NACE Starleague Fall finals to take place at Boise State University

nace starleague
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.

BLAST promotes Leo Matlock to Chief Business Officer

BLAST Paris Major
Image credit: BLAST, Michal Konkol

Esports tournament organiser BLAST has promoted its Managing Director of Development, Leo Matlock, to the role of Chief Business Officer (CBO).

He moves into the position having spent the last five years at BLAST.

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Matlock first joined BLAST in September 2018 as its Head of Commercial Solutions and Strategy before becoming its Commercial Director a year later. He since worked as the company’s Managing Director of Development and Vice President of Commercial before securing his new role as CBO.

The announcement comes soon after BLAST also promoted Joe Lovelace, previously Senior Public Relations Manager, to its Head of Communications position.

In a LinkedIn post, Matlock spoke about being proud to have been awarded the position, adding that he is “particularly excited to bring together our work across commercial, business development and publisher partnerships into one new unit with a fantastic team of people and partners, who I know will further develop our already great work as industry leaders.

“Esports and gaming never sits still – and neither will we – so stay tuned.”

The personnel developments continue to highlight what is a big year for BLAST. In May, the organiser hosted Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s last-ever major, which the company also used to promote its viewership platform.

More recently, BLAST Premier, a Counter-Strike league run by BLAST, announced a partnership with esports data platform Shikenso Analytics.

BLAST is also looking ahead to 2024 having opened bids for host locations for ‘over five’ of its major tournaments, including those for BLAST Premier and Rainbow Six Siege circuit BLAST R6. As part of the announcement, the company revealed that 2023’s tournaments brought an ‘economic impact’ of more than €22m (~£19m) to its host locations while more than 60% of attendees had travelled from outside the host cities.

Lee Jones

Six Invitational 2024 to take place in São Paulo

six invitational 24
Image credit: Ubisoft

Game developer Ubisoft has confirmed that the next edition of Rainbow Six Siege’s Six Invitational will take place in Ginásio do Ibirapuera São Paulo, Brazil between February 13th and 25th, 2024.

This is the first time a Six Invitational will happen in South America, with the event once again featuring 20 participants from across the world and a $3m (~£2.45m) prize pool. BLAST will be a production partner for the event.

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Ubisoft and BLAST have announced that the 2024 tournament will take place in Brazil during its 2023 event, but the tournament’s host city and dates where not previously known. Interested fans can also order tickets for the event right away.

The Six Invitational is Rainbow Six: Siege’s largest esports tournament, acting as a world championship for the tactical FPS game. The tournament was first played back in 2017, but the current format has been in use since 2020. The Six Invitational has since grown in both prize pool and popularity, and is one of the premier esports events of the year.

Although it is a popular event in a popular game, the Six Invitational 2023 saw a major drop in viewership when compared to 2022, with around 15% less peak viewers, according to data platform Esports Charts.

The move to Brazil might be beneficial to viewership, especially since Brazilian team w7m esports is one of the first to qualify for the main event. The rest of the qualified teams should be known later this year. There is one more Major tournament remaining in the Rainbow Six competitive season, the Atlanta Major taking place in October and November in the United States.

The event’s format remains the same for 2024, with four groups of five teams seeding teams to the knockout phase of the championship. The last six teams will play in the LAN finals.

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.

World Series of Warzone 2023 Global Finals records over 300,000 viewers

Image of 2023 World Series of Warzone Global Finals stage
Image credit: Activision

The World Series of Warzone 2023 Global Finals has become Call of Duty: Warzone’s fifth most popular event after recording 308,289 peak viewers.

The season-ending event, which took place at London’s Copper Box Arena, accumulated average viewing figures of around 245,000 across the event’s five-hour air time, according to esports data platform Esports Charts.

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The most popular Call of Duty: Warzone event for peak viewership is still the Twitch Rivals x Call of Duty World Series of Warzone #1 which tops the charts with 441,145 viewers.

The first iteration of the World Series of Warzone Global Finals was won by Team Biffle from North America, securing $100,000 (~£80,749) in prize money. In addition to the team competition, all 150 players competing participated in the ‘Solo Yolo’ match, with Skullface taking home $100,000 for being the last player standing.

After launching in 2020, the 2023 World Series of Warzone Global Finals is the first event to take place on LAN. The viewing figures show promising signs for Call of Duty: Warzone as an esports spectacle. With the 2023 season concluded, Activision is yet to share details on the 2024 World Series of Warzone.

The 2023 World Series of Warzone Global Finals is the first event to take place following the conclusion of the 2023 Call of Duty League (CDL) season. The season-ending playoffs, played on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, garnered a peak viewership of 294,178, approximately 4.6% less than Warzone.

Call of Duty is no stranger to the Copper Box Arena. In 2019, the Call of Duty World League (CWL) hosted an event and in August 2023, esports and gaming company Gfinity hosted a LAN event.

London, in particular, continues to act as a hotbed for esports events in the UK. In 2023, the likes of the Apex Legends Global Series and League of Legends’ MSI have taken place in England’s capital.

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.

The Story Mob and UKIE report analyses UK esports audiences and growth

Esports in UK
Image credit: Ukie, The Story Mob

It is notoriously difficult to build a picture of what esports audiences actually look like.

Demographic trends are hard to grasp considering that esports viewers typically skew towards the millennial and Gen Z demographics, and are chronically online. The murkiness around esports demographics is especially odd considering how much the industry relies on income from data-hungry sponsors and partnerships.

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It’s this gap in industry knowledge that Karen Low, EMEA Managing Director at The Story Mob, understands well. When the opportunity came up to include demographic data from YouGov into Ukie’s latest UK esports report, her team got to work shaping a variety of questions to uncover what British esports enthusiasts really watched.

“The biggest thing we added to the partnership was our desire to work with YouGov,” she said. “While we all agreed we wanted to include insights from key industry players to the report, the numbers don’t lie. I’m a firm believer that, wherever possible, you should support  your thinking with cold, hard data.”

As well as data insights from YouGov, Ukie’s newly-released ‘Esports In the UK’ report in partnership with The Story Mob includes a mini directory of British esports businesses across fields like PR and investment. The report’s author, and Founder of Esports News UK, Dominic Sacco also included information about upcoming industry trends, like the growth of mobile esports and the construction of esports facilities across the UK

Laying the groundwork

According to The Story Mob, Ukie’s data partner YouGov, with its panel of approximately  2.7m people in the UK, provided insights from its weekly updated cloud platform Profiles. This covers demographic, psychographic, attitudinal and behavioural consumer metrics. The data was exported in July 2022.

The headline results of YouGov’s demographic polling hardly come as a shock. The majority of fans are young; over 50% are aged between 18 and 34. They are also overwhelmingly male, more so than the general gaming population: around 83% of all esports fans identify as men. Low believes the split is somewhat inevitable.

“That less women play games competitively than men is a well-known fact and one that’s not going to go away anytime soon. That said, I do think there are some great inroads being made by key industry players when it comes to rebalancing gender inequality – VALORANT Game Changers, for example, was created to give women a safe space to play games and Guild’s recent ‘No Room for Abuse’ campaign in partnership with Sky was all about raising awareness of the problem – and perhaps also acknowledging that there’s still a ton we need to solve in that regard.”

Esports player male
Image credit: Shutterstock

A few key titles feature heavily in YouGov’s data. The Call of Duty League is by far the most-watched tournament, viewed by 15.5% of UK esports fans, closely followed by the Apex Legends Global Series (ALGS) which has now hosted multiple tournaments in the UK. FIFA (soon to be EA SPORTS FC), which remains one of the top-selling games in the UK market, has also profited hugely from the UK’s national obsession with football, which is the most-watched sport among esports fans at ~46%.

Esports viewers remain a small part of the general video game audience which Low finds unsurprising. “I think it will always remain slightly niche. Esports will continue to grow, but it will always be a small element of gaming because it has a unique appeal and a very dedicated and loyal fanbase.”

The report also highlights the strength of the UK university scene. Becky Wright, Senior Partnerships Manager of UK student esports organisation NSE commented in the report: “We’ve seen more and more students want to get involved with esports, casually or more competitively, and now the UK has the largest collegiate esports community in Europe.”

Unlocking British potential

LoL MSI worlds 23 trophy
Trophy at MSI London 2023. Image credit: Colin Young-Wolff / Riot Games

Qualitative and quantitative data live side by side in Ukie’s report. The directory of esports businesses includes key players like the University of Warwick, and Low’s own The Story Mob, but also teams and tournament organisers, from EXCEL Esports to Digital Schoolhouse. The whole list is meant to introduce new professionals to options that are available to them in the UK esports scene.

That said, nothing, Low claimed, is a replacement for personal experience. “My first piece of advice [to a budding esports professional] is to go and watch an esports match. Live the experience as a fan lives it.”

The paper provides valuable insights into the potential landscape of UK esports for investors and partners during a time of vast restructuring of the industry.

The insights include a notable focus on Web 3. “I don’t think you can talk about esports and gaming without including esports and Metaverse,” said Low.  “Let’s face it, we’re an industry of early adopters – for better or for worse.” NFTs have occasionally been something of a siren’s song for some team owners, but remain a key source of sponsorship revenue for other British esports organisations like Fnatic.

There are other opportunities within the UK scene that could provide opportunities for the esports industry to grow, from converting the massive volume of mobile gamers to constructing physical venues to attract an engaged international audience to British shores.

The paper presents a dynamic, but realistic vision for the UK’s future in esports which will help Britain’s aspiring esports professionals build up a picture of the scene and its opportunities. That is, until British spectators get the next opportunity to see esports up close again…

Patrick Walker

Patrick is a freelance writer for ESI based in London, reporting on esports marketing and partnerships trends. He’s currently playing VALORANT and Overwatch but always looking for the next big thing in competitive gaming.

Supported by The Story Mob

OverActive Media launches content creator academy

OverActive Media Content Creator Academy
Image credit: OverActive Media

Esports and gaming company OverActive Media has announced a new creator-focused business venture called the Content Creator Academy.

The Academy features a roster of 20 influencers that will represent various OverActive brands such as esports organisation MAD Lions, Call of Duty League franchise Toronto Ultra and Overwatch League’s Toronto Defiant.

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Highlighted as a “meaningful audience driver” by Alyson Walker, Chief Commercial Officer at OverActive Media, the move aims to create a roster of talent that supports the company’s three brands and improve its engagement in Spain and Canada. The influencers included in the Academy’s first roster have a combined audience of around 15m fans across Twitch, YouTube, Twitter, Trovo, TikTok and other platforms, according to the company.

Out of the 20 influencers and creators, nine will be focusing on Toronto Ultra, another nine on MAD Lions, and only two creators will be creating content for the Toronto Defiant.

This goes in line with the state of the Overwatch League and the uncertainty that surrounds it. The Toronto Defiant did sign a sponsorship deal with the Overwatch League earlier this year, and Activision Blizzard agreed to waive CAD$ 10.8m (6.5m) of fees that OverActive paid throughout its time in the league.

In the announcement, Adam Adamou, Co-Founder and Interim CEO of OverActive Media, also hailed the recent Toronto Esports Strategy created by Ontario Creates and the City of Toronto. Furthermore, noted that the Creator Academy will combat the “creator brain drain” in OverActive’s global markets.

He added: “As an industry leader, this initiative, paired with our strengths in production, broadcasting and live events, reinforces our efforts to grow gaming and esports content opportunities for creators.”

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.

London Royal Ravens relocates to Carolina

Carolina Royal Ravens
Image credit: Carolina Royal Ravens

Call of Duty League franchise London Royal Ravens has rebranded following a move to North Carolina, United States.

The franchise has been renamed to the Carolina Royal Ravens. As a result of the move, there are now no Call of Duty franchises outside of North America.

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Call of Duty League did have a representative in France until late 2022, when Paris Legion moved to Las Vegas.

The London Royal Ravens were among the inaugural list of franchises that competed in the Call of Duty League when it started in 2020. Part of Infinite Reality — the parent company of esports conglomerate ReKTGlobal — the Call of Duty franchise announced British content creator Vikram ‘Vikkstar’ Singh Barn as a co-owner of the team back in 2020.

Carolina Royal Ravens’ decision comes before the start of the 2024 Call of Duty League season, which is likely to commence sometime at the end of the year. Exact details surrounding the season have yet to be revealed.

There were worries surrounding the future of Call of Duty League, given that Activision Blizzard has offered a payout to Overwatch League franchises to exit the league. However, Royal Ravens’ relocation and other moves by CoD franchises seem to indicate the esport will continue with its franchised model.

The organisation made the following statement on social media: “We’re thrilled to announce we’re taking our royal wings to the Queen City, Charlotte, [North Carolina].

“We want to thank all of our London fans. From hosting the very first CDL Major for you in 2020 to this very moment, your passion for our team and the games we’ve played are unrivalled. We will always be grateful for the four years we spent flying the flag for the UK and the support you gave us.”

Carolina Royal Ravens isn’t the only franchise to rebrand its slot. Whilst remaining in Florida, Misfits has announced a collaboration with Team Heretics that sees its Call of Duty League team be renamed to Miami Heretics.

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.

How has Gamers8 2023 performed with viewers?

2023 Riyadh Masters champions
Image credit: Gamers8

Saudi Arabia-backed esports festival Gamers8 has featured countless international tournaments since it commenced in July, including leading games like CS:GO, Dota 2, PUBG and Rocket League. However, viewership performance has varied greatly across esports titles.

The second edition of Gamers8’s festival, called ‘Land of Heroes’, is taking place from July 6th – August 27th in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh. Notably, the festival offers the biggest prize pool in the history of esports at $45m (~£33.74m).

Gamers8 and Saudi Arabia’s wider increasing investment in esports is, however, the subject of criticism due to the government’s human rights record, including on LGBTQ+ matters. Gamers8 is organised by the state-run Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronic and Intellectual Sports, which is chaired by Saudi Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan.

With Gamers8 2023 over, Esports Insider takes a look at the event’s viewership performance.

All viewership statistics have been sourced from viewership data analytics platform Esports Charts.

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Gamers8 2023 Fortnite

Gamers8 2023 kicked off with one of its most popular competitions. Across four days, 44 Fortnite duos battled for a total prize pool of $2m (~£1.57m). Gamers8 2023 Fortnite was organised by ESL Gaming and the Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronic and Intellectual Sports (SAFFEIS).

Just over 105,000 peak viewers tuned into Gamers8’s 2023 Fortnite competition. Although the tournament has the highest Fortnite prize pool in 2023 thus far, it only places 10th in terms of peak viewership this year for Fortnite events. In comparison, the Fortnite event with the highest peak viewership this year was the Rubius MadCup, with over 327,000 peak viewers, organised by notable Spanish streamer Rubius.

Gamers8 Tekken 7

Gamers8’s Tekken 7 tournament also took place from July 6th-9th. In total, 16 national teams competed for its $1m (~£785,000) total prize pool. Organised by the same entities, the Tekken 7 series attracted less than half the peak viewers of the Fortnite event, with around 44,000 peak viewers. Moreover, it could not compete with fighting game tournament EVO 2023, where a Tekken 7 event saw 241,000 peak viewers.

Within the fighting game niche, its peak viewership figure made Gamers8 Tekken 7 the fifth most-popular Tekken tournament of the year.

PUBG Mobile World Invitational 2023

For the PUBG Mobile World Invitational 2023, Gamers8 collaborated with PUBG Mobile developer KRAFTON and its publisher, Level Infinite. With a total prize pool of $3m (~£2.36), the invitational saw 18 teams, including FaZe Clan and Team Falcons, participate from July 11th-16th.

The PMWI 2023 is currently the second-most popular Gamers8 2023 event in terms of peak viewers (517,000) and the second-most viewed in terms of watch hours (9.65m). Similarly, it is the third-most watched PUBG Mobile competition of the year, behind the PUBG Mobile Global Championship 2023 and the 32nd SEA Games.

Gamers8 2023 Rainbow Six Siege

The $2m (~£1.57m) Gamers8 2023 Rainbow Six Siege tournament was organised by ESL and SAFFEIS. Eight teams, including G2 Esports and Ninjas in Pyjamas, were invited to compete from July 13th-16th.

The event performed moderately in terms of viewership both within the Gamers8 and the Rainbow Six Siege calendar. Among all 2023 R6 competitions, Gamers8 2023 R6 has the fifth-highest peak viewership with 33,900. However, this is significantly lower the leading event, Six Invitational 2023, attracted 232,000 peak viewers.

FIFAe Finals 2023

The FIFAe Finals 2023, organised by FIFA and EA and hosted by Gamers8, consisted of three tournaments: the FIFAe Club World Cup 2023, the FIFAe Nations Cup 2023, and the FIFAe World Cup 2023. Each featured a prize pool of $1m (~£785,000).

While viewership data on the Nations Cup is currently unavailable on Esports Charts, the two remaining FIFA events garnered respectable viewership numbers compared to other FIFA competitions in 2023. Of the three, the FIFAe World Cup attracted the most fans, with 55,100 peak viewers, making it the second-most watched FIFA competition of the year.

Riyadh Masters 2023

The Riyadh Master 2023 from July 19th-20th, a Dota 2 event organised by the Saudi Esports Federation, was one of the largest tournaments of the Gamers8 festival. It featured a total prize pool of $15m (~£11.8m) and 12 notable teams in the Dota 2 scene, including OG and Team Liquid.

With almost 588,000 peak viewers, the Riyadh Masters 2023 saw the highest peak viewership of all Dota 2 competitions in 2023 so far. In terms of hours watched, it takes second place after The Lima Major 2023. However, it should be noted that Dota 2’s biggest tournament of the year, The International 2023, is yet to take place.

Gamers8 2023 Rennsport

The young sim racing title Rennsport received a $1m (~£785,000) tournament at Gamers8. Racing league ESL R1’s 12 partnered teams, which include FURIA Esports and MOUZ, participated in the event from July 27th-30th. Gamers8 Rennsport was sponsored by the Saudi Arabian Oil Group.

Despite low popularity compared to some of the larger esports franchises featured at Gamers8, the sim racing tournament was popular in its niche. With 14,000 peak viewers, it was the most-watched Rennsport event of all time.

Gamers8 Starcraft 2
Image credit: Gamers8

Gamers8 2023 StarCraft 2

Gamers8 StarCraft 2 was a multi-stage event taking place between August 3rd-6th organised by ESL and SAFFEIS. A total of 16 players competed across the SC2 Groupstage, SC2 Playoffs, SC: Remastered Legends and SC2 Legends for a combined prize pool of $500,000 (~£392,000).

The SC2 Playoffs attracted the most fans, reaching 54,300 peak viewers. SC2 Playoffs and SC2 Legends rank second and third in terms of viewership among 2023 SC2 tournaments, respectively, below only IEM Katowice 2023, with 73,200 peak viewers.

Gamers8 2023 Street Fighter 6

Coming hot off the heels of the highly anticipated release of the title among the fighting game community, ESL and SAFFEIS organised a $1m (~£785,000) tournament for Street Fighter 6. The event saw 32 players participate in Gamers8 2023 Street Fighter 6 from August 10th-13th.

Despite its relatively large prize pool compared to other Street Fighter tournaments, more established competitions from the franchise outshined the Gamers8 event. For instance, with 105,000 peak viewers, Gamers8 2023 Street Fighter 6 garnered significantly fewer viewers than EVO 2023 Street Fighter 6 (442,000).

PUBG Global Series 2023 Phase 2

Gamers8’s PUBG event was organised in collaboration with PUBG Collaboration as part of the PUBG Global Series 2023. From August 10th-20th, 24 of the best PUBG teams, including Gen.G and NAVI, competed for a prize pool of $2m (~£1.57m).

With 163,400 peak viewers tuning in for a total of 4.23m watch hours, the PUBG Global Series 2023 Phase 2 is now the most-watched PUBG tournament of the year and the fifth-most popular in the history of the esport.

Gamers8 2023 CS:GO

Featuring a $1m (~£785,000) prize pool, Gamers8 2023 CS:GO ran from August 16th-20th. Organisers ESL and Saudi Esports Federation invited 16 of the top CS:GO teams, such as the likes of ENCE and Team Vitality.

It is likely to be one of the last CS:GO competitions before the eventual release of Counter-Strike 2. Gamers8 CS:GO attracted only 429,000 peak viewers, which ranks eighth compared to all 2023 CS:GO tournaments so far. This is far less than Paris Major 2023’s peak viewership of 1.53m, however, this was a Major-tiered event. The most popular non-Major CS:GO tournament was IEM Cologne 2023 (727,400 peak viewers).

Gamers8 2023 Rocket League

The final major esports event of Gamers8 was its $2m (~£1.6m) Rocket League tournament. Running from August 24th – 27th, the event recorded disappointing viewership figures given the title’s huge prize pool. In 2023, it is the 14th highest peak-viewed event (83,819) recording lower viewership than some 2022/23 RLCS Regional events.

The tournament was ultimately won by North American esports organisation Version1, with the highest-viewed match-up taking place in the group stage (FaZe Clan vs Karmine Corp). Gamers8 Rocket League also recorded 1.2m hours watched, the lowest of the game’s 2023 international esports events.

Gamers8 2023 as a whole

Ultimately, Gamers8 2023 concludes with millions of total hours watched, having featured a diverse range of esports titles. However, some of these titles have failed to attract similar audiences compared to its other international events.

Despite criticisms towards the influence of Saudi Arabia in esports, the country continues to increase its stake in the industry. This includes Gamers8 securing several notable partnerships for its 2023 festival, such as PepsiCo, Razer, adidas and Aramco, among others.

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.

This article was originally published on August 23rd. Updated: September 5th.

Call of Duty Mobile World Championship to take place at DreamHack Atlanta

cod mobile world championship
Image credit: ESL FACEIT Group 0/ Activision

Esports tournament organiser ESL, part of the ESL FACEIT Group, has announced that the upcoming World Championship in Call of Duty Mobile will take place during DreamHack Atlanta.

The event will be held at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta between December 15th and 17th and features 16 teams competing for its $1m (~£791,000) prize pool.

ESI London 2023

The event will occupy a major esports segment of DreamHack Atlanta, together with the ESL Challenger CS:GO tournament, fighting games tournaments and the ESL StarCraft 2 Masters tournament.

The addition of Call of Duty Mobile was first announced in April 2023 as a part of a larger deal between CoD’s developer Activision and the ESL FACEIT Group. The mobile version of Call of Duty has occupied all levels of the Snapdragon Pro Series, EFG’s mobile esports competitive circuit which includes the likes of Clash Royale, MLBB, Brawl Stars and Asphalt 9, among others.

The Snapdragon Pro Series consists of several events throughout the world, with CoD Mobile being featured in all competitive regions. In addition, CoD Mobile is a part of the Series’ Masters Tier, allowing the best players to qualify for Snapdragon Pro Series Mobile Masters event in early 2024.

This will be the second year in a row that the World Championship takes place in North America. Esports organisation Tribe Gaming is the reigning champion, having won last year’s event that took place in Raleigh, NC.

The competitive circuit for CoD Mobile underwent changes for 2023, due to the mentioned partnership between the EFG and Activision. The prize pool for the main event is also slightly lower than last year ($1m compared to $1.7m), but that is offset by other activations, rewards and smaller competitions during the year.

Jeff Gullett, Head of Call of Duty: Mobile, Activision, commented: “Live tournaments are the cornerstone of esports, and we’re looking forward to bringing the Call of Duty: Mobile World Championship to fans live at DreamHack Atlanta.

“This is a critical moment for some of the world’s best squads, and we’re excited to be able to showcase the peak of mobile competition to a diverse audience of diehard mobile fans and casual festival attendees.”

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.