Jun 10 2014 - 1:50 pm

X Games partnership wasn't a 'one-time thing,' MLG promises

Last weekend, a different type of professional athlete descended on ESPN's X Games in Austin
Jared Wynne
Dot Esports

Last weekend, a different type of professional athlete descended on ESPN's X Games in Austin. For the first time ever, professional gamers—in the form of eight of the world's best Call of Duty teams—put on a show for the attendees of ESPN's annual extreme sports competition. And according to Major League Gaming, the esports company that ran the Call of Duty competition, it won't be the last time we see this kind of partnership.

“The X Games is constantly expanding its roster," MLG's president, Michael Sepso, told the Daily Dot. "When X Games started there weren’t even any motorsports. This is a much bigger event now."

And while many esports fans probably assumed it was MLG, being the much smaller brand, who reached out to ESPN, Sepso said it was the other way around. X Game's approached MLG about a year ago to float the idea.

“We’ve been working with ESPN for about eight years, so we have a long relationship with them,” Sepso added.

An MLG team arrived in Austin days before the event to construct a temporary studio at the heart of the X Games venue, which was meant to recreate the look and feel of one of the company's major event. Each match was accompanied by live studio commentary and broadcast live over the company's streaming platform, MLG.tv.

The specifics of the production were largely left to the discretion of MLG, including the choice of Call of Duty.

“ESPN just wanted an MLG event and we decided what game it would be,” Sepso said.

MLG managed to sell out the limited number of VIP tickets that would guarantee spectators a seat at the event, and those seats remained largely filled over the weekend of play. Long lines bordered the side of MLG’s tent as a number of fans without VIP passes were willing to wait in the 90-degree Texas heat for the chance to step inside and see some professional gamers ply their trade.

Those attending were treated to an exciting final match that saw Optic Gaming emerge victorious with gold medals in tow.

While no other future esports events under the ESPN or X Games banners have yet been announced, Sepso did make it clear that MLG was interested in keeping the relationship going.

“It’s not a one time thing,” Sepso said.

 “We are in communication with ESPN about what we should be doing together. We’ve been working with them for a long time and we’re constantly looking for ways to expand that relationship.”

As for what MLG hoped to accomplish at the X Games, and more generally through their relationship with ESPN, Sepso pointed to the company’s overarching goal of expanding the reach of esports and thus the potential reach of MLG. The organization has been pushing their MLG.tv online streaming service and in April announced the construction of a dedicated esports arena to be built in Zhuhai, China.

“Our primary goal for this integration was to just mainstream esports. Across the world, really, this is our core mission.”

Photo by Jared Wynne

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.