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Ninja leaves Twitch for rival streaming platform Mixer, Epic Games announces the next move for Fortnite esports, and more legal trouble brews around esports organization Echo Fox.
Missed any of the biggest esports business news last week? The TEO Monday Morning Briefing recaps the top headlines from the last seven days!
Top Twitch Influencer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins has partnered with Microsoft’s live streaming service Mixer, and will now exclusively stream using the service, ending his reign as one of Twitch’s most-watched personalities. Ninja’s debut Mixer stream took place between Friday-Sunday, broadcasting live from Lollapalooza 2019 at the “Ninja’s Dojo” inside the Red Bull Outpost.
While with Twitch, Blevins had more than 14M followers, and during his prime in the spring of 2018, his subscription total reached upwards of 285K paid subscribers. In contrast, there wasn’t a single broadcaster on Microsoft’s streaming platform Mixer that had more than 1M followers before Blevins’ arrival, according to data gathered by Social Blade.
As a part of his move to Mixer, people are currently able to subscribe to his Mixer channel for free for the first two months he streams from the platform. Blevins wrote on Twitter shortly after the promotion was announced that he had already eclipsed 100K subs on Mixer. During his first live stream from Lollapalooza in Chicago, Blevins was able to consistently keep around 60-70K viewers in the middle of the afternoon.
Epic Games Announces Fortnite Champions Series
During the Fortnite World Cup, Epic Games announced the next stage in the battle royale shooter’s competitive push: the Fortnite Champions Series (FCS).
Briefly detailed by commentator “Sundown” during the broadcast, the Fortnite Champions Series will have millions of dollars at stake, and will be based around an online leaderboard system in which “every single result matters” during the season.
He also said that the Fortnite Champions Series would be “just a taste of what’s to come” from the game’s future competitive scene. The FCS is set to begin on August 17th.
Rick Fox Shares New Controversy Details, Sentinels CEO Sues Kroenke Sports & Entertainment
Echo Fox co-founder Rick Fox went on The Richard Lewis Show last week and finally opened up about the ordeal that ended with his team organization deciding to sell its slot in the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS). Fox did not indicate whether their sales proposal had been approved or denied by Riot Games yet.
According to Fox, about eight months ago, he purchased a controlling interest in Echo Fox from shareholder Amit Raizada. During that process, he discovered that the company was in a very “distressed” financial situation. Raizada agreed to purchase the debt, release Echo Fox from its lease and extend the debt out beyond 2019 to allow the company to recover. Instead, Fox alleges, Raizada secretly acquired the debt, changed the company’s operating agreement, and immediately “put a gun to the company’s head” to pay it back immediately.
In an interview with The Upcomer, Raizada claims that Fox only wanted to buy into the company so he could be the “center of attention.” Fox paid half the agreed buyout of $10M USD but rather than pay the second half, he threatened to leak the email in which Raizada called Echo Fox co-founder Jace Hall the n-word, Raizada claims. When Raizada refused to the alleged extortion, Fox supposedly leaked the email to Dexerto.
Fox said the future of Echo Fox is uncertain and may include rebranding once the sale is complete. Regardless, Fox is determined to remain in the esports industry.
In a related story, Sentinels CEO Ron Moore has filed suit against partner Kroenke Sports & Entertainment related to its reported purchase of Echo Fox’s League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) franchise slot, reports ESPN. The suit was filed in California Superior Court in Los Angeles.
The companies are current partners for the Overwatch League’s Los Angeles Gladiators, which Kroenke owns and Sentinels operates. According to ESPN, Moore alleges in the suit that Kroenke Sports & Entertainment pursued the LCS team without his knowledge, which violates a verbal agreement between him and the company regarding its esports ventures.
Sponsorships and Partnerships Round-Up
The NBA 2K League has announced that Anheuser-Busch has signed on to make Bud Light the official beer of the esports series. Terms were not revealed for the deal, and the sides say that activation plans will be announced at a later date.
Videogame peripherals maker SteelSeries has announced a partnership with OG, the organization that won The International 2018, the de facto Dota 2 world championship.
The sponsorship announcement comes ahead of The International 2019, which begins on August 15 in Shanghai.
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