Posted in CS:GO, Dota 2, FIFA, Heroes of the Storm, League of Legends, The International

Forget dancing horses, surfing and BMX- the Olympics Games need eSports

If we have learned anything from the previous few Olympics, it is that the Games are going through an identity crisis. Rocked by a doping scandal and with an older audience than ever, the International Olympic Committee is attempting to rehabilitate its image by appealing to a uninterested youth.

With sports such as BMX freestyle and baseball taking their place alongside archaic remnants from the age of imperialism, like modern pentathlon and dressage, it is difficult to know what or who the Olympics represent anymore. If the IOC is serious about joining the brave new world that seems to have passed it by and more importantly if it wants to keep its sponsors happy, it needs to make serious changes – starting with introducing eSports.

Described by the organising committee as an opportunity “to inspire new generations and become a turning point and a model for future Olympic Games”, the decision to include events such as surfing and climbing in the programme for the 2020 Games comes across as a desperate and cynical ploy by an organisation that is clinging on to what relevance it once had by including sports they believe will address flagging viewership amongst the under-30s. The inclusion of skateboarding especially smacks of a decision made in a focus group run by a man who uses the word “dude” unironically.

Whatever nostalgia we may have about the Games, the simple truth is they are no longer a celebration of the world’s greatest athletes but rather a corporate exercise in mass marketing. And therein lies eSports’ greatest strength. eSports generated $493m (£386m) in revenue with a global audience of about 320m people in 2016, the eSports website Newzoo reported last year. Purely from a financial standpoint, advertisers are missing a potentially massive opportunity to reach new audiences. There are estimated to be over 100m League of Legends players worldwide, and unlike surfing or softball, it has proven its mass viewing appeal, with 36m unique viewers tuned in for 2015’s League of Legends final between Koo Tigers and SK Telecom, exceeding the 31m people who tuned in to watch the Cleveland Cavaliers, inspired by a virtuoso performance from LeBron James, defeat Golden State Warriors in last year’s NBA Championship decider. Incidentally, that figure is also higher than the average of 27.5m American viewers for the Rio Games.

The Asian Games, the second largest multisport event after the Olympics, is set to feature eSports first as a demonstration event in 2018 as part of the run-up to eSports’ official inclusion as a medal sport in the 2022 Games in Hangzhou, China. This should come as no surprise because of the enormous popularity of eSports across the continent, and especially in the far east. Seoul’s Sangam Stadium, which hosted a World Cup semi-final in 2002, was sold out for the 2014 League of Legends World Final which was broadcast to a global audience of over 27m in 19 different languages. The popularity of eSports is not solely confined to Asia though, with Sweden’s DreamHack, the world’s largest digital festival, hosting a variety of tournaments including games such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Street Fighter V, and Heroes of the Storm.

Perhaps one of the main peculiarities of eSports competitions is that they rarely feature sports games. Despite their global popularity, football games such as Fifa lag behind the likes of Dota 2 and Hearthstone, with last year’s Fifa Ultimate Team Championship Final providing the first lucrative opportunity to play the game as it featured a $400,000 prize pool and was broadcast on traditional gaming platforms, YouTube and Twitch as well as BT Sport.

Football teams are slowly starting to embrace the growing trend of global tournaments, with Manchester City, West Ham United, and Wolfsburg all signing professional eSports players, while other teams such as Valencia and Schalke have gone beyond Fifa – the former have a Rocket League team and the latter a League of Legends roster.

Football’s involvement should provide the IOC with the encouragement they need to incorporate eSports onto the Olympic schedule. Its global appeal far outstretches nearly every other sport in the world, while it also makes commercial sense. For the naysayers who claim it will devalue the Olympics to have skinny, pasty, nerds smashing buttons and pretending to shoot one another, just remember – at least it’s not dancing horses.

COURTESY: The Guardian

Posted in CS:GO, Dota 2, League of Legends, OverWatch, SMITE

How Professional Athlete Education Is Becoming Crucial for Esports

Esports is already massive, and will continue to grow even faster. No expert would contradict this: esports is already overtaking ice hockey, and now even competes against flagships sports such as football. However, what is often forgotten in the conversation are the athletes themselves. Pro footballers are highly educated model athletes who leave nothing to chance. Clubs command entire armies of coaches and advisors to help their players cope with the various challenges on and off the field. Comparatively, esports athletes live the life of an amateur.

Football clubs command armies of coaches and advisors. Comparatively, esports athletes live the life of an amateur.

Weekly training schedules with given exercises? No way! Nutritionists, mental coaches, fitness trainers or other specialists? They simply do not exist for most professional esports athletes. While investors and sponsors have smelled blood and are pumping more and more money into the esports market, the professionalisation of esports athletes lags behind.

A career as an esports athlete begins and ends much earlier (in most cases) than the majority of other careers as professional sportsmen. Competitive gaming careers often end in the mid-twenties as the human brain and reflexes no longer react as intuitively to high-speed attacks from the opponent. Therefore, most gamers have to turn pro at the age of 17, or even younger – a rather short time to learn how to live like a pro. The foundations for a successful career as a gamer therefore lay in one’s youth. If a gamer wants to get to the top of his game, he must invest early on.

However, at the start of their esports career, most of them are miles away from a professional way of living – compared to young elite footballer players. Through systematic education and established support systems, footballers not only learn technique and tactics, but they internalize having a professional lifestyle at teenage age. That is exactly what is missing in esports. Only the high-talented gamers manage to get from their bedroom as a child to the top of the esports business.

This is why most recent esport moves of different European high schools are quite interesting. Since last year, the Norwegian school“Garnes Vidaregåande Skule” in Bergen, for example, offers esports as a school subject. In addition to traditional classes, where pupils write exams, their abilities as a team player or their skills in communications are evaluated as well as their performance in game strategy and tactics. On top of gaming exercises there are athletic training, nutritional counseling and special exercises to improve the reflexes of students. Overall, it’s a very popular project, and some High Schools in Sweden already apply similar concepts. Rumors say that schools in the United States and South Korea are also thinking about offering eSports as a subject.


Training and educating esports athletes will need to happen in a professional sports environment.


Universities are also slowly waking up. For example, several US-American and Asian universities offer scholarships for gamers. In England, the University of Staffordshire announced a new bachelor’s degree in esports. Tencent, the largest e-game developer in China, recently announced plans to build a whole city dedicated to esports, which will host a university.

While schools and other academic institutions increasingly discover the relevance of gaming content in their curriculums, training and educating esports athletes will need to happen in a professional sports environment. At least in Europe, pro football clubs entering the scene with dedicated FIFA or LoL teams could play an important role. The gamers can benefit from their coaches and infrastructure, and profit from their expertise in marketing, sponsoring or even scouting. Some clubs already offer academies or campuses to train their employees. Why not open them for professional esports teams?

Scouting esports talents currently takes place mainly through game-specific ranking lists by the developers/publishers. However, a simple update in the game software can completely mix up rankings from one day to another. Accordingly, the contract periods are short. Gamers are usually signed for not more than two splits – high fluctuation within a team is normal. Thus, for football clubs it is important to recognize future stars early on and tie them to the club. Here, Schalke 04 led the way last year with the so-called “Scouting Days”.


Gamers are usually signed for not more than two splits – high fluctuation within a team is normal.


However, discovering talent is only one side of the coin. Developing them is the other. Gamers do not enjoy structured career plans, they did not attend any eports junior performance center or university, and they did not benefit from regional or national support centers. Even if the eSports organization “Penta-Sports” has recently opened the first professional eSports academy in Berlin, this was only a first move. Many more have to follow.

Although linking professional football clubs with esports seems to be a win-win situation, it is still a long way for both sides to benefit from each other. One thing should be clear: the professionalization of esports athletes must go ahead if they want to keep up with the rapid growth of the industry and if they want to keep up with the expectations. Education is crucial, first and foremost.


Posted in Clash Royale, CS:GO, Dota 2, League of Legends, OverWatch, SMITE, Twitch, Uncategorized

Esports to become the greatest sporting event by 2020

 [ THIS POST IS FROM ONE OF OUR ESTEEMED COLLEAGUE, PRATEEK MALHOTRA (https://medium.com/@prateekmalhotra) AND FIRST APPEARED HERE: https://medium.com/@prateekmalhotra/esports-to-become-the-greatest-sporting-event-by-2020-f1ddd15287cd ]
Dota 2 mid-laner Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan plays for the North American team Evil Geniuses

Two college students Minh “Gooseman” Le and Jess Cliffe created a total overhaul mod using assets from Valve’s Half Life 2. Le did all the programming and Jess worked with the community of players. What started as an experiment, attracted Valve Corporations, who in turn gave a commercial release to the mod also known as Counter Strike. These digital weapons, players and maps led to the booming of then unknown territory called the ‘esports’.

esports, an online competitive gaming tournament played between pro-gamers on a computer machines has taken the industry by storm as gaming community has started recognizing it as a career option and branded it as a real sport. Getting into the debate of whether esports is a sport or a farce will yield no results, hence I would like to reveal some statistics which will make things more transparent.

According to Newzoo, a leading provider of market intelligence across gaming, esports and mobile gaming released its third edition of esports report which highlights that esports economy will grow to $ 696 million this year. The report also added that Brands will play a major role in shaping the esports economy and by 2020, the growth will reach to $1.5 billion dollars. Further to add, US and China will generate $362 million dollars in 2017, followed by Asia-Pacific regions which will take 51% revenue share.

Why is esports becoming so popular?

esports games are divided into different genre and the most popular being fighting games ( Street Fighter ), first-person shooter ( Counter Strike Series), real time strategy ( WarCraft 3 ), and multiplayer online battle arena ( League Of Legends and Dota ).

Just like any other sport, esports has managed to garner a wide range of spectators across the globe. The overall operations of esports is similar to that of any other sporting event like NBA, NFL, Football and many others. A team consists of 5 members having individual skills which can be executed during the game. The team is managed by an esports expert who oversees players salaries, housing, office space, healthcare and sports staff. The players go through rigorous training and practice for hours to reach the pinnacle Esports tournaments are held on a grandeur level and the level of intensity and cheerfulness seen among gaming fans is similar to that seen in a football or a cricket fans. These tournaments are live-streamed on mediums like Twitch and YouTube which have millions of followers.

The popularity of competitive gaming is testament to the fact that Intel Extreme Masters which was held in Katowice, Poland drew 173000 fans to the stadium event. Online, the event was watched by 46 million unique viewers, more than Trump’s inauguration TV audience of 30.6 million viewers.

Pro Gaming Scene In India

Pro Gaming Scene in India is at its nascent stage, but it is evolving and growing at a fast pace. Hardware companies like Asus, GigaByte and NVIDIA are bolstering the esports mania by organizing Dota 2 and CS:Go tournaments across gaming cafes and events. Many startups and gaming companies have jumped into the scene to promote esports culture.

In January, USports, a ₹100 crore league, announced by the founder of UTV Group, Ronnie Screwvala, will take its course this year.

In February, Nazara Games announced that it will invest INR 130 crores in a new esports league in India over the next five years in the league, which will include PC based games DOTA 2 and Counter Strike : Global Offensive.

Last year, Mountain Dew launched Dew Arena Gaming Championship with a prize pool worth INR 10 Lakhs. Many brands followed the bandwagon by announcing individual leagues and tournaments, thus encouraging and boosting the gamers and esports scenario.

Talking about the role of a team manager and esports scenario in India, Eklovya Dutta, Captain and In Game Leader of upcoming esports team FEROCIOUS believes that the role of the team captain is to make sure that there exist a discipline, cohesion, and structure within a team. As the team captain himself , he sets fixed goals to every member and encourages them to focus on playing the game and improvise while doing so. Esports is a massive industry and is gradually growing in India. However, lack of infrastructure, support and topsy-turvy management and self-pride can impair the esports scenario in India.” In order to compete with the International players, its important to focus on team game-play rather than changing the team member.”

The pro-gaming scene will further strengthen its hold in the Indian market considering the situation of Internet is improving in India. From 105th position and 4.1 Mbps speed till three months ago, the country has risen to 97th position on a global level with 5.6 Mbps of average connectivity speed.

Akamai’s State Of The Interne

To conclude, the competitive gaming market is growing at an exponential rate, media giants like ESPN are broadcasting the tournaments and competitions, and brands like NBA and YouTube are jumping into the world of esports. The positive synergies between companies, pro-gamers and developers can surely make esports the greatest sporting event.

Posted in CS:GO, ESL, Intel Extreme Masters, League of Legends, Twitch

IEM Katowice Most Watched Esports Event Ever, 35 Percent Increase in Viewership YoY

https://i0.wp.com/cds.y4j7y8s9.hwcdn.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/iem-katowice.jpg

IEM Katowice was a success in every metric. The high profile two weekend tournament from ESL will easily become what esports fans point to when telling their friends that esports are here to stay. The event was record breaking in many ways, innovative in others, and lucrative as a whole.

The tournament saw 173,000 fans attend in person at the stadium in Katowice, Poland which is a greater than 50 percent increase against last year. Online, the event was just as successful breaking the record for unique viewers—previously held by 2016’s League of Legends World Championship—of 43 million handily. The event saw over 46 million people tune in over the course of the event with 340,000 of those using VR to do so.

It is likely that the event will be a landmark example for potential sponsors looking to enter the esports market.

As a method for sponsors to engage with fans, the story gets even better. 255 million impressions were generated by the event’s social media channels which makes it likely that the event will be a landmark example for potential sponsors looking to enter the esports market. Most avenues for advertising allow for little interaction but the digital natives that make up the esports audience are on every form of social media, sharing, clipping, and talking about the events they are watching.

IEM Katowice was also the most widely broadcast event is ESL’s history. The long-time producer and organizer of esports events had broadcasts in 19 languages across 70 media outlets and platforms. Business Insider points out that this shows just how lucrative exclusive broadcast deals could be. As esports continues to cross boundaries in audiences and platforms, YouTube has been signing exclusive broadcast deals and we can expect Twitch and YouTube—and soon traditional sports broadcasters—to be competing for broadcast rights in the future.

Posted in CS:GO, Dota 2

Route Mobile founder to invest $10m in eSports in India, and launch an online league

COBX will launch an online domestic league, and an international league besides building an Indian team for international eSports championships.

2017 is turning out to be a watershed year for India’s eSports industry as three companies have announced plans to put big money to launch their respective leagues in the country.

After Ronnie Screwvala and Nazara Games, the founder of Route Mobile Rajdip Gupta is planning his eSports venture – COBX Gaming – that will invest $10 million to promote eSports in India. COBX will launch an online domestic league, and an international league besides building an Indian team for international eSports championships.

eSports is a $99.6 billion industry globally, as of 2016. Led by China, the Asia Pacific region controls 47% of the total market and 58% of the growth in the global games market comes from the Asia-Pacific region.  

market intelligence company Newzoo

Gupta plans to launch an online league in the second half of April, inviting participation from any team in India. “We have kept the total prize money of `10 lakh for the online championship, which may not sound big, but will surely attract gamers. The idea is to get the right talent and create a team that will take part in International majors,” he added.

COBX will also launch the first international eSports league in India by the end of this year. “We are focused on getting teams from 16 different countries in December for the international league, which will have a prize money of $300,000,” he added.

Posted in CS:GO, ESL, Intel Extreme Masters, Team Rankings

These are the CS:GO teams to watch in 2017

Last year’s Majors were dominated by SK, but 2017 could see a number of teams reign supreme.

Top CS:GO team SK Gaming from Brazil lift the ESL Pro League trophy2017 may already be a few weeks old, but only over the last few days has the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive world woken from its holiday slumber. The ELEAGUE Major is practically upon us, and while WESG and DreamHack Leipzig gave us an early look at some of the contenders, many of the teams hoping to walk away as winners haven’t played an event for quite a while.

Predicting who’ll come out on top at the Major right now isn’t easy, but what we can do is predict which teams will have a stand out year over the next 12 months, and the ones that you should be keeping an eye on.

If we look back at 2016, it’s fair to say that SK/Luminosity dominated the first months and were arguably the best team in the world, but few people would have predicted that outcome this time last year. And as we saw in the latter half of the year, teams that have traditionally been in the lower tiers can easily come back and win the big events – in fact pro CS:GO has never been more unpredictable. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to pick out teams that we expect to do well in 2017 though.

NaVi

Natus Vincere had a very good 2016, and were certainly one of the best teams throughout the year, but they could never quite get it done when it mattered, apart from at ESL One New York. New York showed what the current line-up, with new superstar s1mple on the roster, could accomplish and with the season about to start up once again this team should shine.

2016 was just the start for NaVi; if they keep this roster and manage to fix the few issues that remain, they have a very bright future. They have the talent, they’ve proven that they can beat all comers, and they have a massive fan base to appease, so they really could become the best team in the world in 2017.

Astralis

Despite having a very tough second half to 2016, Astralis have set themselves up to have a great 2017, and their play style makes them one of the more entertaining teams to watch. Swapping out Finn ‘karrigan’ Andersen for Lukas ‘gla1ve’ Rossander revitalised the team and saw them take second at ELEAGUE and first at ECS. They head into the Major as a clear favourite and arguably the strongest team in the pack. If they can keep coming up with new strategies, and don’t fall into the old Astralis ways of feeling stale, they really could dominate 2017.

OpTic Gaming

Top CS:GO eSports team OpTic Gaming playing at ELEAGUE Season 2

NA CS had its best year ever in 2016, and while Cloud9 and Liquid were a couple of the most successful teams, OpTic Gaming is the one to watch in 2017. They had a great end to the year, winning ELEAGUE and taking second at ECS, and head into the Major with some impressive momentum. After more than a few roster changes, the green wall finally has a system that is working, and one that looks difficult to beat.

Their success isn’t quite as guaranteed as some teams on this list, but if OpTic do manage to keep improving, there’s no reason why we couldn’t see them as world beaters over the next few months.

North

As the year started to wind down, Dignitas finally hit the top of the CS world, with great performances and a big tournament win. Now with the backing of F.C. Copenhagen, under the new organisation North, they have all the tools they could ever want. The team is still young and developing, but has always been a hot contender, and look set to kick on to finally establish themselves as the best in the world. 18-year-old Emil ‘Magiskb0Y’ Reif also looks set to have a star year, and could end up in the best player in the world conversations.

GODSENT

The Swedish shuffle may not have worked out as smoothly as Fnatic or GODSENT hoped, but now things seemed to have stabilised and GODSENT are looking pretty good. They haven’t set the world alight just yet, but their performance at the ELEAGUE Major Qualifier showed what they were capable of. If they manage to play like that week in and week out then they’ll easily be at the top of the scene, and right now there is no reason that can’t happen.

They aren’t world beaters just yet, but after the Major they may well be, and even if they don’t have a great time, they’re still one of the brightest teams in the scene.

Immortals

SK may be the most successful Brazilian team out there, but sitting just behind them is the rapidly improving Immortals squad, who could replicate their countrymen’s success this year. They haven’t yet managed to beat all of the top teams, and they didn’t even make it to the Major, but they’ve shown signs of brilliance. Playing against the top teams in NA will only see them improve, and some much needed roster stability should give them consistency. It may be a few months before this call comes good, but Immortals could be in the conversation as a top contender for the second major of the year.

BIG

If Immortals was a bit of a left field call, then BIG sounds almost ludicrous, but we believe they have the makings of a top team. In their debut event they only dropped maps to the Major bound Flipsid3 Tactics and upcoming team Heroic, dominating everyone else easily.

BIG is a promising mix of experienced veterans and up and coming talents, which as we have seen countless times before, is always a great mix. It may take a while for them to pop up in the bigger events, and it may be a long time before they win a major, but they’re certainly one of the most exciting new teams coming into 2017.

 

Posted in CS:GO, ESL

mouz, NiP secure spots to ESL Pro League Season 4 Finals

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mousesports and Ninjas in Pyjamas have secured their slots into the ESL Pro League Season 4 Finals after their respective games on Tuesday.
NiP took a clean 2-0 sweep over PENTA Sports as the Swedes took Nuke 16-7 and Cache 16-5. Meanwhile, mouz swept HellRaisers 2-0 as they won Mirage 16-8 and Train 16-12.

Both NiP and mouz are tied for first with 51 points, while Fnatic is third with 45 points, Team Dignitas is in fourth with 42 points and FaZe Clan is tied for fifth with Virtus.pro who both have 39 points. However, the Top 6 could look very different by the end of the remaining games on Wednesday and Thursday.

The ESL Pro League Season 4 Finals features a $600,000 prize pool and will take place on Oct. 28-30 at the Ginásio do Ibirapuera arena in São Paulo, Brazil.

Posted in CS:GO, ESL, Intel Extreme Masters, League of Legends

MTN DEW® and ESEA provide a path to the ESL CS:GO Pro League with the MDL!

In partnership with ESL, MTN DEW® and ESEA have created the Mountain Dew League to give thousands of amateur gaming teams the opportunity to qualify directly into the next season of ESL’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Pro League. MDL teams will battle for eight weeks and the top teams will face off at the Mountain Dew Championship in the hopes of joining the ranks of the CS:GO pros.

“MDL provides a unique opportunity for aspiring professional gamers to realize their dreams on a global stage,” said Craig Levine, CEO of ESL America. “With the popularity of esports exploding, we’re excited to partner with MTN DEW and find the next generation of Counter-Strike superstars.”

MDL will kick off with the Mountain Dew Last Chance Qualifier on August 27 and 28 where over 7,400 amateur players will compete in ranked matchmaking. The top 24 teams from the Mountain Dew Last Chance Qualifier will then play each other once a week over the course of eight weeks in the Mountain Dew League Season.

The action will culminate at the Mountain Dew Championship in December where the eight best MDL teams in North America and Europe will compete for the coveted slot in the following season of each region’s ESL CS:GO Pro League.

Throughout the tournament, DEW will be providing the competing gamers with top tools and training, including access to online tutorials and pro coaches. Fans will be included as well as they watch the competition unfold through livestreamed events, behind-the-scenes action, and real-time stat tracking via ESEA and Twitch channels.
“Esports is becoming an integral part of gaming culture. As instigators in this space, we want to push the boundaries of competitive gaming and enable everyone in this community to take part in the experience,” said Sonika Patel, Sr. Brand Manager at Mountain Dew. “Our partnership with ESL is unique in that it gives everyone a platform to participate on a level playing field.”

Courtesy: eslgaming.com