eSports Week In Review | Amazons Ticketing Opportunity, DisneyXD Programming, Nielsen Esports

ESPORTS WEEK IN REVIEW | AMAZON'S TICKETING OPPORTUNITY + DISNEY XD PROGRAMMING, NIELSEN ESPORTS 

Team Liquid Wins $10.8M From The International 2017 (Photo: Valve)

Team Liquid Wins $10.8M From The International 2017 (Photo: Valve)

TNL Take: This past weekend, Team Liquid won the largest eSports prize pool to date garnering $10.8M - yes, $10.8M or $2M+ per person - by winning The International 2017. 

While that is the largest eSports tournament prize pool by far, here's some perspective on what that means:

The International 2016 vs. US Open Golf 2016 (Graphic: The Next Level)

The International 2016 vs. US Open Golf 2016 (Graphic: The Next Level)

This year's 2017 Golf US Open Champion prize is exactly equal to each member of Team Liquid's $2.16M winnings.

What are you betting on 10 years from now?

This week The Next Level looked at Amazon's eSports ticketing opportunity, DisneyXD' pulls ahead in eSports programming and Nielsen forms eSports advisory board and launches Nielsen Esports.

 

MONDAY 08/14

Amazon + Ticketing + eSports = Opportunity

Amazon + Ticketing + eSports = The Opportunity (Photo: Benjamin Faust)

Amazon + Ticketing + eSports = The Opportunity (Photo: Benjamin Faust)

 

TUESDAY 08/15

The Next Level was off

 

 

WEDNESDAY 08/16

2017 eSports TV Ratings: Disney XD Pulls Ahead With 28 Programs

2017 Disney Networks eSports TV Ratings (Infographic: The Next Level)

2017 Disney Networks eSports TV Ratings (Infographic: The Next Level)

The Next Level Joins Nielsen's eSports Advisory Board (Photo: Nielsen)

The Next Level Joins Nielsen's eSports Advisory Board (Photo: Nielsen)

 

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!

eSports Week In Review | Biggest eSports On TV Weekend, Discord Valued At $700M+, Asia Beating US In Collegiate eSports

ESPORTS WEEK IN REVIEW | BIGGEST ESPORTS ON TV WEEKEND, DISCORD VALUED AT $700M+, ASIA BEATING US IN COLLEGIATE ESPORTS

eSports Week In Review (Photo: CC License)

eSports Week In Review (Photo: CC License)

TNL Take: I could probably leave this as the opening line to every Week In Review based on the current pace of eSports investment across the board "What a week."

This week we looked at Why Discord Is Valued At $700M+, 2 new Feature Writer's for The Next Level, the biggest weekend for eSports on TV and how Asian Collegiate eSports are dominating the US. 

 

MONDAY 07/17

Why Discord Was Able To Raise ~$50M At A $700M+ Valuation

Discord Raises ~$50M (Photo: Discord)

Discord Raises ~$50M (Photo: Discord)

The Next Level's New Feature Writers (Photo: The Next Level)

The Next Level's New Feature Writers (Photo: The Next Level)

EVO 2017 Finals (Photo: EVO, Robert Paul)

EVO 2017 Finals (Photo: EVO, Robert Paul)

Promotional Image for Tencent's 2015 Campus Series (Photo: Tencent)

Promotional Image for Tencent's 2015 Campus Series (Photo: Tencent)

 

Have a great weekend!

eSports Media Evolution's Next Move: Twitch, NBC, ESPN, Yahoo

ESPORTS MEDIA EVOLUTION'S NEXT MOVE: TWITCH, NBC, ESPN, YAHOO

2016 eSports Media Evolution. What's Next? (Photo: The Next Level)

2016 eSports Media Evolution. What's Next? (Photo: The Next Level)

TNL Take: It's #TBT - that's Throwback Thursday's for those stuck to their Bloomberg monitors rather than Instagram Stories - and the kids use it to post something today based on something old.

So here's a #TBT on eSports media evolution and where it's potentially heading next.

Last August in The Next Level 059, I spoke about the future fragmentation of eSports viewing; whereas a few years ago you only went to Twitch, 2016 brought a slew of distribution partners.

TNL Infographic 007: eSports Media Evolution (Infographic: The Next Level)

TNL Infographic 007: eSports Media Evolution (Infographic: The Next Level)

On the last deal between Yahoo eSports and ESL, note why I felt it was important from what seems like a millennium ago and where this plays into our story later today:

Yahoo eSports and ESL (Photo: The Next Level 059)

Yahoo eSports and ESL (Photo: The Next Level 059)

Now let's come back to 2017.  As mentioned earlier this year in The Next Level 128:

TNL Take: Go ahead and file this away till December but mark my words:
In 2017, eSports TV, broadcast rights and exclusivities will see big growth.

 

Here's what happened in just the first 2 months of 2017:

TNL Infographic 031: eSports Media Evolution 2017 (Infographic: The Next Level)

TNL Infographic 031: eSports Media Evolution 2017 (Infographic: The Next Level)

There have been even more deals - like YouTube essentially cornering Counter-Strike content - but let's highlight the last 3 to reflect the new reality:

 

JUNE 20: TWITCH, BLIZZARD SIGN MASSIVE 2-YEAR 3RD PARTY EXCLUSIVE DEAL

Exclusive Overwatch Loot Item for Twitch Prime Members (Photo: Twitch)

Exclusive Overwatch Loot Item for Twitch Prime Members (Photo: Twitch)

Last week, Twitch and Blizzard announced a huge 2 year exclusive 3rd party streaming agreement and partnership.

The deal is made up of two parts: content and in-game integration.

On the content side, Twitch gets access to Blizzard titles including Hearthstone, World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm - pay attention to this one for a moment.

Twitch also gets access to 20+ events including:

  • StarCraft II World Championship Series
  • Hearthstone Championship Tour
  • Hearthstone Global Games
  • World of Warcraft Arena Championship
  • Overwatch APEX League
  • Overwatch Premier Series
  • Heroes of the Storm Global Championship

I've highlighted the last 3 because of the following: Ad Sales, the necessary evil, tug-of-war that exists both internally at publishers and externally at agencies and brands. Let me paint a simple picture:

 

[Media Buyer/Brand]: How can we work with Heroes of the Dorm? Please talk to Facebook, they have the exclusive.

[Media Buyer/Brand]: OK, how about the Heroes of the Storm Championship? Please talk to Twitch, they have the exclusive.

[Media Buyer/Brand]: OK, what about the Overwatch League? Please talk to Major League Gaming and whoever else they will partner with.

[Media Buyer/Brand]: But, wait, what about the Overwatch Apex League? Please go back and talk to Twitch.

Sound complicated? Just try explaining eSports.

 

The second part of the deal, just like Twitch Prime, is genius. Twitch Prime members will receive access to a slew of in game items across Blizzard titles and an exclusive Overwatch Loot box. Over the next year, Twitch Prime members will receive almost a dozen more of these.

"Loot Boxes" are essentially the lottery system inside gaming which primes the monetization pump: Want a really cool shirt for your character, skin for your gun or a Madden/FIFA player that's ultra rare? Buy a box and hope you win. Good luck!

We will continue to see exclusive, multi-platform deals across the same title. Ultimately, this benefits the publisher the most - like always - and more content for viewers to engage with.

But while we are still so early stages in the monetization of eSports, does this make it easier for media buyers and brands, the ones ultimately funding the current "infrastructure"?

This is just move preview #1.

 

JUNE 21: NBC ENTERS ESPORTS WITH ROCKET LEAGUE ACROSS TV, DIGITAL AND OTT

NBC To Broadcast Rocket League Across Multiple Platforms (Photo: Psyonix)

NBC To Broadcast Rocket League Across Multiple Platforms (Photo: Psyonix)

NBC has finally entered the eSports space by partnering with Psyonix's Rocket League. NBC Sports will work with online tournament platform FACEIT for a 2v2 event with a $100,000 prize pool.

The tournament will be shown across both TV, Digital and OTT with the current list including:

  • NBC Sports Regional Networks
  • NBC Sports Network
  • Telemundo Deportes
  • NBCUniversal International Networks

In terms of TV dates, NBC Sports PR told me

"The Regional Finals will be played at NBC Sports Regional Networks studios on the weekends of August 5-6 and August 12-13, and will be live-streamed on the NBC Sports app and Telemundo En Vivo app, as well as other social media platforms. Participating NBC Sports Regional Networks will televise the final hour of coverage from each of the Regional Finals.
The Grand Finals will feature 16 total teams competing on August 26-27 for the inaugural title and the $100,000 prize pool, which will be televised live in the U.S. on NBCSN. The Grand Finals will also be broadcast on Syfy in the UK, Germany, Australia and multiple countries across Latin America, in addition to all previously listed streaming outlets.

Wow that's a lot.

Now for Movie Preview #2.

Twitch has the exclusive on the Rocket League Championship series of which Season 3 performed very will with 150,000 average concurrent viewers and 1.5M+ hours viewed.  Further, Twitch did a phenomenal job on selling brand sponsors which included Mobil1, Old Spice and Brisk/7-11.

Oh, there's also the 7-11/Brisk Rocket League Summer Series going on right now.

When does Rocket League Season 4 start?

August.

 

JUNE 28: X-GAMES TO FEATURE ROCKET LEAGUE ON ESPN3

Even More Rocket League (Photo: Psyonix)

Even More Rocket League (Photo: Psyonix)

The business development team/person must have been on overdrive after Rocket League's Season 3 Championship as they've signed another deal, this time with the game featured at ESPN's X-Games.

Tournament platform FACEIT will again be involved in the $75,000 prize pool event which will be streaming on ESPN3 from July 14-16. eSports isn't new to X-Games as they've previously hosted titles including Call of Duty and Counter-Strike.

Movie Preview #3

 

/01 IS THE SAME CONTENT SUSTAINABLE?

Blizzard titles will probably be the first on the Mars OTT network. Rocket League may make there 4th distribution deal before the end of the year.

Is there enough audience to consume this content clutter?

Let's not even start on the issue of the bloodbath going on across media today, with just eSports related cuts: Yahoo eSports shuts down, GAMURS closing Wiki site due to poor ad revenue and ESL cutting staff yesterday.

 

/02 EASIER FOR AD SALES?

Let's ask a question:

Do the financial teams at Blizzard or Pysonix look at the media rights checks in front of them and say "But won't this make it potentially difficult for ad sales and brands to understand?"

I'll bet a million loot boxes that check was cashed before the question was even answered.

Why do I keep saying movie previews? Because, I've seen this movie before - many times.

In Game Advertising (Photo: Jamie Burke)

In Game Advertising (Photo: Jamie Burke)

My first article ever written was in October 2015 - "In Game Advertising: Failure or Future?"

 

I really hope it's the latter.

2017 eSports TV Ratings: ELEAGUE Finals Reach 335K Viewers, #2 Show For 2017

ESPORTS TV RATINGS: ELEAGUE FINALS REACH 335K VIEWERS, #2 SHOW FOR 2017

ELEAGUE Street Fighter V Invitational Winner Punk (Photo: Turner)

ELEAGUE Street Fighter V Invitational Winner Punk (Photo: Turner)

TNL Take: This weekend saw ELEAGUE's Street Fighter V Invitational come to a conclusion with Victor "Punk" Woodley winning the inaugural tournament taking home $150,000. 

TNL Infographic 044: 2017 Q2 eSports TV Ratings (Infographic: The Next Level)

TNL Infographic 044: 2017 Q2 eSports TV Ratings (Infographic: The Next Level)

  • ELEAGUE Street Fighter: The Finals reached 335,000 total viewers and 183,000 in the 18-49 demo making it the top rated show for Street Fighter's season as well as the #2 show for the year.

For comparison, If the ELEAGUE Finals were on The CW on a Thursday night at 9PM vs. on TBS on a Friday at 10PM, it would have been the #1 rated show for the year.

When looking at ELEAGUE's TV ratings history, Street Fighter performed well when compared vs. Counter-Strike Season 1.

TNL Infographic 045: ELEAGUE TV Ratings History - Total Viewers (Infographic: The Next Level)

TNL Infographic 045: ELEAGUE TV Ratings History - Total Viewers (Infographic: The Next Level)

This isn't surprising as the Fighting genre is much easier for a casual fan to understand.

Here's what I said last July in The Next Level 031 after ESPN showed Street Fighter at EVO last year:

The Next Level 031 (Photo: The Next Level)

The Next Level 031 (Photo: The Next Level)

ELEAGUE announced the return of Counter-Strike this fall.

 

But there's another league that ELEAGUE hasn't announced yet and that could be even bigger than Street Fighter.