players in the World and you’ll start to understand.

One poll, taken last year by Washington Post-University of Massachusetts Lowell found that 58 percent of 14-to- 21-year-olds said they watched people playing competitive video games, with a similar percentage reporting that they played such games themselves.

Okay, But What Is It?

Before understanding the radical growth of eSports, let’s first establish the basics. eSports is a video game sport that encompasses a wide range and variety of video games, fans, and viewers. It is played worldwide, typically by professional gamers and in tournaments that have boasted record viewerships of over 100 million fans, like the 2017 World Championship for League of Legends, according to analyst website eSports Charts.

And eSports is played on many more games than League of Legends (frequently referred to as LoL). Although LoL is one of the most popular PC video games for eSports both in the United States and internationally, you may also recognize more pop culturally significant titles like Fortnite, Super Smash Bros, or Call of Duty.

How Does The Sport Work?

Types of Games
Generally, the types of games played by professional players or teams can be strategy games, which include multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games, like LoL, and real-time strategy (RTS) games. Other extremely popular genres include first-person shooter (FPS) games, or fighting games. Although not considered strategy games, these types of games still involve equal amounts of skill, teamwork, and quick reflexes.

Real-time strategy games are called so because they break from the format of traditional turn-based games. Players must control units to react to events as the game progresses, and these games often have resources and building mechanics to further challenge players. Popular examples of RTS games in eSports include StarCraft II or Warcraft III.

MOBA is by far, the most popular genre in terms of viewership and prize money. MOBA games, which originally spawned as a sub-genre of RTS games, are team strategy games where teams work together against an opposing team to take out their base while defending their own. In 2018, the top prize money for the LoL World Championship was nearly $6.5 million dollars. Another popular MOBA game, Dota 2, had a total prize pool of over $25 million dollars in the 2018 championship and over 52 million total viewers.

One of the most universally recognized eSports genres, first-person shooter games include classic franchises like Call of Duty, Rainbow Six, and Counter-Strike, as well as the more recently popular battle royale genre with titles like Fortnite and PlayerUnknown: Battlegrounds. These games center around weapon-based combat through the eyes of the main character, and usually involve teams competing against each other.

Lastly, fighting games, which include Mortal Kombat and Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros, are games which usually focus on individual players’ skills and tactics in round-based matches.

How The Games Are Played
Watching an eSports tournament, you’ll see the same type of setup we’ve all become familiar with after watching traditional sports. Commentators provide information on the teams, players, and the leagues and tournaments, while a live audience usually watches as the games unfold. Like traditional sporting games, the matches and tournaments are broadcast live to the hundreds or millions of fans that watch live through live streaming platforms like YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook.

One of the only things slowing the growth of eSports (which, by the way, is still growing at an insane rate- the audience has expanded by just over 50% since 2016 to now include 557 million total casual viewers and enthusiasts) is the lack of a national or international professional league, like with the NFL or the Olympics.

Due to this lack of an official professional league for eSports, a unique structured system has established itself in the industry. Players organize themselves by specific games, and the games are run and regulated by tournaments or leagues that host the large tournaments and set up the seasons for the sport.

Similar to how American football was organized before the creation of the NFL, teams are organized into a variety of different regions and leagues based on geographic locations. Many leagues focus on specific countries or continents.

The key thing to note is that teams and players are almost always separated by specific games, so they are whittled down throughout seasons through series matches that put teams and players against each other for multiple games in a row. Often, in FPS games, specific teams are extremely skilled or prepared for certain maps over others, so multiple rounds are needed before elimination.

Live Gameplay
With the use of live streaming platforms, like the incredibly popular Twitch streaming site, professional gamers or leagues are able to reach endless amounts of fans in real time. For individual players, this means one on one and more personal interactions with fans. And for large tournament streams, this means real-time engagement with millions of fans and a greater impact on ads that millions of viewers will watch through as they attempt to see every moment of the matches.

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According to Twitch analytic site TwitchTracker, the nearly 600,000 average viewers on the streaming site in 2016 is expected to have grown to 1.28 million by the end of this year. Looking at the graph below, the dramatic growth of live streaming services is shown to be clear.

Where Does The Money Come From?

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As you can see above, there’s a lot of focus on and attention to viewership and revenue in the eSports system. Large game developers, major brand names, and investors with millions of dollars placed on the future of the market are all involved in the hundreds of millions of dollars that eSports generate.

It’s no surprise then that the growing industry of eSports is capable of large amounts of revenue. According to one analysis by Newzoo, an industry analyst, eSports has seen a more than 30% average annual revenue increase, with most of this generated from brand contributions. And, according to that same analysis, eSports is predicted to generate well over $345 million dollars in revenue in North America and over half a billion dollars overseas.

Clearly industry has seen a large increase in revenue in recent years as more and more people are realizing the potential profit involved with the rapidly growing industry. Newzoo also predicted that by 2021, eSports will be generating over $1.6 billion in total revenue, with $1.3 billion coming from these brand investments.

eSports Betting

In 2018, the well respected gambling industry research firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming predicted that by 2020, the global eSports betting market would be generating $13 billion dollars. And this report came before the legalization of sports betting in the United States in 2019. Across Europe and Asia, eSports betting markets have been active and regulated for some time now.

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A 2019 article by Inside World football found that “at least 40% of spectators have not played in the video games they watch,” and that “the demographic is 62% male and 38% female, with more than half aged between 21 and 35 years old.” These statistics reveal the reality that Esports is becoming a spectator sport, with potential revenue to be made from the large amounts of people that enjoy watching the sport for entertainment.

The previously referenced article also revealed that, in 2016, over $5.5 billion was wagered on major eSports titles. There are already connections being made in the United States with established gambling organizations. For example, in 2018 gaming provider Paddy Power Betfair acquired the daily fantasy site FanDuel, with FanDuel CEO telling reporters, “eSports is definitely an area of focus for us. If you look at Vegas, there are lots of people who bet on eSports. To use a Wayne Gretzky analogy, ‘That’s where the puck is going.’”

by Brendan Dewley
PUBLISHED May 26, 2019

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Will Smith invests in esports company and FACEIT holds massive PUBG event in London

Will Smith joined the server

Esports organization Gen. G has raised $46 million in funding with big name Will Smith part of the group of investors. This move comes as China looks to capitalize on esports growth in the region and new tournaments fill up the esports calendar for 2019. The new funding will help increase brand awareness and prepare teams for future tournaments.

It also helps to have such a star as Will Smith investing their cash into your organization. The industry as a whole is expected to pull in more than $1 billion in revenue.

Say hello to the European Esports Federation

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National esports organizations from 12 countries within Europe gathered in Berlin to discuss plans to launch a new European Esports Federation, which would be positioned as such that it would be able to oversee the industry in participating countries. As reported by Esports Insider, attendees compiled The Berlin Declaration, outlining what the group aims to achieve.

Countries who sent representatives to the event to found the new European Esports Federation included the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Turkey, Russia, Sweden, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Slovakia, Ukraine, and Belgium. With so much money expected to be generated from esports in the coming years, it makes sense to start forming such federations.

Let’s FACEIT, PUBG was great in London

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This weekend saw the FACEIT Global Summit competitive finals for PUBG held in London. Attendees who watched the games at the ExCeL Arena in London were rewarded with the opportunity to win big using their FACEIT accounts as an added bonus. The event was but phase one of PUBG’s esports calendar for 2019, inviting 24 teams from around the world to participate on the big stage.

We’ll have additional coverage from the show at the ExCeL Arena in London so stay tuned.

by RICH EDMONDS
PUBLISHED 21 April 2019

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Esports just made its way onto ‘The Simpsons’ — here’s why that matters

Key Points

  • “The Simpsons” has featured esports in an episode.
  • It shows the growing significance and popularity of the esports industry.

He has discovered a comet. He has performed in a boy band. Now Bart Simpson has found himself at the heart of what could be a billion-dollar industry this year: esports.

The perennial Springfield Elementary School student became an electronic sports athlete — esports athlete, for short — in Sunday’s episode of “The Simpsons” titled “E My Sports.” Bart essentially gets a new computer and finds himself glued to “Conflict of Enemies,” based on Tencent-owned publisher Riot Games’ “League of Legends” game. He eventually travels to Seoul to play in a world championship match with Homer acting as coach after the latter finds out how much money can be made in esports (the highest-paid players can make millions).

Co-executive producer Rob LaZebnik said the episode was meant to embody a “cultural tipping point” that has seen esports dominate a lot of conversation about the future of entertainment, sports and media.

“I think it feels kind of inevitable,” LaZebnik told CNBC. “Obviously, video games have been around for a very long time now, and combine that with the fact that everyone is online and on his or her phone, [the expansion of esports] feels so inevitable to me.”

“League of Legends” has been one of the key games driving the growth of esports for years, with 2018′s World Championship finals drawing in almost 100 million unique viewers, about the same number as this year’s NFL Super Bowl.

This comes as esports viewership and revenue overall has increased year on year. Research firm Newzoo estimates that the global esports audience, which includes casual and dedicated viewers, will reach almost 454 million this year. Company sponsorships could account for up to 42 percent of the $1.1 billion in revenue projected by Newzoo.

Riot Games, which was consulted for the episode, says “The Simpsons’” focus on esports benefits the industry as a whole.

“We hope that this episode, on top of all the work we’re doing around the world establishing leagues that are working with leading brands like Nike and Mercedes-Benz, as well as the rising popularity of streamers and pro players, will make a real impact on how people view ‘League of Legends’ esports in the long term,” a Riot representative told CNBC.

The show producers toured the training facilities of one of the world’s oldest esports teams, Team Liquid, for the episode. Team Liquid owner and industry veteran Steve Arhancet ultimately believes esports’ appearance on “The Simpsons” shows the staying power of the space in Western culture, a shift from the more Asia-focused approach esports had traditionally taken in the past.

“There’s many young kids out there who will empathize with this episode on ‘The Simpsons’ more than any other football, soccer or basketball episode they’ve created — just like I would have,” he said. “It’s another milestone that shows esports is here to stay.”



by Annie Pei
PUBLISHED MON, MAR 18 2019 • 9:06 AM EDT

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Five eSports Predictions: What Does The Year Hold For Companies And Developers?

Between League of Legends appearing in the Asian Games and worldwide phenomenon Fortnite dominating headlines, 2018 has been a formative year for eSports. Never before have games had such an assertive presence in mainstream media and entertainment.

As the CEO of a mobile eSports platform for developers, venues and sponsors, I don’t believe the trajectory of eSports is slowing anytime soon — bigger, better things lie ahead. Whether you’re an industry veteran or just starting to explore how eSports fits into your business, these are five key trends to keep in mind while planning your business strategy for the remainder of 2019.

New titles will shake up the top five eSports rankings.

This year, new games will likely challenge incumbents for supremacy. Prominent 2018 launches include the inaugural season of Activision Blizzard’s Overwatch League, the introduction of the NBA 2K League, and new battle royale title Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. With fresh content flooding the market, the most popular eSport of the future has likely yet to be created.

Given increasing eSports democratization, consumers will be hungry for innovative content, and top rankings are ripe for the taking. Currently, the most popular consumer trends I’ve seen include shooters, multiplayer competition and mobile experiences — so future blockbusters may feature these elements.

Why does this matter? Understanding what games are trending and why is essential for anyone in the space, whether you’re running a gaming company or a non-endemic brand looking to access the growing eSports audience. For game developers, keeping a pulse on community reactions and responses to new industry trends is critical to developing relevant themes for future titles. Watch closely to see which games are picking up traction. Industry analyst studies, focus groups and preliminary beta testing are all useful options to consider for additional insight.

Brand investments in eSports will increase.

With eSports viewership projected to grow to about 600 million by 2020 (paywall), sponsorships could become more valuable to brands looking to gain an advantage in an increasingly lucrative and competitive market.

Sponsors like Coca-Cola, Mercedes-Benz, T-Mobile, Adidas and even the U.S. Navy have already invested in eSports. Given the positive results of engaging with this global audience, brand investments will likely increase this year, with even more non-endemic corporate sponsors coming aboard.

Gamers are arguably one of the most sought-after audiences — many are young (paywall) and often loyal to their games of choice. According to Dot Esports, research firm Newzoo estimates that global eSports awareness will reach 2 billion by 2021. If you’re in the eSports business, I recommend looking to capitalize on this influx of interest in 2019.

For developers looking to grab a slice of the audience, focus on creating a game that’s simple to pick up, complex to master and fun to watch. The combination of these elements is what I’ve found makes a great spectator sport — and once you get viewers on board, the sponsors will likely follow.

Mobile eSports will go mainstream and sell out professional stadiums.

With an estimated 2.3 billion mobile gamers worldwide (paywall) in 2019, mobile is an incredibly popular gaming platform. As mobile eSports become an increasingly important part of the ecosystem, even more competitors could view it as mainstream entertainment.

This year, you may see more players earning sizable salaries and collegiate scholarships from mobile eSports. In addition, mobile eSports events could sell out more professional sports stadiums. In countries like China, mobile gaming is already taking center stage.

Keep an eye on your smartphones, because they’re growing at breakneck speeds in terms of both technical capability and consumer adoption — GSMA estimates that there will be 5.9 billion unique mobile subscribers in 2025. Developers — especially those that may have overlooked mobile in the past — should consider how rapidly advancing mobile technology can help them achieve a blockbuster hit and reach the largest subset of gamers. I believe the key to breaking into this industry is creating a game that is easy to learn, has a compelling core loop, and offers its players strategic depth in terms of game mastery. This stimulates player acquisition and new user performance metrics — ultimately driving player retention and deeper game monetization.

The industry will experience heightened cheating risks.

While eSports growth has been impressive, it’s not without risk. Similar to offline sports, the growing fame and fortune of athletes can also attract cheaters.

In 2018, BattlEye banned over a million PUBG accounts for hacking. According to PCGamer, banning cheaters is also the “highest priority” for Fortnite developer Epic Games. In Asia, hackers are facing jail time and multimillion-dollar fines for developing and distributing cheats. Although the industry is working tirelessly to prevent cheating, it’s likely that as eSports grow, so too will fraudulent efforts.

This year, I expect more eSports to institute fairer environments for their games, just like we see in offline sports. Whether it’s by integrating increasingly comprehensive third-party anti-cheating software or developing their own, developers creating the next big eSport will have to keep cheating at bay. Otherwise, their game might be over before it begins.

A boom in availability and production value could occur for eSports broadcasts.

Now featured on YouTube, ESPN and more, eSports are quickly becoming a hot area of growth in digital entertainment. ESL, a large eSports league that runs CS:GO and Dota 2 tournaments, signed an exclusive streaming deal with Facebook in 2018 for an undisclosed amount. Twitch’s exclusive rights to stream the Overwatch League is purportedly worth as much as $90 million.

Both traditional and emerging channels are vying to showcase tournaments to viewers. I’d count on seeing even more significant broadcasting collaborations among both cable networks and social media juggernauts in 2019.

Companies and developers planning to break into eSports broadcasting in 2019 should keep the growing number of distribution options in mind to ensure they’re picking the best channel for their content.

The eSports landscape is shifting quickly, and I project the coming months to be some of the most important for the industry’s future. As eSports viewership is expected to grow and mobile devices are becoming more widespread, businesses should consider how they can take advantage of this growing sector.


by Andrew Paradise
Andrew Paradise is the CEO and Founder of Skillz, the worldwide leader in mobile eSports, which was ranked #1 on the 2017 Inc. 5000 list.

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Arkansas Activities Association launches Esports in high schools

Arkansas Activities Association launches Esports in high schools

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) — The world of competitive gaming, known as Esports, has evolved its way into high schools across the Natural State.

Esports stands as an ever-growing global industry projected to be worth $1 billion in 2019, according to Esports analytics group Newzoo.

This is a dream-turned reality for one Lake Hamilton High School senior.

“I’ve been playing since middle school so whenever the opportunity came up to play again my love competitively, I was like, this should be easy,” said Steven Tyler Turner.

The Arkansas Activities Association partnered up with PlayVS, a California-based Esports league that focuses solely on high schools.

PlayVS has coordinated with the National Federation of State High School Associations to to write rules for high school play.

High schools in more than 12 states are affiliated with PlayVS.

Students must meet certain academic standards in order to participate as is the case for students wanting to play sports such as football, baseball or basketball.

More than 80 schools in Arkansas have signed up for eSports, which offers competition in the spring and fall semesters.

The games offered are Smite, League of Legends and Rocket League.

Arkansas Activities Association launches Esports in high schools1
Students at Lake Hamilton High School spend after school hours practicing for upcoming online competition against other high school teams. (KATV Photo).
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Turner’s specialty is League of Legends.

“It really forces you to learn how to cooperate with people and League of Legends is known for people getting really mad or tilted,” Turner said.

The AAA’s first and foremost goal is to boost student participation, especially by attracting those who aren’t involved in any extracurricular activities.

Derek Walter, AAA assistant executive director, stressed the importance of students learning a variety of life skills while playing video games competitively.

“How can we get them to participate with a team? A teacher coach that will teach them life lessons to teach them how to lose. That’s a huge thing in life,” Walter said.

Walter admits he’s a bit surprised at the positive reception from school administrators, seeing how video games carries a stigma when it comes to correlating gaming with physical exercise.

“We thought we’d have a lot of negative comments regarding the physical aspect of it but really, we still want those kids to do those extracurricular activities where they’re physically active so we’re really not trying to take away from that,” Walter said.

Arkansas Activities Association launches Esports in high schools
Both boys and girls are welcome to participate in competition. Games include League of Legends, Smite and Rocket League, all of which are non-graphically violent. (KATV Photo).
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Logan Horton serves as AP World History teacher and Esports coach at Lake Hamilton High School. Horton is adamant when it comes to the benefits of team-based video game competition.

“In the last few years, we’ve seen this really big emphasis on STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) so I can show and encourage these parents Esports will involve them in teamwork and communication and critical thinking skills. All these things that we’re trying to teach students in school anyway,” Horton said.

While focused mainly on academics and school bond, Turner knows there’s great potential for Esports to take off in Arkansas.

From the potential of receiving scholarships for Esports simply earning bragging rights in the state championship , Turner is ready to drum up competition.

“It’s really fun to be able to play a game and to know you’re able to do it for a cause greater than doing it for enjoyment. I think it’s just inspiring to just be a part of this blowup,” Turner said.

According to PlayVS, 200 colleges and universities in North America provide scholarships related to Esports.

Henderson State University is the first college in Arkansas to have an official eSports team and offer scholarships for competitive gaming.

To learn more about AAA’s role in the Esports program, click here.

To learn more about PlayVS, click here.

by Zack Briggs Sunday, February 17th. 2019

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Interpret: Women make up 30% of esports audience, up 6.5% from 2016

Interpret- Women make up 30% of esports audience, up 6.5% from 2016

Women’s viewership of esports grew from 23.9 percent of all watchers in 2016 to 30.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to a report by market researcher Interpret. That 6.5 percent change is a considerable leap, considering the heavy representation of men in both esports audiences and professional athletes in the past.

“Changing behaviors among a large segment of people is difficult. Progress of this size always takes time; however, a [6.5 percent] gain in gender share over a two-year period is a trend in the right direction,” said Tia Christianson, the vice president of research in Europe for Interpret, in a statement. “If two years from now, the female audience grabs an additional 6 percent in share, esports viewership will be in gender parity with what we consider standard among traditional console and PC games.”

She added, “As an industry, more progress will be made as females’ role in traditional esports titles continue to grow, given the efforts from some of the industry leaders. More likely than not, a lot of that growth may come in non-traditional esport genres, and especially games tailored to mobile and tablet devices.”

Interpret- Women make up 30% of esports audience, up 6.5% from 2016
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Christianson said that women’s viewership has consistently gained share nearly every quarter since 2016.Of those that play games considered an esport on console/PC, only 35 percent are female. Of those that consider themselves esports watchers, 30 percent are women. Of those that watch esports leagues, 20 percent are women.

Of those that play games considered an esport on console/PC, only 35 percent are female. Of those that consider themselves esports watchers, 30 percent are women. Of those that watch esports leagues, 20 percent are women.

But casual gaming (defined as those who log many hours on mobile and few on PC/console) is dominated by women at 66 percent.

Interpret said the slow increase in traditional female fans of esports may be due to an increased prevalence of mobile games in competitive gaming. According to Skillz, a platform that offers mobile competitive gaming and boasts a large selection of casual games, 7 of the top 10 mobile earners on their platform in 2018 were female.

Skillz has shown that one of the keys to increasing female participation in esports or competitive gaming may be through mobile and tablet devices, with games in nontraditional esports genres.

Extremely low female involvement in major esports titles like CS:GO (24 percent female), DOTA 2 (20 percent female), Hearthstone (26 percent female), Rainbow 6: Siege (23 percent female), and even Overwatch (26 percent female) highlights the core challenge in attracting more female esports fans, Interpret said.

BY DEAN TAKAHASHI @DEANTAK FEBRUARY 21, 2019 12:01 PM

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Newzoo Estimates eSports Revenue Will Eclipse $1 billion This Year

Newzoo estimates esports revenue will eclipse $1 billion this year

PHOTO: The crowd roars during the Overwatch League finals on July 27 at the Barclays Center in New York City. Market research firm Newzoo released projections for the esports industry Tuesday that include $1.1 billion in expected revenues for 2019. Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Blizzard Entertainment

The esports market is expected to eclipse $1 billion in revenue for the first time in 2019, according to a market report from research firm Newzoo released on Tuesday.

The esports industry brought in $865.1 million in revenue in 2018, according to Newzoo, and stands to reach $1.1 billion in 2019 based on the company’s projections. With a growth rate of 22.3 percent year over year, Newzoo predicted that the industry will rake in $1.79 billion in revenue by 2022.

These numbers are more modest than previous reports from the firm, which outlined $1.5 billion by 2020. The industry will take an additional year, to hit those numbers, according to Tuesday’s report.

The audience for the space is also expected to grow to include 453.8 million people who consume at least one esports event per year in 2019, with 201 million of those fans watching at least one esports event per month, according to the firm. In 2018, Newzoo found 394.6 million people watched at least one esports event per year.

In October and November, more than 58.3 million hours of the League of Legends World Championship were consumed by viewers, with the majority of that viewership stemming from China. By comparison, the second most-watched tournament, the Dota 2 Asia Championships in February 2018, accrued a total of 12 million hours viewed.

The majority of the esports revenue will come from brand investments, which Newzoo categorizes as sponsorships, advertising and media rights. Forty-two percent of revenues are projected to come from sponsorships, which have hit record numbers in the past few years, according to the report. In the past few months, companies such as Coca-Cola, Alienware and others have forged global deals with the Overwatch League and League Championship Series respectively.

Newzoo also predicted an uptick in interest from media companies both on digital and linear TV. In late 2017 and throughout 2018, the League Championship Series and Overwatch League struck multimillion-dollar deals with ESPN, while the Overwatch League also finalized a two-year, $90-million deal with Amazon-owned livestreaming platform Twitch. Other livestreaming platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Caffeine — which raised $100 million from Fox News in September — have committed to making bigger investments in the space as well.

Despite increased interest and revenues, average spending per fan will likely increase but still remain very low compared to traditional sports, Newzoo said. In 2019, regular esports consumers will spend $5.45 per year on esports, excluding the purchase of game titles.

Of the 173 million people who consumed esports more than once a month, 72 percent were men, while 28 percent were women, according to Newzoo’s report. The dominant age range for both was 21-35, including 39 percent of men and 15 percent of women. Of viewers who watched at least once per year, Newzoo found that 66 percent were men and 34 percent were women.

Although the benchmark of $1 billion provides optimism, there are some signs that the esports industry is struggling in other areas. Despite more than $500 million being committed to franchise fees in both the Overwatch League and Riot Games’ League Championship Series and League European Championship in 2017 and 2018, some investors have looked to sell, while some teams have made layoffs within the last six months.

In October, OpTic Gaming and Houston Outlaws parent Infinite Esports & Entertainment — which committed $33 million in franchise fees to the Overwatch League and League Championship Series in 2017 — laid off 19 employees and ousted CEO Chris Chaney. Their main shareholders, a group comprised of Texas Rangers owners Neil Leibman and Ray Davis, are now looking to sell majority stake of that company for around $150 million, ESPN reported in January.

Infinite’s ownership group is not alone. Vision Venture Partners, the parent of Echo Fox and Twin Galaxies, had layoffs in November after its H1Z1 Pro League began to unravel in fall 2018. The Overwatch League had layoffs, too, after it overspent its original estimates, league sources said. Its parent company, Activision Blizzard, also shuttered the Heroes of the Storm Global Championship in December, and Activision Blizzard is expected to lay off hundreds employees this week, per a Thursday report from Bloomberg.

BY JACOB WOLF, ESPN STAFF WRITER FEBRUARY 12, 2019 02:39 PM

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