eSports’ History and Recent Rise in Competitive Gaming

Walter Isaacson’s podcast, Trailblazers, introduces its newest episode: eSports: More Than Just a Game.

“With legacy sports leagues drastically modified or on hiatus, something had to step up to take their place. For many, that is eSports.” 

“eSports might seem incredibly new but the industry is more storied than you might think and it’s already racking up big revenues. This year alone, it’s brought in over $1 billion. So what is fuelling this increased interest in competitive gaming?” 

“Hear from current and former eSports competitors like Jonathan “Fatality” Wendel, Stephanie “missharvey” Harvey, Daniel “FunnyAstro” Hathaway and those studying this young industry like James Dean, Jon-Paul Dyson and Robert Overweg.” 

Call of Duty Esports League Introduces 100 Thieves Team

Hollywood Reporter: “Gaming organization and lifestyle brand 100 Thieves has joined the Call of Dutyesports league as the Los Angeles Thieves, operating out of the company’s 15,000-square-foot headquarters in Culver City.”

“We won two Call of Duty championships in 2019 so our year away reminded us how amazing Call of Duty fans are, and how much we missed them,” said Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag, CEO of 100 Thieves. “Our fans deserve the best Call of Duty team in the world — and we’re gonna do everything in our power to give it to them.”

South Korean Esports Team Wins League of Legends World Championship; Millions Watching Online

Tech Xplore: “More than 6,000 mostly young spectators watched at a Shanghai stadium and millions tuned in online to see Damwon Gaming win the League of Legends world championship on Saturday.”

“The South Korean team beat Suning, the surprise finalists from China, 3-1 to claim one of the most prestigious titles in eSports.”

“Spectators were limited to 6,300 because of social distancing and those lucky enough to secure a seat had to wear a face mask to prevent coronavirus infections.”

“League of Legends’ developer Riot Games had estimated that 100 million would watch across the globe. Inside the stadium, spectators—many favouring China’s Suning—saw the action unfold on two giant screens.”

First Cloud9 All-Women Esports Team for Valorant

Venture Beat: “Esports organization Cloud9 will field its first all-women esports team in Riot Games’ Valorant esports tournaments.”

“The Los Angeles-based Cloud9, which runs a number of esports teams for games like League of Legends and Fortnite, will partner with AT&T in creating more opportunities for women and making competitive gaming more inclusive. The team will debut at Riot’s First Strike tournament qualifiers starting today.”

“Cloud9 has been doing some enlightened work in an esports industry that has grown up as both toxic and male-centric. Back in May, Cloud 9 teamed up with Kaiser Permanente to improve mental health in the U.S. gaming community. These moves are signs of the mainstreaming of esports, video games, diversity, and mental wellness efforts, Cloud9 senior marketing VP Kristen Salvatore said in an interview with GamesBeat.”

TikTok Partners With Esports Team Tundra

Reuters: “Chinese short-form video platform TikTok has continued its expansion into the esports industry by signing up as the new principal partner of London-based esports organization Tundra.”

“As part of the new partnership, which comes in line with the release of the popular video game FIFA 21, TikTok will be displayed on the front of Tundra’s new jersey.”

“’FIFA has over 3.3 billion views on TikTok to date. The appetite for esports, and particularly FIFA content is already proven, so the partnership is a natural fit,’ said Michael Munro, co-founder of Tundra.”

Market Capitalization of $52.3 Million for Guild Esports

Forbes: “Guild Esports, the young esports business co-owned by soccer legend David Beckham, has successfully completed its public market flotation on the London Stock Exchange, with a market capitalization of £41.2 million ($52.3 million).”

“The transaction, led by joint brokers Zeus Capital and Mirabaud Securities, included an initial £20 million ($25.8 million) fundraise–a feat all the more impressive, considering Guild Esports only launched in June 2020.”

“The market listing means that Guild becomes the first esports franchise to join the LSE. The money raised by the company will be invested into branding, recruitment, and “scaling into various esports disciplines over the course of the 2020/21 season”, in games such as Rocket LeagueFortniteCS:GOand, unsurprisingly, FIFA. Guild also plans to continually raise revenues through tournament winnings, sponsorship, merchandise, events, digital marketing opportunities and more.”

Mercedes-Benz, League Of Legends Become Partners

Esports Insider: “Riot Games has established German automotive giant Mercedes-Benz as a global partner of League of Legends esports.”

“As well as serving as the presenting sponsor of the trophy ceremony at the major international events, Mercedes-Benz has been named the official exclusive automotive partner. It’ll develop branded content, dedicated commercials, ad artwork, and social media content around the events, according to a release.”

“Naz Aletaha, Head of Global Esports Partnerships at Riot Games, commented in a release: ‘Mercedes-Benz is the first luxury automotive brand to truly embrace esports at a global scale, while developing a deep understanding of the unrelenting passion fueling the game and the League of Legends esports community.'”

Guild Esports Becomes First Public Esports Company in London IPO

CNN: “A company co-founded by David Beckham plans to become the first esports franchise to list on the London Stock Exchange, taking advantage of the growing popularity of online gaming.”

Guild Esports, a UK-based owner and developer of esports teams, confirmed plans for an initial public offering in a statement Wednesday. The company said it wants to build a global sports franchise modeled on the English Premier LeagueNBA and NFL. It will float 40% of its shares next month and hopes to raise £20 million ($25.9 million) to recruit new players and invest in the business.”

“A stock market listing will provide Guild Esports “with the caché, credibility and capital” to fulfill its ambition to become one of the world’s top 10 esports franchises within three years, executive chairman Carleton Curtis said in the statement.”

Bronny James Joins Esports Team FaZe Clan

CBS: “LeBron James‘ oldest son is joining the professional ranks of the Esports world. On Sunday, Esports and gaming franchise FaZe Clan announced that Bronny James, who is just 15 years old, is joining their roster under the tag ‘FaZe Bronny.'”

“James is also a highly-touted high school basketball recruit who is currently playing for Sierra Canyon High School in Los Angeles. He is one of the top prospects in the 2023 recruiting class in addition to being very involved in the video game scene.”

“Bronny James certainly isn’t the first high-profile athlete to be involved with FaZe Clan. Pittsburgh Steelers star wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster joined in 2018 while Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons joined as an investor, ambassador and content creator just last week.”

First-Ever Esports Partnership for Spotify, Teams Up With League Of Legends

NME: “Streaming giant Spotify has announced an exclusive partnership with American video game company Riot Games’ popular MOBA League Of Legends.”

“Spotify announced its first-ever eSports partnership today (25 August) via its blog, and noted that it will serve as the exclusive ‘global audio service provider for League Of Legends‘.”

“Over the course of its multi-year partnership, Spotify and Riot Games will work together to launch a new League Of Legends eSports Music Hub on the streaming service, produce a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the Worlds Anthem, develop various podcast series, and publish specially curated playlists.”

“The two companies will also launch a nine-episode podcast series titled Untold Stories: Top Moments From Worlds in the lead up to the 10th annual League Of Legends World Championships later this year.”

“For the championship tournament coverage, Spotify will give fans a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the Worlds Anthem via a Spotify takeover.”