Esports Week In Review | Amazon and the NFL, NBA 2K League Branding, Rocket League Ratings Score


Esports Week In Review

Esports Week In Review



Have a great weekend!

The Branding Behind The NBA 2K League Team Logos


NBA 2K League and Team Logos (Photo: NBA)

NBA 2K League and Team Logos (Photo: NBA)

TNL Take: This week saw the release of the NBA 2K League logo as well as the reveal of the individual team names and branding.  

The NBA 2K League Logo was revealed first:

  • The NBA 2K League logo uses the colors and shape of the NBA logo and incorporates the font of the NBA 2K logo
  • Unlike traditional sports leagues, there is no human silhouette, a nod to the inclusive nature of the league 
  • Centerpiece of the design is a basketball

The Next Level also spoke with individuals at Wizards District Gaming, Pacers Gaming and Jazz Gaming for their take on the team branding.




You can clearly see the color connection with parent company Monumental Sports and Entertainment and the Washington Wizards with the familiar red and blue. The 3 stars in the logo represent not only the 3 stars in the DC flag, but also the communities of DC, Maryland and Virginia.

“We couldn’t be more excited to unveil the branding for Wizards District Gaming. Our logo is the perfect extension of the values that are reflective of the MSE family of teams: inclusivity, diversity, and a desire to be the best. We are confident that fans our franchises, as well as the DMV area as a whole, will be able to appreciate our approach to representing our home in an authenticate and meaningful way.”- Grant Paranjape, Director of Esports Business & Team Operations




Who doesn't love Boomer, the Indiana Pacers mascot? The Pacers Gaming logo is a new interpretation of the familiar feline.

“Boomer, the Pacers Panther mascot, is part of our heritage and symbolizes confidence, courage, and power. This new modernized version of the Pacers Panther is also sleek, confident, sly, and ready to pounce. We're proud, we're confident, and we know the game of basketball better than anyone else. This is Indiana. This is Pacers Gaming.” - Cody Parrent, Director of eSports Operations




The Jazz Gaming logo keeps the traditional Utah Jazz colors in place while also cleverly combing the J and G together. The alternate logo even mashes up the music background of the organization.

“We wanted our logo to showcase the state of Utah and show its part in video game history as well. It also gives you the look & feel that it belongs together with the other franchises at LHM Sports & Entertainment. We are very proud of the logo and look forward to what we build behind it.” - Josh Barney, Director of Esports and Tech


While the NBA 2K League will not showcase current players or teams, every logo and brand asset pays homage to their traditional sports counterpart. Will be interesting to see the crossover appeal between a basketball fan and a NBA 2K fan once the league launches next year.

Twitch Top 10 Week of Dec 4th: PUBG, Hearthstone and Call of Duty


Call of Duty World League in Dallas (Photo: MLG)

Call of Duty World League in Dallas (Photo: MLG)

By Feature Writer Jordan Fragen

TNL Take: Welcome back! This is The Next Level’s take behind the key storylines behind the Top 10 Games on Twitch. Last week, we looked at Fortnite’s trajectory in overcoming PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, predicted the imminent rise of Hearthstone and followed up on the lasting effects of the Overwatch League.

Now, let’s explore the top headlines from the week of December 4th through the 10th.

Twitch Top 10 Week of Dec 4th: PUBG, Hearthstone and Call of Duty (Chart: Waypoint Media)

Twitch Top 10 Week of Dec 4th: PUBG, Hearthstone and Call of Duty (Chart: Waypoint Media)

Thank you once again to our data partner, Waypoint Media. They are the leader in esports and gaming audience data. They support clients like Nielsen in their efforts to understand the esports audience. Reach them at

PUBG’s New Map is Luring Back Lapsed Viewers… Right?

Last week this column detailed the stagnation of PlayerUnknown’s Battleground’s viewership and subsequent rise of its rival Fortnite.

However, things have changed dramatically since then.

Following a surprise reveal at Friday’s Game Awards, PUBG’s new map dropped just a few hours after the first footage debuted.

Fans have since flocked back to the game to explore the new content. And of course, the viewership followed. PUBG saw a boost to every stat we track compared to last week. From a 28% rise in Total Hours Watched, a 29% increase in average concurrents, and a 23% increase in Unique Viewers, PUBG roared back to life in the last week.

However, not all of this should be attributed to the game’s new content. In fact, the largest boost to PUBG’s numbers this week was the official BlueHole and Twitch sponsored PUBG Winter Charity Invitational that featured teams of the game’s top streamers.

Perhaps most notable about this tournament is that fans elected to watch the personal feeds of their favorite personalities rather than the official tournament stream. Anecdotally, I tuned in to C9 Shroud’s stream (like most others considering his peak concurrents topped out at nearly 113K, the highest for a single channel this week) while listening to the caster audio from the official tournament stream.

To put this into perspective, the most recent major PUBG tournament was IEM Oakland. It’s peak concurrent viewership topped out just under 91K, 22K fewer than Shroud saw during this week’s tournament stream.

New Map? Who Cares? C9 Shroud’s Tournament Run Drove Similar Viewership (Photo: Shroud’s YouTube)

New Map? Who Cares? C9 Shroud’s Tournament Run Drove Similar Viewership (Photo: Shroud’s YouTube)

This is additional evidence that much of PUBG’s success is due to the personalities it has managed to attract.


Hearthstone’s Expansion Drives an 80% Increase in Viewership

Last week, we predicted an imminent surge in Hearthstone Viewership. And wow, we were right.

Compared to the previous week, Hearthstone saw:

  • 80% more Hours Watched
  • 38% more Hours Streamed
  • 81% increase in Average Concurrent Viewers
  • 154% increase in Peak Concurrent Viewers
  • 38% increase in Unique Viewers Reached
  • Nearly an extra hour watched per viewer

However, we can’t jump to conclusions too quickly. As we pointed out last week, Hearthstone’s popularity on Twitch is highly cyclical and generally concentrated around expansion releases.

So how did this expansion compare to the last?

When compared to the week of the Knights of the Frozen Throne release, Hearthstone saw:

  • 19% increase in Total Hours Watched
  • 15% more Hours Streamed
  • 3% more Average Concurrent Viewers
  • 14% increase in Unique Viewers Reached
  • 5% more time watched per viewer on average

Now that’s a big buff.

Add this to the ever expanding list of reasons to keep an eye on Blizzard’s stock in the coming month.


CWL Dallas Propels Call of Duty: WWII into 10th

Players and Crew Clearing the CWL Dallas Venue (Photo: MLG)

Players and Crew Clearing the CWL Dallas Venue (Photo: MLG)

As the first major tournament following Call of Duty: WWII’s release, fans were prepared for some chaos at CWL Dallas but nobody could have been prepared for everything that happened. After receiving a bomb threat early Friday, Dallas police rushed to evacuate the CWL venue in the middle of the tournament. After several hours of delays, matches were postponed until the following morning.

Somehow, MLG squeezed a massive 3 day affair into 2 and Team Kaliber walked away with the grand prize.

Despite the compressed stream, CWL managed to pull in enough viewers to secure the #10 spot on our list. Unlike the PUBG Winter Invitational, Call of Duty’s official tournament streams accounted for the vast majority of the viewership. 

CWL’s 3 channels accounted for over 80% of all hours spent watching Call of Duty: WWII in the last week. To put this into perspective, Riot’s official channel aired the League of Legends All Stars event this weekend and only captured a measly 14% of all League of Legends hours watched during the week. Note that this viewership doesn't include

That’s an insane level of engagement that only serves to show the dedication of the Call of Duty community.

Amazon + NFL + Twitch + Esports = The Opportunity


Last Week The NFL Thursday Game Was On Twitch (Photo: EA Sports)

Last Week The NFL Thursday Game Was On Twitch (Photo: EA Sports)

TNL Take: If you follow me on Twitter you can easily see my Amazon obsession. In the ever changing retail and digital landscape, either you're with Amazon or good luck.

This past Thursday saw a unique collaboration between the NFL and Amazon owned Twitch - not the NFL Amazon Video Thursday night deal but the ability to watch the Falcons vs. Saints game on Twitch for free.

Before we get into the performance, a quick recap of what's been covered already:

-Amazon's Twitch Prime Move Is Genius

-EA Madden, NFL, Amazon, Mobile And ESports

-Amazon + Ticketing + ESports = Opportunity


So what's this all mean?


Here are a few ways it ties together:



Twitch Prime In Game Content (Photo: Amazon)

Twitch Prime In Game Content (Photo: Amazon)

One of the genius elements of Twitch Prime is getting exclusive in game content like Madden card packs on a weekly basis. However as this is based on Amazon Video's deal there isn't the true in game content integration that Twitch has.

Until now.

I'd be surprised if Amazon would move their NFL content tied to Amazon Video off the platform onto Twitch for free but it does give a peek into what could work for future seasons.



Ticket Fairy Powers TwitchCon 2017 Tickets (Photo: Twitch)

Ticket Fairy Powers TwitchCon 2017 Tickets (Photo: Twitch)

I still believe that Amazon will make a move into the ticketing vertical as it's another area ripe for disruption. In fact, as called out previously, Twitch did use the Ticket Fairy for TwitchCon 2017 tickets.

Purchase an NFL Ticket and get Prime for 6 months for free?

Buy an NFL Ticket and get exclusive in game content?

NFL Ticket purchase via Amazon gives you NFL Thursday night access for Free?

There are many ways this can play out.



NFL Merchandise On Amazon (Photo: Amazon)

NFL Merchandise On Amazon (Photo: Amazon)

Amazon is the #1 US online retailer and Top 10 overall retailer in the world. 1-hour Amazon Prime delivery is magic. Now combine this with the points above. 

Buy Amazon NFL Merchandise for exclusive in game content?

Purchase Amazon NFL Merchandise and then receive discount on NFL tickets?

Many more opportunities here as well.



All of this can be tied together for esports as well. While the examples above can drive engagement for Madden competitive gaming, this could easily translate to other titles and genre's.

Amazon recently snapped up the rights to the US Open in the UK and further adds fuel to the speculation that they will be bidding for English Premier League rights as well. FIFA esports anyone?

While there's no league affiliation, the integration of in game content, merchandising and events could translate to Amazon's suite of games to be released from their game studios.

So how did the first NFL game on Twitch perform? 

Not so well with ~10K Average Concurrent Viewership for the game.

For perspective, the Madden NFL Club Championship with the Miami Dolphins drew about 1/3 of that viewership...for esports. More than likely it had to with little promotion or marketing vs. the potential lack of audience.


While it may seem that the whole is greater than sum of its parts, this will still require the blessing of any sports league for full integration.

Hopefully that won't be an obstacle.