Miami Heretics and GAMERGY to host Call of Duty League Major II

Gamergy and Miami Heretics x Call of Duty League Major II key art
Image Credit: GGTech Entertainment

Call of Duty League franchise Miami Heretics will host the 2024 Call of Duty League Major II alongside esports and gaming festival GAMERGY.

The tournament’s grand final will take place on March 24th 2024 at GAMERGY’s ‘main stadium’ in Miami, Florida.

GAMERGY’s first edition in the US will run from March 21st to 24th, featuring a 118,000 sq ft exhibition area and a main stadium that features esports competition. Further details on the festivals location where not given.

Organised by GGtech Entertainment and MECENAS Media, GAMERGY Miami looks to offer a variety of content, including university esports, competition areas for amateur and professional players, as well as spaces for meeting influencers and musical performances.

GAMERGY is an esports gaming event series hosted by event organiser IFEMA Madrid in collaboration with esports company GGTech Entertainment. Since its establishment in 2021, GAMERGY has delivered over 20 esports and gaming festival-like events in countries such as Spain, Argentina and Mexico.

In June, GGTech Entertainment secured $12.4m (~£9.93m) in investment to support its entry into North America. Prior to the investment, the company had also acquired UK-based university esports organisation NUEL.

Team Heretics is a Spanish esports organisation founded in 2016. The company currently has rosters in League of Legends, VALORANT, and Call of Duty. Its Call of Duty League franchise, formerly Florida Mutineers, rebranded into Miami Heretics as Team Heretics became an equity partner of the team in August.

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The Call of Duty League Major II will be the second tournament of the game’s 2024 competitive season. Its predecessor will take place in January and will be hosted by Oxygen Esports’ Call of Duty League franchise Boston Breach.

Antonio Catena, president of Heretics Holding, commented on the upcoming Call of Duty League Major II: “Our entry into the Call of Duty League and to give back to our fans the competition in a game that is part of the club’s history was a dream come true.

“We have come to the league to contribute everything we can and organizing this Major in Miami, the city we represent, hand in hand with a strategic partner such as GGTech will give a leap in quality to everything we have done so far”

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.

Online tournament organiser GameBattles to shut down in 2024

(ESI Illustration) Image credit: Gamebattles

Online tournament website GameBattles has announced it will close its platform on January 15th, 2024.

Founded in 2003 and then later acquired by MLG (Major League Gaming) in 2006, GameBattles is a company that has been deeply integrated into the Call of Duty community for years.

GameBattles hosted ladders, leagues, and tournaments which catered to players of all levels. It was often seen as a more competitive style of matchmaking compared to Call of Duty’s in-game offering.

Alongside its community involvement, the company was responsible for establishing a tier two circuit in Call of Duty and running tournaments in multiple titles for Activision Blizzard, including Overwatch and Call of Duty: Mobile.

In 2016, MLG was acquired by Activision Blizzard, the publisher of Call of Duty, for an estimated $46m (~£37m).

The closure of GameBattles follows a period of change at Activision Blizzard following its acquisition by Microsoft last month. Additionally, Activision Blizzard’s Overwatch League is also officially over after teams voted to exit the competition last week.

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The announcement of GamesBattle’s closure also signals the end of MLG’s last active branch. Chris Evans, an Operations Supervisor at GameBattles, stated on X (formerly Twitter): “Our team learned yesterday that Activision Blizzard has decided to shut down GameBattles, the last remaining branch of MLG, by mid-January. The entire team at GameBattles has been notified that we’re all being let go as part of the closure.”

“This didn’t have to happen. There’s so much untapped potential with MLG, GameBattles and the future of Esports. I hope one day both MLG & GB get the attention and internal support they deserve.”

Under GameBattles’ announcement, many notable personalities and stakeholders within the Call of Duty scene have publicly reacted to the news. This includes former COD World Champions Tyler ‘TeeP’ Polchow and Austin ‘SlasheR’ Liddicoat, esports host and former MLG VP of Programming Chris Puckett, and former MLG senior member Adam Apicella.

It is currently unknown what Activision Blizzard plans are for the future of MLG and GameBattles.

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MNM Gaming Rainbow Six roster departs organisation following lack of payments

MnM Gaming
(ESI Illustration) Image credit: MnM Gaming

The Rainbow Six Siege esports roster of MNM Gaming has publicly claimed that the British esports organisation has failed to meet its contractual obligations.

The statement, shared on social media by the roster’s support staff and players, alleges that MNM Gaming owes over £200,000. This figure includes money owed to the individuals mentioned as well as other unidentified ex-players and staff.

Esports Insider has reached out to MNM Gaming for comment. This article will be updated if a comment is received.

The Rainbow Six Siege roster, which competed at this year’s BLAST R6 Major Copenhagen, has decided to stop representing MNM Gaming and will be looking for a new organisation.

An excerpt of the statement reads: “MNM Gaming owes current players and support staff, as well as ex-player and former staff members, a staggering total of over £200,000. What is most disheartening is the multiple promises that have been broken by MNM Gaming.

“We’ve been repeatedly assured of payments that never materialised, and deadlines set by the organisation have constantly gone unmet. This continuous cycle of unfulfilled commitments has strained our trust but has also taken a toll on our financial and mental well-being over the last several months.”

The statement also alleges that MNM Gaming was utilising the roster’s prize pool money to partially cover salaries.

Founded in 2014, MNM Gaming is a longstanding organisation within the UK esports scene. One of MNM Gaming’s co-Founders, Daniel ‘Javelin’ Chung, is the current Chair of the UK Esports Team Committee (UKETC).

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In 2022 the organisation departed the NLC, one of League of Legends’ European Regional Leagues, leaving MNM Gaming with just its Rainbow Six Siege roster.

With the departure of its roster, MNM Gaming will have no active esports divisions, according to its website. Moreover, the organisation’s X account has been inactive since September 26th.

MNM Gaming’s CEO, Kalvin ‘KalKal’ Chung, was present at ESI London, Esports Insider’s esports business conference, as a panellist.

Tom Daniels

Tom has been part of Esports Insider’s team since October 2020 and is currently the platform’s Editor. When not playing Football Manager, he enjoys reporting on the mobile esports scene as well as the betting sector.

BLAST R6 Major Atlanta 2023 records viewership drop

BLAST R6 Atlanta Major
Image credit: Ubisoft, BLAST

BLAST R6 Major Atlanta 2023 has become Rainbow Six’s least popular offline Major after recording a peak viewership of just under 80,000.

The final Major of 2023, which took place in the Gas South Arena in Atlanta, attracted an average viewership of 44,539 across 103 hours of air time, according to Esports Charts.

The most popular Rainbow Six Siege Major for peak viewership remains Six Major Raleigh 2019 (268,650). Last year’s second Major, which also took place in November, recorded a much higher peak viewership of 121,836, but a similar average viewers of 45,189.

2023 is the first full year that tournament organiser BLAST has run Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six Siege esports scene following a multi-year deal between both parties. The competition’s ecosystem, and subsequent Majors, have previously been organised by ESL and FACEIT. The biggest change from BLAST’s R6 ecosystem has been its Major formatting, which includes the removal of a Round Robin group stage in favour of a Play-In and a Swiss Format Playoffs.

BLAST’s first Rainbow Six Siege Major, BLAST R6 Major Copenhagen 2023, took place earlier this year and secured a peak viewership of 118,877.

BLAST R6 Major Atlanta 2023 was won by the Brazilian organisation W7M esports, taking down LOS in the Grand Final and securing a large chunk of the event’s $750,000 (~£615,000) prize pool. However, the runners-up did win in one category as LOS recorded around 35,000 more hours watched than W7M, meaning that LOS had the most viewers watching its games throughout the tournament. LOS was the most popular esports organisation at the event when it came to hours watched.

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The majority of the event’s viewership came from Twitch with a peak viewership of 66,271 whilst a smaller portion of fans preferred to use YouTube (15,530 peak).

Despite the two finalists being Brazilian organisations, Portuguese-language platforms did not perform the highest in terms of viewership. Portuguese-language platforms garnered a peak viewers of 23,999 whereas English-language platforms recorded 47,501 peak viewers..

During the event, Ubisoft unveiled a new operation for Rainbow Six Siege, Operation: Deep Freeze. The reveal is listed as the event’s third most popular segment by peak viewers (68,955), with the Grand Final being the most popular at 79,867.

BLAST R6 Major Atlanta 2023 saw a drop off in peak viewership that hasn’t been seen in Rainbow Six Siege since the regional online Majors of the COVID-19 era. However, despite this decrease, the competition’s average viewership is in line with last year’s event.

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Ubisoft strikes multi-year data partnership with GRID for Rainbow Six esports

Ubisoft and GRID partnership
Image credit: GRID Esports

Game developer Ubisoft has announced a multi-year esports partnership with game data platform GRID for Rainbow Six (R6).

As a result of the deal, GRID Esports will oversee the distribution of all official BLAST R6 data assets, starting with the ongoing BLAST R6 Major Atlanta.

The data, which will be made available on the GRID Data Platform, will cover Rainbow Six’s major international and regional tournaments, including BLAST Majors and Six Invitationals.

Some of the data assets available to GRID as a result of the collaboration include granular, real-time, in-game statistics of the events’ pro players, teams and matchups. According to a release, both GRID and Ubisoft will collaborate to ‘unlock data-driven opportunities’ within the Rainbow Six Esports ecosystem. This includes enhancing engagement, bolstering broadcasts, advancing player coaching and monitoring competition integrity.

GRID and Ubisoft have also collaborated to establish the data infrastructure and APIs required to source data from the esports game servers.

Since its creation in 2018 GRID has partnered with a range of tournament organisers and game publishers to deliver data-led solutions through its platform.

Notably, the company is also a partner of Riot Games, where both parties jointly launched the VALORANT Data Portal. The company’s other partners include bookmaker Pinnacle, KRAFTON and U.S. Integrity.

Francois Tallec, Vice President of Brand and Transmedia Partnerships at Ubisoft, commented: “At Ubisoft, we recognise the need to innovate in the fast-paced space that esports is and to keep our community constantly engaged.

“Our partnership with GRID and the shared understanding of our esports data’s potential promises to unlock exciting opportunities to engage fans and innovate across the board.”

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The end of 2022 saw Rainbow Six Siege esports undergo significant developments to its ecosystem, headlined by the fact that tournament organiser BLAST would be working with Ubisoft on its events.

The BLAST R6 Major Atlanta is the final Major of Rainbow Six’s 2023 season, with the next international event being the Six Invitational 2024 in São Paulo, Brazil.

Moritz Maurer, CEO and Founder of GRID Esports, also discussed the partnership: “The legacy of Rainbow Six Siege is a great foundation to build upon and we are excited to make esports game data part of this incredible ecosystem.

“Partnering with Ubisoft we are looking forward to leveraging together the GRID Data Platform for the purpose of building an Esports data ecosystem and fueling growth of the Rainbow Six Esports scene.”

Tom Daniels

Tom has been part of Esports Insider’s team since October 2020 and is currently the platform’s Editor. When not playing Football Manager, he enjoys reporting on the mobile esports scene as well as the betting sector.

Boston Breach to host Call of Duty League 2024 Major 1

Image credit: Oxygen Esports

New England-based esports organisation Oxygen Esports has announced that its Call of Duty League franchise Boston Breach will be the host of the first Major tournament in the 2024 season.

The tournament will take place at the MGM Music Hall at Fenway in Boston, MA, between January 24th and 28th, 2024.

This will be the second time that the Boston Breach is hosting a CoD League Major tournament in two years, after hosting the second Major of the 2023 season. The organisation has partnered with well-known events company Live Nation to organise the upcoming tournament. Moreover, Oxygen Esports noted that it expects around 15,000 guests to visit the first large LAN tournament of the 2024 CDL season over the course of the weekend.

Along with the Call of Duty League Major 1, Boston Breach will also host the Call of Duty Challengers tournament. The tournament will see 96 teams from across the world compete for a $75,000 (~£60,500) prize.

It’s important to note that the Challengers tournament will take place at the Citizen’s House of Blues Boston, not at the MGM Music Hall.

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Boston Breach is owned by Oxygen Esports, an esports company that also owns Boston Uprising in the Overwatch League. The organisation also operates its own rosters in VALORANT, Rocket League and Rainbow Six.

The company merged with Boston Uprising in 2021 and claimed the Call of Duty League slot left vacant after OpTic Gaming and Envy Gaming merged. The team’s biggest success to date was third place at the CoD League 2022 Stage 2 Major.

Oxygen Esports President and Co-Founder, Murph Vandervelde, commented on the news: “Oxygen Esports and the Boston Breach have established Boston as a destination for esports and this tournament fortifies our position in this ever-growing industry.

“Being the largest esports event that has ever been hosted in Boston, diehard fans and those curious about the world of professional esports can expect a weekend full of excitement and unique experiences.”

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.

KOI and Infinite Reality announce split, ReKTGlobal to retain LEC franchise slot

KOI and Infinite Reality
(ESI Illustration) Image credit: KOI, Infinite Reality

Metaverse company Infinite Reality and Spanish esports organisation KOI have announced that their strategic partnership will end.

As a result of the split, KOI will retain ownership of its VALORANT Champions Tour EMEA League team, FIFAe division and League of Legends LVP Superliga team.

On the other side, ReKTGlobal, Infinite Reality’s esports organisation and owners of the Rogue brand, will keep its franchises in the Call of Duty League and LEC, as well as retain its Rocket League and Rainbow Six divisions. It has not been disclosed what name or brand these divisions will compete under, whether that’s ReKTGlobal, Rogue or another moniker.

The strategic partnership between Rogue and KOI, which saw KOI enter the LEC, was only active for one year. According to a release by Infinite Reality, the reason KOI opted to dissolve the partnership was due to its goals being unachievable in the current financial climate.

Despite placing in the middle of the standings throughout the 2023 LEC season, KOI was a relatively popular organisation in the league. Throughout LEC’s Winter, Spring and Summer splits the organisation — founded by Kosmos and Spanish streamer Ibai Llanos — was regularly featured in the top five most popular match-ups. This included having the most popular match in the LEC Summer Split, which garnered 343,576 peak viewers between KOI and Mad Lions.

The Esport Journal Edition 13 launch

KOI Co-Founder, Ibai Llanos, said: “It has been my dream to bring KOI to the LEC but now it is time to reset the focus for the organisation and to continue the exciting journey together with our fans.”

In 2024, League of Legends’ esports landscape in Europe and North America will look very different as multiple new franchises enter the LEC and LCS. Alongside KOI leaving the LEC, Astralis will depart the league with popular French organisation Karmine Corp taking its place. Moreover, the LCS will welcome Shopify Rebellion to the North American franchised league after acquiring TSM’s slot.

In July 2022, Infinite Reality acquired Rogue and Carolina Royal Ravens’ parent company ReKTGlobal for $470m (~£360m).

Tom Daniels

Tom has been part of Esports Insider’s team since October 2020 and is currently the platform’s Editor. When not playing Football Manager, he enjoys reporting on the mobile esports scene as well as the betting sector.