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.
This week on the ESI Digest, we cover VSPN’s $60m funding round, KitKat’s partnership with the LEC, Nerd Street Gamers operating the first stage of the VALORANT Champions Tour, Lucozade Sport entering into esports with Hashtag United, plus Astralis’ new initiative with Universal Music Group.
Total esports solutions provider Versus Programming Network (VSPN) has closed a $60m (£43.89m) Series B+ funding round, with the likes of Prospect Avenue Capital (PAC), Guotai Junan International, and Nan Fung Group investing in the company.
According to the release, the investment is expected to go towards creating technologies in esports production and ‘deepening the layout of esports IP trends and operations’. Moreover, the Chinese firm has announced that it intends to use the funding to create new esports products and content, whilst also expanding VSPN’s overseas services.
The League of Legends European Championship (LEC) has named Nestlé chocolate brand, and returning sponsor, KitKat as its main partner for the 2021 season.
Activations will include a continuation of KitKat’s ‘Even the Biggest Champ Needs A Break’ campaign with a 30-second spot entitled ‘MISSION CONTROL’. The deal was brokered by SPORTFIVE, which also produced the new commercial. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Esports infrastructure company Nerd Street Gamers has been named as an operator and producer for the 2021 VALORANT Champions Tour.
The deal will see Nerd Street Gamers lead registrations, operate, and produce all Challengers and Masters events taking place from January until March. After March, another company will be selected to host subsequent events.
British soft drink brand Lucozade Sport has announced its entrance into esports by joining forces with English non-league football club Hashtag United.
The deal will see Lucozade Sport become the front-of-shirt sponsor for the club’s in-game kit in FIFA 21. Hashtag United’s esports team will also be using the newly sponsored kit throughout the EA Sports FIFA Global Series 21.
Danish esports organisation Astralis has partnered with Universal Music Group for a new ‘music initiative’, according to a release.
Danish musician Mattis has released the first song of the initiative, titled ‘To The Stars’, which is Astralis’ motto. The partnership will also include a new project ‘Astralis feat.’, in which the organisation plans to work with more musicians on exclusive tracks.
ESI Digest is part of ESI 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.