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NBA 2K League announces Panera Bread as first restaurant partner ahead of Feb. 22 Draft at Terminal 5 in New York City

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– Four-Round Draft Delivered by Panera Bread Will be Livestreamed on the NBA 2K League’s Twitch and YouTube Channels; Fans Can Register to Attend at NBA2KLeague.com – 

– Wizards District Gaming Has First Overall Pick; Several Surprise Guests Will Announce Select Picks and Provide Guest Commentary –

The NBA 2K League announced today a partnership with Panera Bread ahead of the 2020 NBA 2K League Draft, which will be held Saturday, February 22 at 6 p.m. ET at Terminal 5 in New York City and livestreamed on the NBA 2K League’s Twitch and YouTube channels.  The partnership marks Panera Bread’s first with a professional esports league and the NBA 2K League’s first with a restaurant partner.

All 23 NBA 2K League teams, including expansion teams Hornets Venom GT and the Gen.G Tigers of Shanghai, will complete their six-person roster at the four-round draft.  Fans can register to attend the 2020 NBA 2K League Draft delivered by Panera Bread by visiting NBA2KLeague.com.  Several surprise guests will announce select picks and provide guest commentary.

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As part of the partnership, Panera Bread will deliver food to NBA 2K League hosts, broadcasters and players during live broadcasts.  Fans can join in on the action and get Panera Bread delivered directly to their home via Panerabread.com or the Panera Bread app.

Each week during the season on the league’s livestream and social media channels, the NBA 2K League will present “Rookies Who Deliver Presented by Panera Bread.”  The series will tell the stories of the 2020 NBA 2K League rookie class on and off the virtual court while highlighting standout rookie performances throughout the season.

“As we approach our third season and the NBA 2K League continues to grow, we are excited to partner with a world-class brand like Panera Bread,” said NBA 2K League Managing Director Brendan Donohue.  “We are going to have an incredibly talented rookie class and look forward to working with Panera to share their amazing stories as they make their mark on the league, beginning on draft day 2020.”

“At Panera, we believe you shouldn’t need to compromise between good and good-for-you when it comes to delivery options,” said Beth Ringer, Vice President, Media Strategy, Panera Bread.  “With gaming being a popular activity for our customers, in partnership with our agency, Connect at Publicis, we jumped at the opportunity to partner with the NBA 2K League and enter into the esports space with such an established partner.”

Wizards District Gaming will have the first overall pick in the 2020 NBA 2K League Draft delivered by Panera Bread, as determined by the NBA 2K League Draft Lottery that took place in October.  Knicks Gaming will have the second overall pick, and Hawks Talon GC will have the third overall pick.  For the complete 2020 NBA 2K League Draft order, click here.

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With the addition of the two expansion teams, 138 players will compete in the 2020 NBA 2K League season.  Once again there will be more draft-eligible players than spots available in the league.  During the offseason, 70 players who competed in the 2019 season were retained, leaving 68 roster spots available.

The draft-eligible player pool will consist of new players who were selected by the league following an extensive tryout process, players from the league’s first European Invitational, second Asia-Pacific (APAC) Invitational and 11 team-hosted Pro-Am tournaments, and unretained players from the 2019 season.  The complete list of draft-eligible players will be announced prior to the draft.

 

About the NBA 2K League
The NBA 2K League, a professional esports league co-founded by the NBA and Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ:TTWO), launched in 2018 and features the best NBA 2K players in the world.  Each of the league’s 23 teams features six players who compete as unique characters in 5-on-5 play against the other teams in a mix of regular-season games, tournaments and playoffs.  During the 2019 season, NBA 2K League partners included Anheuser-Busch, AT&T, Champion Athleticwear, Facebook, HyperX, New Era, Raynor Gaming, SCUF Gaming, Snickers, Stance, Tencent, Twitch and YouTube.  For more information about the NBA 2K League, visit NBA2KLeague.com.

 

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Skyesports unveils open-for-all THE FINALS Online Community Cup with a $10,000 prize pool

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Skyesports, a premier global IP and community builder for gaming and esports, has announced THE FINALS Online Community Cup, a $10,000 open-for-all esports tournament giving a chance to every player from India to go pro.

Registrations for THE FINALS Online Community Cup are currently open. Players from every nook and corner of the country can register for the tournament. For players who don’t have a team, they can scout for one through the official THE FINALS India – Skyesports Discord server.

The tournament will be played on the exciting and fast-paced 5v5 Terminal Attack mode, the same mode that THE FINALS Esports Revolution Showdown was played in where Team Mortal defeated Team Scout in the Finals to become the champion.

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Commenting on the tournament, Shiva Nandy, Founder and CEO, Skyesports, said, “After wrapping up THE FINALS Esports Revolution Showdown LAN event in Chennai, we have been bringing constant showdowns along with cafe events across the country. The community, however, has been demanding an open-for-all esports tournament, where they can showcase their skills. This is where THE FINALS Online Community Cup comes in. This is the first open tournament for THE FINALS in India and we are thrilled to announce a prize pool of $10,000 to support grassroots-level esports.”

All registered teams in THE FINALS Online Community Cup will compete across the Group Stage and the Playoffs to determine the India champions. With several prominent esports organizations already showing interest in THE FINALS, the cup will also serve as a scouting ground for the upcoming talent in this FPS title.

Certain matches from the Group Stage and the entire Playoffs will be live-streamed on THE FINALS India and Skyesports YouTube channel.

 

The post Skyesports unveils open-for-all THE FINALS Online Community Cup with a $10,000 prize pool appeared first on European Gaming Industry News.

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From game to competition: The unstoppable rise of esports and competitive gaming

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In the ever-evolving landscape of entertainment, few industries have witnessed a tremendous rise quite like eSports.

What once started as a niche in the gaming world has now grown into a global sensation, captivating both amateur and professional players with its competitive events, life-changing cash prizes, and viewership figures in the hundreds of millions. Domain and hosting experts Fasthosts has compiled a brief overview of the rise of eSports, and competitive gaming throughout the years, and where the future may take the industry.

The Start of Competitive Gaming

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eSports, at its core, revolves around competitive video gaming, and has experienced exponential growth over the past five decades. The earliest known gaming competition stems back to 1972, when Stanford University hosted a contest featuring the science fiction rocket game ‘Spacewar’. The event – orchestrated by sports reporter Stewart Brand – showcased the potential of video games as an “exhilarating spectator sport”, setting the stage for what was to come.

The Slow but Steady Rise

For several decades, the popularity of eSports experienced a gradual rise. In the pre-internet era, arcade tournaments provided the battleground for players, with magazines and record books recognising top players’ achievements. The 1990s marked a turning point as gaming tournaments began to gain traction, offering increasingly substantial prize pools. The technological advancements in video game consoles, and internet and PC gaming paved the way for a prosperous decade for the industry. At the end of the 90s we saw the internet cafe boom where young players would meet and play together in PC cafes, which was the start of the strong youth social gaming culture you see today.

The New Millennium

It was the early 2000s that witnessed the true birth of eSports as leagues and tournaments started to take shape around iconic titles like Counter-Strike, StarCraft, and Warcraft III. In 2001, the first World Cyber Games was held in Seoul. The tournament featured several popular games and attracted over 174,000 participants from 17 countries, making for an unexpected global success. In 2005, the CPL World Tour or Cyberathlete Professional League became the first event to have a prize pool offering over $1 million, demonstrating the start of life changing prizes that go hand in hand with competitive gaming.

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Streaming Platforms: The Catalyst for Growth

From 2010 onwards, the world witnessed the revolutionary impact of online streaming platforms like Twitch.tv and Youtube Gaming, leading to skyrocketing eSports viewership figures. When Twitch launched, the ‘League of Legends’ world championship viewership figures went from 1.7 million in 2011 to 8.2 million in 2012, and to 32 million in 2013.

These streaming platforms connected fans worldwide, allowing them to tune into live events from home. The large viewing figures, advertising, and sponsorship opportunities led to investors starting their own teams, and household game developers creating leagues and tournaments. It became standard for eSports events to attract millions of viewers, and the landscape of competitive gaming had been transformed.

The Summit

In 2015, eSports reached a defining moment with The International 2015: Dota 2 Championships. The prize pool offered a staggering $18 million, breaking records and solidifying eSports’ place on the global stage. This marked a monumental shift, proving that tournaments could rival traditional sports events in terms of both prize money and profitability.

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The New Decade: eSports Takes Centre Stage

As the calendar turned to the 2020s, eSports entered a new era. The decade began with some of the largest tournaments in history, attracting millions of spectators and providing the largest prize pools seen to date such as The 2021 International Dota 2 Championships which took place in Bucharest Romania, offering a $40,018,400.00 prize pool – the largest prize at the time.

By 2020, it had become increasingly common to see the term “professional eSports player” conceptualising the individuals dedicating their lives to competitive gaming, undergoing strict routines and training in the unique journey of becoming the world’s next best gaming athlete.

The Future

At present, the most-viewed tournaments are impressive spectacles in their own right, with titles like ‘Free Fire World Series’, ‘League of Legends’, and ‘Mobile Legends: Bang Bang’ drawing millions of viewers. Looking to the future, in August 2023, Saudi Arabian tournament organiser Gamers8 ran their ‘The Land of Heroes’ tournament with a colossal prize of $45 million dollars, a figure that has been shattered this year with the life-changing sum of $60 million dollars to be won at the eSports World Cup in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

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Reinforcing the growing nature of the industry, according to BeyonGames.biz, the eSports market is estimated to grow at 21.81% between 2022 and 2027, with the size of the market expected to increase by $3,515.1 million.

The journey of competitive gaming from its humble beginnings to its current global standing is a testament to its enduring appeal and cultural impact. With its exhilarating competition and substantial rewards, eSports has become a true force in the entertainment world. As the industry continues to innovate and evolve, one thing remains clear: this isn’t just a passing trend. It’s a phenomenon that has permanently transformed the way we engage with and celebrate competitive gaming.

 

The post From game to competition: The unstoppable rise of esports and competitive gaming appeared first on European Gaming Industry News.

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Staffordshire University makes history in college esports

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Students of Staffordshire University have achieved a unique success: becoming the UK’s first winning university team in Europe’s premier esports competition between colleges. Players of ‘Korean Pop Superstars (KPS)’ emerged victorious last weekend in VALORANT (Riot Games’ shooter title) at the Grand Final of UNIVERSITY Esports Masters (UE Masters), where they defeated their rivals from National University of Physical Education and Sport of Ukraine (NUPESU) by a score of 3-2.

It was not an easy road to glory. British representatives had to overcome the continuous returns from the Ukrainian players, who demonstrated a tough competitive spirit throughout the Grand Final. However, it was a great sporting experience in which fair play prevailed between the two teams. In fact, students of KPS waited over an hour for their NUPESU’s counterparts due to a problem with the venue where they were competing.

All the clashes at the Grand Finals of UE Masters (both VALORANT and League of Legends) were played entirely in online format. Live streams of the showdowns on Twitch and X (formerly Twitter) accumulated more than 40,000 views throughout last weekend on two official social channels with over 11,000 followers.

A great victory for the UK

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The win of KPS is a meaningful milestone for college esports in the UK. For the first time, a British team has been crowned as Champion of UE Masters, the most important esports tournament in the college ecosystem across Europe. Since the first edition of the competition in 2016, Great Britain has had representatives, but none had been able to lift the Championship title.

This group of five students from Staffordshire University, integrated by Diarmuid McGirr, Josh Green, Zain Lim, Stanley Lebon, and Ignas Kantauta as the main squad, have completed a successful performance in this edition of UE Masters: overcoming qualifiers, beating the best opponents, and positioning the UK at the top of the university esports in the continent.

One of the KPS integrants, Zain Lim, said: “Playing as a team has definitely been fun, competing with friends just created such an atmosphere where it felt like we would beat teams due to just having better vibes than them. I would recommend university esports to others. I felt it made gaming a more social-able hobby, as over 5 years of university, at two different unis, I have met a bunch of people.”

Find out more about VALORANT, the victory’s game

What is VALORANT? What does it consist of? It is one of the most wanted esports-games globally. This shooter title, developed by the giant Riot Games and released in 2020, is a 5v5 character-based tactical FPS where precise gunplay meets unique agent abilities. It also includes a lot of effects and advanced weapons to offer players a better first-person experience.

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Millions of people have tested their tactical skills on VALORANT over the past few years. According to the specialized website Tracker Network, over 16 million active users have played VALORANT so far in July worldwide.

Beyond of a video game competition

UE Masters, supported by Riot Games, is the conclusion of the UNIVERSITY Esports season, a global program with a presence in 26 countries on four continents and involving more than 100,000 students from 2,000 universities.

The main objectives of UNIVERSITY Esports are to create a sense of community among players from all over Europe, to give them the opportunity to compete in high quality international tournaments and to provide avenues for young people to develop a career within the esports world, as well as to find a place to learn and enhance their skills.

In the UK and Ireland, UNIVERSITY Esports, a project organized by NUEL (a GGTech Entertainment’s company), has celebrated its 13th Season. The winners of its Winter Split, such as Staffordshire University, have been the national representatives in the outgoing edition of UE Masters.

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The post Staffordshire University makes history in college esports appeared first on European Gaming Industry News.

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