This week in esports: Renault, Overwatch League, GAME and Twitch

The world of esports hasn’t slowed down at all this week, with automobile giants Renault deciding to enter the industry and Twitch viewership proving that watching games is becoming more popular than mainstream cable television.

It’s all yielding some weird and wonderful developments, such as Sports Direct investing heavily in GAME to bring esports into your local high street. Not only that, it seems like the Overwatch League will be growing when it enters its second season as Blizzard’s inaugural season has been a surefire success.

Renault announces partnership with Team Vitality

Renault Sport Team Vitality

Announced at Esports BAR in Cannes, Renault has entered the esports scene by partnering with Team Vitality. Looking to compete in Rocket League and the Formula 1 Esports Series, this partnership has been realised with a new organisation, Renault Sport Team Vitality.

The partnership will see Philip “Paschy90” Paschmeyer, Victor “Fairy Peak” Locquet, and Sandro “FreaKii” Holzwarth represent Renault Sport Team Vitality in this year’s Rocket League Championship Series Europe. The players will have access to top class facilities from Renault, and will be handled expertly with the experience Vitality has in esports.

Read the full article here.

Blizzard eye Overwatch League expansion in second season

Blizzard has deemed its Overwatch League a success, and that means its going to subject to growth once Season 1 has concluded. The company plans to add further teams to the league later in the year, presumably looking to expand globally – so far it has nine American-based teams out of the 12 spots. Currently the London Spitfire, Seoul Dynasty, and Shanghai Dragons are the only teams that exist outside of the States.

League spots are expected to cost organisations a whole lot more if they want to get in on the action down the line. It’ll be interesting to see which franchises are born in the future, and just where they will be located.

Read the full article here.

Sports Direct purchases 50% of GAME’s esports arenas

Sports Direct has acquired 50% of Belong, the esports brand that was founded by GAME. The sports retailer acquired 26% of GAME last July, and now it will rake in 50% of the future profits of Belong.

Mike Ashley, owner of both Newcastle United FC and Sports Direct, has also agreed to loan £55 million to GAME to accelerate the roll out of Belong stores – which promises to bring esports to the high street. There are currently 19 Belong locations in the UK, and there are plans for many, many more in the near future.

Read the full article here.

Twitch overtakes CNN and MSNBC in January viewership


It’s been reported that Twitch outperformed cable networks CNN and MSNBC in January viewership, perhaps proving that spectating gameplay is becoming more and more commonplace. Last month, the streaming platform raked in 962,000 concurrent average viewers, while CNN reached 783,000 and MSNBC totaled 885,00 concurrently.

Twitch’s numbers are up 22% from the previous January, and a massive 26% from December. It’s not the highest viewed medium yet, by any means. Both Fox News and ESPN reportedly ended January with 1.5 million concurrent viewers, proving there’s still a long way to go before Twitch takes the crown.

Read the full article here.