BLAST partners with CTRL and Eureka Ergonomic for R6 Atlanta Major 2023

R6 Atlanta 2023 CTRL Eureka Ergonomic partnership graphic
Image credit: BLAST

Esports tournament organiser BLAST has partnered with food and beverage brand CTRL as well as furniture company Eureka Ergonomic for the upcoming Rainbow Six Siege (R6) Atlanta Major 2023.

CTRL and Eureka Ergonomic will be featured in the tournament’s branding and activations, both physically and digitally, as a result of the partnerships.

In addition, CTRL will run an activation booth in the tournament’s arena. Eureka Gaming will provide the competing players with gaming chairs.

The R6 Atlanta Major 2023 is the last Major of the game’s 2023 competitive calendar. Taking place from October 31st through November 12th, it will see 24 of the best R6 teams from nine regions compete for a total prize pool of $750,000 (~£618,000). Teams will also be able to earn points required to qualify for the Six Invitational 2024 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

CTRL is a food and beverage company specialising in meal replacements. The company has worked with several esports organisations in the past, including Luminosity Gaming and Horizon Union.

During the Atlanta Major 2023, CTRL hopes to increase awareness of its new protein cookies among the R6 community. CTRL was launched by Team Envy founder Skyler Johnson and received investment from FaZe in 2020.

US-based furniture company Eureka Gaming produces gaming chairs and desks with a focus on healthy sitting.

BLAST organisers tournaments in various esports scenes, broadening from its initial remit in Counter-Strike to also now include R6, Fortnite and others. The organisation recently secured €12.7m (~£11.1m) in funding to support its global expansion plans.

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BLAST previously held an R6 Major in May this year, the BLAST R6 Major Copenhagen 2023, which became the reached 118,000 peak viewers per Esports Charts data. The company also partnered with tournament platform Challengermode for its R6 Majors.

Alexander Lewin, VP of Distribution and Programming at BLAST, commented on the partnerships with CTRL and Eureka Ergonomic: “We are delighted to bring on two reputable brands ahead of the last BLAST R6 esports arena event of 2023.

“We look forward to creating digital and physical activations for both brands to help integrate them into the event in a way that will bring fun and value for the Rainbow Six Siege esports community.”

Lea Maas

Lea is a business student with too many passions and too little time. In addition to missing her shots in Valorant, she spends her free time advocating for mental health awareness and fostering inclusive esports communities.

Halo World Championship 2023 becomes title’s second most-watched event

Image of FaZe Clan Halo team holding Halo World Championship trophy
Image credit: Halo

The Halo World Championship 2023 became the second most-watched Halo event in Halo Championship Series (HCS) history.

The season-ending tournament saw 16 teams compete for a share of its $1m (~£822,325) prize pool.

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According to esports data platform Esports Charts, the event accumulated peak viewing figures of 159,787 and averaged viewership figures of 74,468 across its 28-hour air time.

Halo’s most popular event, based on peak viewership, remains the HCS Kickoff Major Raleigh tournament which took place in 2021. The tournament continues to top the charts with a total of 267,279 peak viewers and 4.2m hours watched.

This year’s event was won by North American esports organisation FaZe Clan, which secured $400,000 (~£328,810) after defeating OpTic Gaming in the Grand Final. This year, all of the HCS LAN events have taken place in the United States of America. In June 2023, the HCS ran an invitational event at DreamHack Dallas alongside Counter-Strike, Rocket League and Fortnite.

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In comparison to the 2022 Halo World Championship, 2023 has shown encouraging signs of growth for Halo esports. Peak viewership increased by approximately 11.2% while its average viewers have risen by 33.5%.

Following the conclusion of the 2023 event, the HCS confirmed the Halo esports circuit will be returning in 2024. Details on the prize pool, partnered teams, and event locations have yet to be revealed.

The year-on-year growth of Halo is positive news for the partnered teams involved and fans of the arena shooter. With more eyes on the esports spectacle, it will be interesting to see if any other organisations qualify for its partner team programme.

Jonno Nicholson

Jonno is a Freelance News Writer for Esports Insider and has been part of the ESI team since 2019! His interests include the rapid rise of sim racing and its impact on the wider industry.

Microsoft completes acquisition of Activision Blizzard

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(ESI Illustration) Logo credit: Activision Blizzard / Microsoft

Tech giant Microsoft has completed its acquisition of game developer and publisher Activision Blizzard after a year and a half of tumultuous negotiations with competition regulators around the world.

Microsoft’s $68.7bn (~£50.5bn) acquisition, which was first announced in January 2022, is the largest gaming acquisition ever and sets up Microsoft as a leading player in the gaming and esports industries.

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The merger saw intense scrutiny from regulators around the world, who focused on the potential harm to competition if Microsoft, which already owns Xbox, also owned one of the world’s largest game conglomerates.

Regulators argued the merger could damage competition in the console space because Microsoft could make Activision Blizzard’s highly popular franchise exclusive to its Xbox console. Investigations also focused on whether the deal would set Microsoft up for domination of the emergent cloud gaming market.

The deal hit its first obstacle in late 2022 when the US’ Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a lawsuit to block the deal. Over the subsequent year, it would seek a restraining order and preliminary injunction to prevent the merger from happening, both of which US courts rejected, paving the way for the FTC to renege in July and allow the deal to pass.

The UK was another significant hurdle for Microsoft, where the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) rejected the merger in a shock April 2023 decision.

Over the course of 19 months, Microsoft offered regulators a number of concessions to make its case that competition wouldn’t be damaged, including long-term deals with rivals like Nintendo, Sony and Ubisoft. The CMA eventually approved the merger on October 13th, paving the way for the merger to officially go through later the same day.

Activision Blizzard stock has ceased trading on the NASDAQ stock exchange following the merger.

Activision Blizzard owns several esports titles including Call of Duty, Overwatch and Hearthstone as well as other major game franchises such as World of Warcraft, Diablo and mobile games such as Candy Crush through its subsidiary King.

“Today is a good day to play,” Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft’s gaming division Xbox, said in a company blog post. “I’ve long admired the work of Activision, Blizzard, and King, and the impact they’ve had on gaming, entertainment, and pop culture.”

The consummation of the merger comes amid uncertainty surrounding the future of Activision Blizzard’s franchised esports leagues. Overwatch League teams are soon set to vote on the future of the league following years of declining viewership and discontent amongst franchise owners over high operating costs and continually missed promises on revenue.

Microsoft’s acquisition announcement in January 2022 notably came during a period of turbulence rocking Activision Blizzard, after the game developer was embroiled in sexual harassment lawsuits, allegations of a toxic and sexist workplace culture and union-busting concerns.

Jake Nordland

Jake is Esports Insider’s Features and Trending News Editor. Part of the ESI team since early 2021, he’s interested in politics, education and sustainability in esports.

NACE Starleague Fall finals to take place at Boise State University

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Image credit: NACE Starleague / Boise State University

Collegiate esports company PlayFly Esports has announced that the NACE Starleague Fall 2023 grand finals will take place at Boise State University in Boise, Idaho.

The Fall finals will be played between December 2nd and 3rd and features 14 varsity esports teams from the United States and Canada. The finals will host matches in Call of Duty, CS2, Overwatch 2, Rainbow Six: Siege, Rocket League and Super Smash Bros.

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The NACE Starleague is the largest collegiate esports league in the United States, featuring around 800 colleges and universities across the two countries. The Starleague is organised by esports company Playfly Esports and the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE), the largest college esports association in North America. The final of the 2023 Spring season took place at Butler University.

According to the organisers of the Starleague, the current season is the most successful one to date, with almost 800 colleges and universities participating in competitions. This is an increase of around 50% when compared to the Spring season of the league. Around 20,000 students participated in the season, with the competitions still happening to decide the playoff teams.

The Boise State University will host the event in its dedicated esports arena, a space created for competition, practice, and gatherings of esports fans and players. The university itself has a strong esports section, boasting several conference titles in various esports titles.

Michael Jones, NACE Director of Operations, commented: “After a successful event at Butler University in the spring we are thrilled to once again bring our Grand Finals to a NACE member school in Boise State.

“These events provide unique opportunities for the host school to showcase their competition and broadcasting facilities and the tremendous work being done by their students and staff.”

Ivan Šimić

Ivan comes from Croatia, loves weird simulator games, and is terrible at playing anything else. Spent 5 years writing about tech and esports in Croatia, and is now doing it here.

Oakley partners with Complexity Warzone streamer Repullze

Repullze Oakley
Image credit: Oakley

North American eyewear and apparel company Oakley has announced a partnership with Call of Duty: Warzone streamer and Complexity content creator Hector ‘Repullze’ Torres.

Torres will become a brand ambassador for Oakley, and use the brand’s Prizm Gaming glasses during streams, activations and other gaming activities. The duration of the partnership was not announced.

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Oakley has been a noted supporter of gaming and esports brands for a few years and has worked with notable streamers, content creators, esports organisations, events and players in the past. The company is a partner of the industry awards show Esports Awards, as well as high-profile streamers including G2 Yuli and OpTic SCUMP.

Torres is a Call of Duty Warzone streamer, content creator and competitor, with more than 260,000 Twitch followers. Repullze has grown from a relatively unknown name in the space to being a notable Warzone personality. Torres is currently a content creator for North American esports organisation Complexity Gaming.

Felipe Formiga, Head of Esports and Gaming Global Partnerships at Oakley, commented: “At Oakley, we are passionate about powering the field of play in esports and empowering everyone to Be Who You Are. Because of that, we continue to increase our commitment to the Gaming community and we are thrilled to welcome Hector ‘Repullze’ Torres to the Oakley family.”

The partnership between Torres and Oakley will be based on the new Oakley Prizm Gaming lenses which are angled towards gamers and esports players, promising better contrast and a reduction in eye strain.

It should be noted that the partnership is based on the lenses, which means that Torres may be able to wear them in different frames from Oakley.

Ivan Šimić

Ivan comes from Croatia, loves weird simulator games, and is terrible at playing anything else. Spent 5 years writing about tech and esports in Croatia, and is now doing it here.