Dubit launches metaverse esports league, Riot Games promotes John Needham | ESI Digest #69

Each week, ESI Digest breaks down the weekly happenings in the esports industry, making sense of things so you don’t have to. As well as being housed on YouTube, ESI Digest is available on all major podcast platforms and is also available in written form below.

On this week’s ESI Digest, in partnership with Mbuzz Esports and BK ROG, we cover: Dubit launching the Metaverse Esports League and raising $8m, ESL‘s new rights deal with Huya, John Needham‘s Riot Games promotion, FaZe Clan collaborating with Draftkings, plus Panda Global unveiling a Super Smash Bros partnership with Nintendo.

Dubit raises $8m to launch first metaverse esports league

Video game studio Dubit has raised $8m (~£5.9m) in funding to launch the first esports league in the metaverse. As a result, the studio will host esports tournaments through the online game platform Roblox.

The funding, raised by Metaventures and French investor Jean-Charles Capelli, will enable Dubit to expand its presence by launching the Metaverse Gaming League (MGL). The league will initially host Roblox events before expanding into other titles such as Minecraft.

ESL signs two-year exclusive rights agreement with Huya

Image credit: ESL / Huya

Esports event organiser ESL has announced an exclusive media rights agreement with Chinese live streaming platform Huya.

The renewed agreement will span two years. Exclusive broadcast rights within the deal will include ESL’s Dota 2 and Mobile ecosystems, as well as its ESL Pro Tour for CS:GO and StarCraft II. Huya will cover tournaments in standard Mandarin and other Chinese dialects.

John Needham promoted to President of Esports at Riot Games

(ESI Illustration) Image credit: Riot Games

Game developer Riot Games announced that the former Global Head of Esports, John Needham, has been promoted to the newly created role of President, Esports. 

In his new role, Needham will lead the company’s esports division, which unifies all of Riot’s esports titles and operations. He will oversee all of Riot Games’s global esports efforts, including its esports leagues, teams and players within those leagues, and multiple high-profile esports events each year. 

FaZe Clan announces partnership with DraftKings

Image credit: FaZe Clan / Draft Kings

Esports organisation FaZe Clan has agreed a partnership with fantasy sports company DraftKings Inc., the two parties announced in a release.

The deal will see DraftKings become the ‘Official Sports Betting, iGaming, Daily Fantasy and Free-to-Play Partner’ of FaZe Clan. The two brands will cooperate on a series of content activations featuring FaZe’s content creators, and more. Additionally, a new podcast and an original series are planned that will carry DraftKings and FaZe branding.

Panda Global unveils Super Smash Bros partnership with Nintendo

Image credit: Panda Global, Nintendo

North American esports organisation Panda Global has announced a partnership with video game company Nintendo

As a result of the deal, the two parties will collaborate to operate the first licensed circuits for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Super Smash Bros. Melee in North America. The circuit is set to begin in 2022 with information on in-person and online events expected to be revealed in the coming months. Details on prizing for the circuit were not disclosed.

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ESI Digest, in partnership with Mbuzz Esports and BK ROG, is part of the ESI Podcast Network, a collection of podcasts encompassing the esports industry. For deep dives into the major areas of esports with subject matter experts, check out ESI Focus. For conversations with key personnel and major stakeholders in esports, ESI Insight is the series for you.