Mar 25 2014 - 9:56 pm

'League of Legends' star William 'Scarra' Li moves from player to coach

One of the most popular League of Legends players on the planet announced today that he will be stepping down
Ferguson Mitchell
Dot Esports

One of the most popular League of Legends players on the planet announced today that he will be stepping down. William “Scarra” Li, who has been the captain for Team Dignitas since it was formed in 2012, said he will no longer be the team's mid laner, choosing instead to work as a coach and substitute.

In many ways, Li is a father figure to the scene. At 24-years-old, he’s one of the oldest players in North America. In 2011, he led Dignitas victory at IGN’s Pro League 3, one of the first North American League titles ever. The team has been competing at the highest levels since, including a trip to South Korea to play a season in OnGameNet, the country's premier competitive league. Under his guiding hand, Dignitas have remained one of the top teams in the country.

Li is also a popular streamer, which has helped him attain another strata of fame in the League community. He’s been known to play unconventional mid lane champions like Katarina and Soraka from time to time. His Twitch channel boasts 26 million total views.

But Li's also managed to reach mainstream audiences, and has been designated as something of a spokesman for both the game and the esports industry as a whole. When HBO’s Real Sports ran a story on League and their World Championships last year, Li was the one who walked correspondent Soledad O’Brien through the basics of the game.

This season, however, Li's team is stumbling. Dignitas are currently in fourth place, but that belies the fact that they are a full five games behind third, and only have a 41 percent win rate.

Greyson "goldenglue" Gilmer will take Li's place, Dignitas announced in a statement earlier today. Gilmer, who was the mid laner for CompLexity Red, helped his team take third place in the first Challenger Series qualifier. Now, he’ll be stepping into some much bigger shoes as he and Dignitas face the rest of the season and the coming playoffs.

As for Li, he’ll be moving into a coaching role within Dignitas.

So Li will be very much a part of Dignitas, at least for the time being. He added in a comment on Reddit: “I still very much believe in this team, and I'll try to help them succeed as best as I can.“

Photo via Riot Games

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.