On Friday evening in the final race of the season McLaren Shadow’s Lucas Blakeley won the 2022 F1 Esports Series Pro Championship. McLaren Shadow has also been crowned the Constructors Champions for 2022 for the first time, clinching the title with two races to go after a brilliant season for Blakeley and his ever-present teammate Bari Boroumand.
The Grand Final began with five drivers battling for the championship, with only 22 points seperating Blakeley at the top and last years’ champion, Jarno Opmeer in fifth. Blakeley’s teammate Boroumand, Haas rookie Thomas Ronhaar and Red Bull’s Frede Rasmussen were the other three drivers in contention for the title. The Constructors’ Championship was also still to be decided going into the Grand Final, but McLaren Shadow had a dominant lead on Red Bull and Mercedes.
On Wednesday, the Pro Championship visited Suzuka in what was a entertaining encounter, full of exciting, wheel-to-wheel racing. It was Ronhaar who started the race on pole but Alfa Romeo’s Nicolas Longuet came out victorious, getting his first race win of the season as the Haas driver and Rasmussen made up the rest of the podium. Opmeer was unable to continue his impressive form from the previous event and his title hopes came to an end after not being able to finish the race. McLaren Shadow clinched the Constructors’ Championship at Suzuka with Blakeley and Boroumand finishing 4th and 5th respectively.
Blakeley went on to secure his fourth win of the season in the penultimate race at Interlagos, which began in wet conditions. The Scotsman, who started on pole in a McLaren 1-2, was able to hold his position at the front, avoiding the battling going on behind him between two of his title rivals, with Rasmussen and Boroumand eventually securing P2 and P3, with the latter’s title hopes ending due to results around him. Meanwhile, the other title contender, Ronhaar, had a disappointing race for his standards, finishing sixth after starting the race in fifth – however, this result still kept the Dutchman’s title hopes alive.
This meant in the final race of the season, it was all to play for at the Yas Marina Circuit, with Blakeley (169 points) needing just five points to secure the title, ahead of Rasmussen (148) and Ronhaar (147). It started with a surprise as AlphaTauri’s Josh Idowu got his first pole position of the season, crowning what has been an impressive season for the former McLaren driver. However, the title-chasing trio took up the three spots behind him so it was set-up for a tense race to the finish line, especially with a mix of tyre strategies at play. Ronhaar, who started in P2, took the lead before the pit stops, with Red Bull’s Marcel Kiefer also playing a role in keeping the Haas man behind him in an attempt to boost his teammate’s title chances. Rasmussen soon took the lead and held on to it until the end, with Ronhaar and Idowu making up the top three, but it wasn’t enough as Blakeley took P4 and secured his first ever F1 Esports Series Pro Championship title, culminating in several years of determination and improvement from the Scotsman.
Riot Games Announces VALORANT Esports EMEA Partnership With Unilumin
With the start of the 2024 competitive VALORANT Esports season now underway, we’re proud to announce our partnership with Unilumin, a world leading LED display solution provider!
Unilumin has been instrumental in helping us level up the fan experience at the all-new Riot Games Arena with their industry-leading LED display technology, of which 250 square meters will now feature across the Riot Games Arena in Berlin. We’re so excited to welcome them on board as an official supplier for VCT EMEA, VALORANT Game Changers EMEA, and VALORANT Ascension EMEA.
Unilumin’s screens will light up the stage at the Berlin arena – and their logo will feature across various VALORANT Esports EMEA broadcasts throughout 2024. They’ve supplied display solutions globally from Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium to the Mercedes-Benz Arena, a mere stone’s throw away from us at the Riot Games Arena in Berlin. They’ve also worked with some of the biggest names in entertainment venues and global sports stadiums to illuminate events across the globe with grandstand, perimeter, and centerhung screens alongside scoreboards in major competition venues.
As we continue to level up the fan experience throughout 2024, we know Unilumin is the perfect partner to help us bring the most immersive experience and exciting atmosphere to the Riot Games Arena in Berlin, for our fans.
“Unilumin Sports is pleased to bring our solutions and technologies to the Riot Games Arena in Berlin and be a partner of VALORANT Esports in EMEA”, said Oscar Feng, the Global Director of Unilumin Sports. “We will use our well-designed products and fast response services to cooperate with Riot Games for their events and show the ultimate audio-visual experience to their fans.”
“After working with Unilumin for the refit of the Riot Games Arena, we’re delighted to welcome them as a supplier for our various VALORANT Esports EMEA events in 2024,” said Daniel Ringland, Head of VALORANT Esports EMEA. “Unilumin has helped us enhance the fan experience for those watching from home and joining us on-site, and we can’t wait to use their display technology throughout the season.”
Tundra Esports Announces Addition of Ludwig ‘Zai’ Wahlberg as Dota 2 General Manager to the Team
The veteran offlaner and captain will serve as the cornerstone for Tundra Esports’ Performance Management Team
Tundra Esports is delighted to announce the addition of Ludwig ‘Zai’ Wahlberg to its Dota 2 Performance Management Team, taking on the role of General Manager.
A household name in the competitive scene to both fans and peers alike, Wahlberg brings over tens years of experience, numerous championships and four top-three finishes at The International to the Tundra Esports tribe. Alongside his impressive tenures on some of the highest profile rosters in Dota’s history, he retains the impressive record of a 66.6% win rate across his 2,000+ game career; the highest of all pro Dota players*. For someone with such an intimate relationship with success in Dota 2, Wahlberg is expected to bring about a new level of excellence to the team’s management style and gameplay.
*With more than 200 pro matches played
Wahlberg’s addition further cements Tundra Esports’ commitment to growing and evolving its performance management team and the move marks a significant milestone for the organisation’s continued journey towards competitive success in the world of Dota 2.
“I’m thrilled to welcome Ludwig ‘Zai’ Wahlberg to Tundra Esports as the Dota 2 General Manager and support his journey into management after his illustrious playing career,” the co-founder and Esports Director for Tundra Esports, Anthony Graham, said. “We are doubling down on our approach to Dota and I don’t think there is a better person to lead our Dota operations going forward than Wahlberg.”
Wahlberg joins the already star-studded 2024 Tundra Esports Dota roster, consisting of:
1 – Ivan ‘Pure-‘ Moskalenko
2 – Topias ‘Topson’ Taavitsainen
3 – Ivan ‘MinD_ContRoL’ Ivanov
4 – Edgar ‘9Class’ Naltakian
5 – Matthew ‘Whitemon’ Filemon
“After an extensive break from the game, I’m very excited to be involved with Dota again but in a different capacity,” Wahlberg said. “I’m looking forward to stepping into a new role as General Manager for Tundra Esports and to use my previous experiences and insights as a player to manage and influence its Dota division.”
Fans will get to witness his impact on the team’s performance first-hand in its upcoming match against The International 12 champions Team Spirit this Sunday at DreamLeague Season 22.
Esports to Beat Football? SOFTSWISS Shares Sports Betting Trends for 2024
Esports is raising its position among top sports by bets in 2023. The product team of the SOFTSWISS Sportsbook, a top sports betting software provider, reflects on the past year.
Esports Unstoppable Rise
Over the past three years, the top three sports by bets remain unchanged, with football, tennis and basketball maintaining their leadership. In contrast, esports has demonstrated a consistent upward trend, progressing from the seventh position in 2021 to the fourth in 2023. Notably, Counter-Strike stands out, claiming the sixth position among the top ten disciplines by the number of bets.
Alexander Kamenetskyi, Head of SOFTSWISS Sportsbook, comments: “Considering the rise of esports, we guide our partners to focus on cyber disciplines, engaging audiences beyond traditional betting demographics. Highlighting the cybersports potential for operators, Newzoo’s report projects 640 million viewers by 2025.”
Mobiles Drive 92% of Operator GGR
Another notable trend in sports betting, which has remained unchanged for several years, is the consistent growth in bets made from mobile devices. According to the SOFTSWISS Sportsbook, 80% of bets in 2023 were placed via mobile versus 70% in 2022 and 68% in 2021. This trend solidifies as players increasingly opt for mobile convenience, especially in live betting scenarios. More importantly, it was mobile devices that contributed 92% to the operators’ GGR.
Kamenetskyi adds: “Mobile betting is one of our main focuses in product development. We put much effort into improving our mobile application and mobile website. It is specifically important for locations facing challenges with internet connectivity and regions like LatAm and Africa where internet coverage is still growing.”
Casino Turnover Drops During Major Sports Events
The SOFTSWISS Sportsbook team has repeatedly emphasised shifts in player behaviour around major sports events. Specifically, there was a 10–20% drop in online casino turnover, coinciding with the World Cup 2022. This highlights a dynamic wherein a significant portion of casino players redirect their focus towards sports betting based on seasonal patterns. Considering audience preferences, reinforcing casinos with sportsbooks is a logical step.
Kamenetskyi adds: “This pattern underscores the strategic imperative for iGaming stakeholders to recognise the synergistic relationship between casino ventures and sportsbooks. Combining these options not only enhances casino appeal but also maintains player engagement, especially during sports events. In this context, it is worth mentioning that the SOFTSWISS Sportsbook is compatible with any casino platform on the market.”
Additionally, the SOFTSWISS Sportsbook team notes the strengthening of other trends like regulation and responsible gambling that have recently been highlighted in the iGaming Trends 2024 report by SOFTSWISS. The SOFTSWISS Sportsbook team will be glad to discuss all learnings during the first SBC Summit Rio at the stand D360.
SOFTSWISS is an international tech company supplying software solutions for managing iGaming projects. The expert team, which counts over 2,000 employees, is based in Malta, Poland and Georgia. SOFTSWISS holds a number of gaming licences and provides one-stop-shop iGaming software solutions. The company has a vast product portfolio, including the Online Casino Platform, the Game Aggregator with thousands of casino games, the Affilka affiliate platform, the Sportsbook Platform and the Jackpot Aggregator. In 2013, SOFTSWISS was the first in the world to introduce a Bitcoin-optimised online casino solution.
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