EWD: News for Week of 3/7/22-3/13/22
Updated: Apr 25, 2022
Topics: Partnerships, Complexity, FaZe, Snoop Dogg
Complexity x Miller Lite
Complexity Gaming and Miller Lite have expanded on their previously revised partnership as the two companies will work together on merchandise and positive social initiatives. Specifically, they aim to ‘support minority voices in esports.' Complexity’s talent roster will also help facilitate content with Miller Lite.
In regard to their plans being involved with social initiatives, Complexity and Miller Lite will host a series of streams dedicated to 'Unsung Heroes', including LGBTQ+, LATINX, women and charitable initiatives. In terms of the merchandise drop, they're expected to release jerseys, hoodies, t-shirts, and hats via Complexity’s web store.
Bee Yancey, Sr. Director of Partnerships at Complexity Gaming, said:
Our relationship with Miller Lite has continued to grow organically well into year three of this partnership. We’ve had great success with Miller Lite creating engaging content and brand activations and look forward to expanding further into merchandise and developing positive social initiatives for the gaming ecosystem.
After already revising the deal to a digitally-focused partnership in 2020 due to the pandemic, both parties are showing their commitment towards supporting diversity and inclusion in esports. Taking initiative like this is super important and has been long overdue for partners in gaming and esports. I'm curious what kind of content and accessibility Miller Lite will be able to do with Complexity's talent. A dream scenario in terms of awareness and authentic content for Miller Lite would be to work with TimTheTatMan. Watching his stream, how he carries himself, how involved he is within sports culture, and his known beer preference with Miller Lite makes them a perfect fit to make viral content together on behalf of Complexity.
ESL Gaming x Qualcomm
Esports organizer ESL Gaming agreed to a multi-year deal with Qualcomm to provide premium mobile esports experiences for both new and veteran competitors. Qualcomm, a processor manufacturer, and its Snapdragon brand will launch the Snapdragon Pro Series in North America, Europe, the Middle-East, China, North Africa, and Asia-Pacific regions.
The Snapdragon Pro Series will launch in April 2022 as a "premier global, multi-genre mobile esports competition, culminating in an epic live Masters final event." The tournament will be played exclusively on Snapdragon Elite Gaming tech to deliver "premium, mobile-first features and enhancements." The competition will include three tiers of competition: Open, Challenge and Masters. Per the press release, the new series gives players in multiple regions and all levels a chance to become a champion as they can compete for a share of roughly $2 million in prize money.
Rodrigo Samwell, CCO at ESL Gaming, said:
The rapid rise of mobile esports is well-documented, and we’re incredibly proud of the role ESL has played in that to date. Our new collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies and its Snapdragon brand will elevate our mobile ecosystem to its fullest potential. We’re excited to transform the future of mobile esports for players and fans around the world, continuing to create a world where everybody can be somebody.
Although I don't participate or watch all that much of mobile esports, I can completely see why it's on the rise and high-level esports entities are getting involved. Everyone has smart phones, it's accessible anywhere you go, and there's no hassle in paying a premium price for the best gaming peripherals/computers. Creating technologies that give mobile gamers the best possible graphics optimization is huge in creating best-in-class competition. From the looks of it, this partnership will surely be very successful and integral for the growth of mobile gaming and esports.
Giants Gaming x Burger King
Spanish esports organization Giants Gaming has inked a partnership deal with the Spanish regions Burger King. As part of the partnership, Burger King's logo will be placed on Giants' team jerseys and integrated on their social media channels.
Giants Gaming, part of the Good Game Group which also owns Spanish esports team x6tence, partnered with Burger King in 2019. Giants also said that themselves and Burger King have plan to work together on content and campaigns throughout 2022. Here's a link to their recent social media video announcing the partnership.
Although there isn't much content and such to analyze, Burger King Spain has been in gaming and esports previously. As mentioned, they've partnered with x6tence, but they've also worked with NBA 2K21. In this creative partnership, Burger King created an in-game basketball court that reward gamers with free menu items for making difficult shots in the 2K MyLeague mode. I completed an sponsorship activation slide deck analysis of this in my Sports Sponsorship course last year. Here's some screenshots of it:
Challengermode x Reely
Esports tournament platform Challengermode has entered a partnership with AI-powered video highlight platform Reely. As part of this partnership, the platform will provide automated video content for players and tournament organizers using the platform. Challengermode’s intentions of this partnership is to "make esports accessible to everyone."
Reely analyzes AI machine learning to automate sports and streaming content in real-time before generating branded short-form content for titles such as Rocket League, Call of Duty: Warzone and VALORANT. Philip Hubner, Chief Business Development Officer at Challengermode, said:
Reely’s tech gives us an incredible opportunity to amplify tournaments on our platform. It’s a highly-effective way for all the national, collegiate, and corporate leagues hosted on Challengermode to further their reach while giving our brand and studio partners more ways to engage with players.
This is definitely a unique partnership and makes sense for both parties. Not much else to say on it. Here's a video link of Reely's announcement.
UPDATES: Russsia-Ukraine Conflict: Esports Sanctions Placed on Russia
Since Russia's military invasion of Ukraine that's still ongoing, many sanctions, cancellations, and such has impacted the esports ecosystem. SBJ Esports has a great ongoing thread of the sanctions that are being placed on events, organizations, and players. Check that out for updated details. Here's some of what's happened so far as of 3/14/22
Epics' Fortnite announces players in Russia will be ineligible to receive cash prizes
On top of stopping commerce with Russia, Epic Games announced that players residing in Russia will be ineligible to receive cash prizes in Fortnite Competitive tournaments going forward. They're statement read:
Players residing in Russia must complete the prize verification process for any previous tournaments and claim funds from Epic’s payment provider before March 22, 2022. If cash prizes remain unclaimed after March 22, 2022, they will be frozen until Epic’s payment service provider is able to resume prizing support for players residing in Russia.
BLAST removes Russian team invites for its top CS:GO tournament
Esports tournament organizer BLAST will not invite any Russian-based teams to their BLAST Premier event in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO). This means 2 prominent teams, Virtus.pro and Gambit, will not be able to compete at BLAST organized tournaments. Per BLAST Premier's tweet announcement, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) qualifier is now cancelled as well.
EA, ESL removing Russian teams from competitions, products
Electronic Arts and tournament organizer ESL has new policies in place that removes all organizations that have affiliations with Russian entities for the foreseeable future. For EA, this mainly includes removing all Russian leagues and the Russian national team as playable entities from FIFA 22. For ESL and their CS:GO Pro League, Virtus.pro and Gambit have been excluded from competition. However, ESL has given players from these Russian teams an opportunity to still compete, similar to how the IOC gave out sanctions to Russia for the Olympics. This comes after BLAST's announcement to not invite Russia-based teams to play in the BLAST Premier event.
Virtus.pro Accused ESL of participating in "cancel culture"
After ESforce Holding-owned Russian esports organization Virtus.pro was sanctioned from competing in ESL's CS:GO Pro League, Virtus.pro released 2 statements in frustration. In their 2nd statement, they accused ESL of participating in “cancel culture” for their connection to the Russian government and companies subject to sanctions. In the statement, Virtus.pro said they provided paperwork per ESL's request to see the organizations country of registration, ownership, partner details, and affiliation to entities subject to sanctions. It turns out that Virtus.pro’s parent company ESforce Holding has changed ownership several times recently, but its former and current owners are categorized as Vladimir Putin supporters.
Snoop Dogg Joins FaZe Clan
Entertainment icon and pop culture staple Snoop Dogg joined FaZe Clan's Board of Directors and talent network. According to the press release, upon closing of the previously announced business combination with B. Riley Principal 150 Merger Corp. (NASDAQ: BRPM) ("BRPM"), he will officially join FaZe Clan's board of directors. He will go under FaZe Clan with the official name "FaZe Snoop."
As part of this arrangement, Snoop Dogg will co-create content, participate in business initiatives, and launch merchandise with the brand in appearances across FaZe Clan's platform. FaZe stated that in his director role, "Snoop Dogg will bring his extensive entertainment industry insights and his passion for Web3, gaming and culture as FaZe Clan charts its course as a public company." Beyond this, Snoop Dogg will also launch a community outreach program centered around charitable activities towards the youth.
As does almost every week, FaZe Clan makes a crazy move that continues to diminish the distance between gaming and pop culture. Getting an entertainment industry mogul such as Snoop does wonders for FaZe both on the businesss end and as an entertainment company. FaZe foreshadowed Snoop Dogg joining by giving him a FaZe Clan chain prior to his Super Bowl halftime show performance. Here's the video announcement that FaZe Clan posted on Twitter.
EA Works with Austin FC for 2022 eMLS Cup
Just yesterday, EA and MLS football club Austin FC hosted a FIFA tournament called the 2022 eMLS Cup at Austin City Limits Live. The event was part of South by Southwest (SXSW), an annual festival that promotes film, interactive media and music.
The 2022 eMLS Cup presented by Coca-Cola was broadcasted on the official MLS Twitch and Twitter channels. In regard to tournament structure, North America’s top 12 EA SPORTS FIFA competitors – each representing an MLS club – competed for the final trophy of the eMLS season and a share of a $35,000 prize pool. Additionally, the top three finishers at the eMLS Cup will earn direct invites to the EA SPORTS FIFA 22 Global Series Playoffs (FGS). The 3 who earn this will compete further on an international stage for a chance to become the best EA SPORTS FIFA player in the world.
Bion West, Director of Properties (eMLS), MLS, said:
The fifth edition of eMLS Cup will bring together the worlds of interactive entertainment, soccer, music, and pop culture in true and unique MLS fashion. After two years of being remote, our competitors will once again have the thrill of competing in front of an audience, and our fans – whether attending in-person or watching remotely – will experience an energy unique to eMLS live events.
In regard to fan activations, attendees could partake in fun activities such as "customizing limited-edition eMLS kits, printing their own stats on custom EA SPORTS FIFA Ultimate Team-style cards, testing their EA SPORTS FIFA skills in gaming pods, and enjoying a special musical performance on stage."
In terms of partners, DoorDash (the Official On-Demand Delivery Platform of MLS, eMLS, and MLS NEXT) was a new partner that was activated via branded content during the event’s live stream. Coca-Cola (Official Soft Drink/Water Partner and presenting partner of eMLS Cup) arranged a sampling bar of drink refreshments, a photo station where fans took pictures with the eMLS Cup trophy, and provided fans a chance to win gaming prizes. Cheez-It and Pringles (Official Snack Partners) had their products integrated for fans, presented the eMLS Player Lounge, and presented eMLS player interviews occurring throughout the event. Lastly, JLab (Official Audio and Microphone Partner) outfitted players with performance equipment.
I was unable to catch the broadcast, but apparently Paulo Neto of Atlanta United FC was the 2022 eMLS Cup Champion. Esports Charts does not have viewership numbers and analytics provided as of yet either.