Jul 19 2014 - 8:15 pm

It's the end of an era as Na'vi bow out to Cloud9

It's the end of an era in Dota 2
Samuel Lingle
Dot Esports

It's the end of an era in Dota 2.

For the first time in history, Natus Vincere will not play in the finals of The International. The champions of the very first International in 2011, the Ukrainian team lost in subsequent finals against Invictus Gaming and Alliance, respectively. Now, they’re doomed to a top eight finish.

The Ukrainian team became the first eliminated in the main event at the KeyArena in Seattle when Cloud9 bested them in a close three game series.

It’s fitting that the battle went to a third map, in what would was a single game of Dota worth over $140,000 in prize money. The crowd cheered their heroes, Natus Vincere, as Cloud9 tried to use the chip on their shoulder to bash in the Ukrainian terrors.

Cloud9 chose a pick composition featuring Clockwerk and Bounty Hunter, an extremely risky move against a Na’Vi push team. But Cloud9 executed perfectly, scoring early kills in mid lane and then around the map.

Pittner “b0ne7” Armand played out of his mind as Clockwerk, ending the match with a 13/0/12 score, setting up tons of kills in combination with Johan “pieliedie” Åström’s Bounty Hunter lurking behind Natus Vincere’s lines.

The key moment came in an early push from Natus Vincere, after they secured their first kill. Cloud9 counter engaged to defend their bottom tower, and a perfect engage from Armand allowed them to wipe out the Natus Vincere tri lane.

“It was scary man, when you play against Na’Vi it’s like you can see the future, like they’ll go all the way from the lower bracket to the finals like last year,” Cloud9 mid laner Weh “SingSing” Sing Yuen said. “But we stopped them dead in their tracks.”

Cloud9 took the first game on the back of a dominating performance by Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao on Morphling. Na’Vi failed to stop Mao free farming the bottom lane, and he jumped to a huge lead. At the 25 minute mark, the carry power of Morphling finally culminated in a Cloud9 win. Na’Vi tried to take Roshan, but Cloud9 countered with Mao grabbing a triple kill, putting him 8,000 gold ahead of the next player in the server at the 30 minute mark. Na’Vi would surrender a few minutes later.

Mao finished the match with a 12/0/3 K/D/A and a ridiculous 673 Gold Per Minute, thanks to 284 last hits.

The experienced Natus Vincere, one game from elimination so many times in their illustrious careers, wouldn’t go down easily. In game two they blitzed Cloud9, taking a win in a quick 21 minutes.

But as Sing Yuen said, Cloud9 stopped Natus Vincere in their tracks in that fateful third match.

Natus Vincere will be left to wonder what could have been. It’s a disappointing performance for the most accomplished team in Dota 2 history. Of course, the $516,000 in prize money they pulled in for eighth place is more money than they earned with their two second place finishes at The International, so it’s not all bad for the Ukrainians.

Cloud9 is now guaranteed a top six finish and over $650,000 in their first International. They will face Chinese team Vici Gaming later in the day, a game with another $160,000 on the line.

But next for Sing Yuen? Marriage, apparently. In his post-game interview, Kaci Atchison told him dozens of fans have taken to Twitter with marriage proposals. Given the chance to say yes or no to the propositions, it took the Cloud9 player a few moments to respond.

“All yes!” he said, throwing out a thumbs up and a winning smile. Congratulations Sing Yuen, on your future marriages, and congratulations Cloud9, on surviving another round in the biggest esports tournament in history.

Image via Cloud9

Today - 9:14 pm

ELEAGUE’s sponsorship pricing stays at $2 million for 2017

Turner Sports’ esports league sold marketing partnerships for $2 million each last year.
Thiemo Brautigam
Dot Esports
Photo via Turner Sports

ELEAGUE, Turner Sports’ ambitious televised esports experiment, is one of the most attractive destinations for big-name sponsors in esports. So it’s a little surprising that Turner is keeping sponsorship prices for ELEAGUE “about the same” as last year, as Seth Ladetsky, senior vice president of sales, recently told SportsBusiness Daily.

For season one and two of the CS:GO league, which started in May 2016, Turner secured six sponsors, each paying $2 million for an advertising package that included media exclusivity on the broadcasts with logo appearances, product placements, and other forms of sponsor integration.

For 2017, Turner hopes to renew the inaugural-year deals with Buffalo Wild Wings, Arby’s, Domino’s, Snickers, HyperX, and Credit Karma. It’s also looking for new advertisers from branches such as beverages, mortgage, insurance, and telecommunication.

The first new partner for 2017 is DELL, which will promote its Alienware gaming hardware in all ELEAGUE competitions throughout the year. On Jan. 20, Turner also revealed a naming rights deal with G Fuel for its Atlanta-based studio and arena.

Season one of Turner’s CS:GO ELEAGUE averaged about 250,000 TV viewers and, despite a slight increase in the Fall, the linear viewership was far from mind-blowing throughout the year. Apparently, some sponsors were unsatisfied with the ratings and received redress, Ladetsky told SBD.

Ladetsky, Turner’s senior vice president of sales, still believes that the launch year was a success. “We’re pretty happy with our overall audience as a whole,” he told SBD. “We do think the IP rights, the marks and rights, have increased in value, for sure, because it’s more established now. But in general, we’re still in a launch year.”

Turner’s ELEAGUE opened the esports market to more non-endemic brands. Beside the huge appeal of esports, many advertisers are still wary. A rapidly changing industry like esports can be risky territory.

“It’s very hard to do multiyear deals in this space because games change and schedules are so fluid,” Ladetsky explained.

Nonetheless, esports is among the most attractive industries for advertisers and sponsors in 2017. SK Gaming’s deal with VISA and Astralis’ partnership with Audi show the growing interest of big brands in esports.

Today - 9:12 pm

Heroic benches Friis, cadiaN to fill in

Friis was one of the founding members of the team.
Sam Nordmark
Writer at @dotesports
Photo via Fragbite

One of the strongest Counter-Strike: Global Offensive squads from Denmark is shaking things up.

Team Heroic AWPer and co-founder Michael "Friis" Jørgensen has been placed on the bench, the organization has revealed. Friis, who is listed as one of the co-owners of the organization, has played with the team since its inception in August 2016.

At the moment it's not exactly clear what prompted the team to bench the 27-year-old veteran (who will have been competing for close to ten years in 2017), especially considering the fact that Friis himself posted on social media about scrims at the beginning for the year. Additionally, the Danish squad placed 3rd-4th out of the eight teams that competed at DreamHack Leipzig on Jan. 13-15.

Shortly after being assembled, Heroic went on to place respectably at a number of international LAN tournaments. This included multiple top four finishes, as well as two victories at PowerLan and the 2016 International Gaming League grand finals.

Heroic said that the benching is temporary. The team will be fielding current Rogue AWPer Casper "cadiaN" Møller in its upcoming tournament matches. CadiaN is no stranger to the majority of Heroic's roster, having competed with them in SK Gaming's previous CS:GO roster between late 2015 and early 2016.

While the move does seem dramatic, it's not all too surprising. Given the fact that the ELEAGUE Major will be concluding on Jan. 29, plenty of teams will be looking to shuffle their rosters. We'll likely be seeing a lot more player movement in a week's time.