Feb 3 2014 - 4:16 pm

For the first time ever, Hollywood is sponsoring an esports tournament

Hollywood, meet esports
Patrick Howell O'Neill
Dot Esports

Hollywood, meet esports. This might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Lionsgate Films will become the first major Hollywood studio to sponsor an esports event with the “Ender’s Game on Blu-Ray Tournament," a $20,000 online StarCraft 2 competition organized by Lionsgate, and broadcast on MLG.tv and Twitch.

The tournament, organized by new platform GameOn.gg, will feature 32 players, most of whom will be directly invited by Major League Gaming. Four players will be voted in by fans, a feature that is by now a staple of GameOn tournaments. Invites will be announced later today.

While traditional sports can depend on a variety of revenue sources like merchandising and ticket sales, most esports companies are almost wholly dependent on advertising. The eyeballs of esports viewers are some of the most valuable commodities in the industry, so it’s a big deal when new buyers with deep pockets come into the picture. Lionsgate’s entrance opens not just a new product or company, but potentially an entire new industry to the idea of advertising in esports.

Major League Gaming’s advertising sales team, which CEO Sundance DiGiovanni has been boasting about for months, can claim a real victory here: They've put their foot in the door of the $4 billion film promotion industry. Major League Gaming’s website is already covered head to toe in advertisements for Ender’s Game.

It is, however, just a foot in the door. The $20,000 prize pool, which makes up 0.03 percent of Ender’s Game’s domestic box office earnings of $61.7 million, is a fraction of the cost of a single prime-time television commercial. That means Liongate's esports investment is ultimately a small test for MLG.tv, Twitch, and the new GameOn tournament platform.

But it’s a test that should be passed with flying colors. Last month’s inaugural GameOn tournament was deemed a success by most viewers (though the invite-heavy format still attracts criticism for being something of a popularity contest). MLG's streaming operations are moving the company toward profitability for the first time in its 12-year history. And Twitch is riding a record-breaking 2013 into a strong new year.

Coupled with the recent entrance of heavyweight corporations like Coca Cola into esports, the industry itself is on a winning streak.

However, whereas Coke got involved with the most popular league of the biggest esport on the planet—the League of Legends Championship Series—Lionsgate opted to sponsor a relatively small online StarCraft 2 tournament. Although StarCraft 2 is smaller than more popular esports like League of Legends or Dota 2, it does at least make perfect sense to pair two of the most well-loved science fiction franchises of all time.

And anyone who has read the Ender’s Game books or seen the movie knows that “Battle School” is the greatest esport never made. (It is board game, at least.)

Qualifiers will air on MLG.tv, Major League Gaming’s profitable new streaming venture, from Feb. 5 to 16. The championship round will air Feb. 22 on Twitch, MLG.tv’s chief rival in the world of esports streaming video. It seems likely Lionsgate wanted the big games on Twitch, as it is by far the more established and visited of the two streaming sites.

Voting for additional invited players begins today on GameOn.gg.

Update: MLG has announced the 16 North American StarCraft 2 players who'll compete for $5,000 in prize money in the first round of the tournament . They are: Sasha "Scarlett" Hostyn, Geoff "iNcontroL" Robinson, Sam "Kane" Morrissette, Ryan "State" Visbeck, Marc-Olivier "desRow" Proulx, Juan Carlos "MajOr" Tena Lopez, Tyler "NonY" Wasieleski, Danny "ViBE" Scherlong, Henry "hendralisk" Zheng, Maru "MaSa" Kim, Victor "Hitman" Lin, and David "avilo" Blowe.

Image via Lionsgate Films

Jan 21 2017 - 10:55 pm

Contractz shines as Cloud9 topples TSM

Cloud9’s rookie jungler made a big splash in his LCS debut
Xing Li
Dot Esports
Photo via Riot Games

Cloud9’s Juan "Contractz" Arturo Garcia didn't just make an impression in his LCS debut. He blew away all expectations, and showed himself to be a force to be reckoned with.

Contractz was the last cut from the Players to Watch list we wrote before the League Championship season. We weren’t sure how much priority Cloud9 would give him, especially with so much talent elsewhere on the roster. Still, we felt uneasy--someone not on the list was almost guaranteed to break out.

We just didn’t know that it would happen in the very first series.

In a rematch of last summer’s LCS Finals, Cloud9 and TSM clashed on the rift. And despite the star power that this matchup brings, much of the focus was on Contractz. He was a major focus for C9, almost a win condition in themselves.

Let’s see how he did it.

Jungle Priority

Due to the changes Riot made to the jungle in the offseason, priority has risen for junglers. More experience and more ganks means a good jungler can more easily carry a game. Cloud9’s coach, Bok “Reapred” Han-gyu talks about priority all the time.

Priority is a League term that indicates which lane has a strong matchups and should be a focus for jungle ganks. The player or lane with priority gets earlier picks and more attention from the rest of the team.

In a bit of a role reversal, C9 picked jungle to have priority in game one. That meant C9 players actively played around Contractz’ Kha’zix and made plays to get him ahead. In one telling instance, AD carry Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi burned his Ashe ult so that Contractz could invade and secure red buff.

Contractz rewarded that allocation by killing TSM ADC Jason “WildTurtle” Tran for First Blood. Cloud9 picked a risky comp that required Contractz and mid laner Nicolaj Jensen (playing Fizz) to snowball. Aided by some questionable team play from TSM and baffling itemization from WildTurtle, they accomplished that.

How would TSM react in game two?

A Lee Sin God

Cloud9 continued to give Contractz priority by first-picking Lee Sin for him (only one jungler, Rengar, was banned). This time, he lived in TSM’s red side jungle, playing around pressure from Jensen and top laner Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong.

A well-executed gank gave C9 First Blood again, this time on Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg. C9’s duo lane kept their own red-side safe, allowing Contractz to clear and run to the top lane to kill Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell.

For much of the series, Cloud9 exhibited superior team play and coordination, and Contractz was at the center of big plays. He is an aggressive, carry-oriented player and C9 enabled that aggression extremely well. Even when TSM jungler Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen and the rest of the team was there, it was often C9 making the right moves, faster. Following a decent TSM dive in the bot lane, Contractz responded with kill after kill.

It’s still very early in the season, but this team has come together very fast. Their communication was superb as was the shot calling. TSM had poor performances from Turtle and Svenskeren, but this victory was still more about C9's macro-oriented team play, rather than individual performances. They will have chances to come back, just like C9 will have to keep their play high by continuing to aid their jungler.

Contractz just dominated what was the best team in NA. Keep this performance up, and he’ll find himself on another one of our lists: the end of split awards.

Jan 21 2017 - 10:50 pm

Soccer legend Ronaldo invests in Brazilian esports team CNB

The two-time World Cup winner is making a move into esports.
Callum Leslie
Weekend Editor, Dot Esports.
Photo via [Fotos GOVBA[(https://www.flickr.com/photos/37885263@N05/6717662659) (CC BY 2.0)

Brazilian soccer legend Ronaldo Luis Nazário de Lima has joined the throng of sporting figures investing into esports, purchasing a stake in a Brazilian esports team.

Ronaldo has invested in CNB e-sports Club alongside poker pro André Akkari and Igor Trafane Federal, CEO of the Brazilian Series of Poker (BSOP), with the trio buying 50 percent of the organization.

The club's original founders, brothers Cleber “Fuzi” Fonseca and Carlos “Fury” Júnior, retain the other 50 percent ownership and remain responsible for the management of the team.

The news was announced through myCNB, the news portal owned by the same parent company as the team and now also owned by the new investment group.

According to the report Akkari, a close friend of Ronaldo, was the driving force behind the investment after visiting a number of team houses early last year.

CNB finished second in the 2016 CBLoL Stage 2 finals, a remarkable run of form after finishing bottom of the table in the Stage 1 season earlier in the year. The team they lost to in that Stage 2 final was INTZ e-Sports, who competed at the 2016 World Championships and IEM Oakland.

Ronaldo is arguably one of the biggest sporting figures to put their money into esports to date. A three-time FIFA player of the year, Ronaldo won the World Cup with Brazil in 1994 and 2002. He played for some of Europe's best teams in an 18-year career, including Real Madrid, Barcelona and Inter Milan.