This week in esports: Gullit, Toyota, Facebook and Steve Aoki

There’s very few times in one’s life where there’s an opportunity to do an esports weekly roundup and the four words are Toyota, Facebook, Gullit and Steve Aoki. A former Ballon d’Or winner, an absolutely huge social media platform, a car manufacturing giant and a Grammy-nominated DJ have all been busy in esports this week. Just a normal seven days, right?

Ruud Gullit launches an esports academy named “Team Gullit”

A legend in the football game and former Ballon d’Or winner, Ruud Gullit has this week announced a new project in esports.

The aim of the academy is to provide talented FIFA players with the chance to break through onto the larger international scene without being acquired by a large professional outfit – be it an esports organisation or traditional football club. The Gullit academy will “offer promising talents professional guidance and training to help them take their game to the next level so they can become the stars of the next generation”. 

The academy will support its players though both training and coaching as well as developing software tools to analyse and improve the gameplay on both a strategic and tactical level of the academy players. It’s a more all-encompassing academy as the young, aspiring professionals will be given advice on dealing with social media and creating their own personal brand – something that’s becoming increasingly important in esports. 

Read the full article here.

Overwatch League announces Toyota as brand-marketing partner

The Overwatch League announced this week that automotive giant Toyota is as a brand-marketing partner for the league’s inaugural season.

Credit: Blizzard Esports

The news may not come as a surprise to many, with Toyota adverts already featuring on the broadcasts alongside Intel and OMEN, two previously confirmed sponsors of the league.

Toyota is a “North American Launch Partner” for the Overwatch League and the deal will see future collaborations including behind-the-scenes exclusive branded content to fans. In addition, Toyota will have additional broadcast integrations and a vehicle present at the Los Angeles-based Blizzard Arena. 

The first week of the Overwatch League exceeded many expectations, with the opening night seeing over 400,000 concurrent viewers on the English broadcast. Last nights games attracted around 150,000 concurrent on the same stream so the initial hype has calmed down a touch, but it’s still bringing impressive viewership nonetheless. According to Blizzard statistics, the opening weekend drew more than 10 million viewers worldwide. 

Read the full article here.

Facebook Live to be the exclusive broadcast partners of ESL One and ESL Pro League

WESA and ESL have reached an agreement with Facebook to give them exclusive broadcast rights for two of their biggest tournaments, starting with ESL One Genting from January 23-28.

The arrangement concerns the ESL Pro League and ESL One competitions, and the rights are for both English and Portuguese language streams. 

The CS:GO Pro League will also begin its Facebook Live tenure in February 2018, promising new ways to enjoy ESL competitions including streaming in 1080p/60fps and watching in Facebook 360 for Gear VR. The deal will run for four seasons of the Pro League, until December 2019.

ESL will also be utilising Facebook’s new cross-posting feature. This allows ESL to post videos and reach audiences on all participating team and player Pages, finding a new and relevant audience and seeing aggregated insights across posts for all Pages.

Read the full article here.

ReKTGlobal acquire Steve Aoki’s Rogue

Steve Aoki, the American house DJ and music producer has had his esports organisation, Rogue, acquired by ReKTGlobal.

The deal, for an undisclosed amount will see ReKTGlobal acquire the Las Vegas-based organisation. The ReKTGlobal acquisition will allow Rogue to attract new investors, sponsors and other global strategic partners. 

The acquisition will not see any staff casualties, as Rogue’s current employees will be retained as ReKT looks to focus on the expansion of the esports organisation’s scope. ReKTGlobal has outlined the aim to “upgrade current teams with top players, enter new games and pursue Overwatch and League of Legends franchises in the future”. In addition, the organisation will expand to have offices in both Las Vegas and New York City.

The team currently competes in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Rainbow Six Siege, H1Z1, Vainglory and Rocket League but first rose to fame with a very talented Overwatch squad. The team, however, did not make it onto Blizzard’s list for the inaugural 12 teams for the Overwatch League and as a result the squad has been dropped. 

Read the full article here.