Like everywhere else, it’s a tumultuous time in ANZ for all life, not just esports. Australia and New Zealand moved quickly to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and have been on a better trajectory than most Western countries, but this also meant shutting down more public events and activities early.
In the face of this, many esports organizations and tournaments have continued in online formats, and many sports have turned to their esports facsimiles to continue to entertain fans and deliver a product to broadcasters. The standout in this region being the Supercars touring car championships running a new All Star Eseries format.
The past month has still had its share of sponsor news, with ORDER announcing a new deal, and even competitive controversy with a match throwing scandal hitting the Rocket League Oceanic Championship. And in good news for the New Zealand scene, a peak body has received formal recognition as a sports body to help grow its local industry.
Every month The Esports Observer presents the biggest esports business news in Oceania (Australia, New Zealand), including investments, acquisitions, sponsorships, and other major news from the region.
Oceanic Rocket League Players Banned for Throwing Match
The Rocket League Oceanic Championship moved to suspend members of one team after the final match of regular season play had been “thrown.” The regional competition is managed by LetsPlay.Live, which made the decision after consulting with Rocket League‘s developer Psyonix.
Two members of Team Esper were found to have “compromised competitive integrity” after allowing FURY to win the match, which allowed it to make it through to the playoff round over Renegades.
Aiden “delusioN” Hendry and Finlay “Frenzyy” Rockach were banned for one year from LetsPlay.Live and Psyonix tournaments, and forfeited their earnings from the match. The third member of the team was found to have not participated in throwing the match.
Team Esper itself was not penalized and has been given the right to sign a new roster to compete in future matches.
“We take the competitive integrity of Rocket League esports extremely seriously,” said LetsPlay.Live in a statement. “This type of behavior is completely unacceptable and will not be taken lightly. We reserve the right to impose any additional penalties at our sole discretion.”
CouchWarriors Launch National FGC League
CouchWarriors, an Australian fighting game community organization that runs Australia’s largest annual FGC tournament, Battle Arena Melbourne (BAM), is creating a national leaderboard to further unify the Australian competitive scene.
In recent years CouchWarriors has expanded its presence from its home in Melbourne, partnering with other FGC organizations to create an improved network of tournaments and opportunities for players and sponsors around Australia. This latest initiative, CouchWarriors League (CWL), creates a national competitive ladder based on local tournaments across Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, and Brisbane.
Esports covered by the CWL will include Street Fighter V, TEKKEN 7, Super Smash Bros Ultimate, and Super Smash Bros Melee. The first season runs from January to April 2020, with points retrospectively awarded for tournaments that took place earlier in the year.
Top-ranked players will win entry to BAM12 this year, whatever format that may take, and season two of the CWL will commence after BAM12.
Professional Supercars Drivers Compete in Eseries Tournament
Australia’s touring car series, Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, has shifted into an iRacing tournament series during the coronavirus sports shutdown, with all drivers and teams taking part in an online Supercars All Stars Eseries.
Supercars has previously run Eseries-branded competitions with dedicated iRacing competition drivers, and that competition will return later in the year. The new All Star competition will see professional team drivers racing from their homes on both local and international tracks using current Holden ZB Commodore and Ford Mustang Supercars.
Supercars also announced it will run a variety of race formats, and racers will be on microphones and cameras to make the broadcasts as entertaining as possible. The Eseries will be broadcast on Australia’s Fox Sports and Kayo sports streaming services, with other local and international broadcast partners also expected.
Logitech G and ORDER Form New Partnership
Australian esports organization ORDER has announced a new peripherals partnership with Logitech G. The deal covers PC peripherals including keyboards, mice, and headsets for its teams across League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
The partnership also includes other Logitech brands, including ASTRO, Ultimate Ears, Jaybird, and Blue Microphones, as well as core Logitech product lines.
ORDER’s other sponsorship partners include Alienware, Puma and Monash University.
NZESF Recognized as National Sports Organization
New Zealand’s peak sporting body, Sport New Zealand, has formally recognized New Zealand Esports Federation (NZESF) as the National Sporting Organization for esports in the country.
The recognition will see NZESF take on a clear leadership role for the New Zealand esports sector at all levels of participation. From an educational role for schools and community groups on their participation in esports, to the development of domestic esports competitions, and to assist in the development and dissemination of guidelines for professional players and organizations around everything from travel visas to prize money for tournament organizers.
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