• eSports investment buying bonanza - NBA, Hollywood, China
  • Scope of ESEA hack revealed
  • TwitchCon 2017 date and location announced

At this point it's starting to feel repetitive but week after week we’re seeing major steps forward for eSports. Whereas we were seeing big investments and deals happening occasionally, this week sees the NBA, Hollywood (yep, the movie one), and a leading global trading platform (huh?) all going deep on eSports. Not to be outdone, YouTube lands a major deal with the WESA and Twitch announces the first details on TwitchCon 2017 (spoiler: it’s west coast...again). And it doesn’t stop there. Read on for the long and short on these stories and more.

FIRST TWITCHCON 2017 DETAILS ANNOUNCED

TL;DR: One day after a teaser on Twitter, Twitch announced that TwitchCon 2017 will happen about a month later than last year and in Long Beach, CA. That’s about it for now. But we’re staying tuned.

Full story: http://www.twitchcon.com/

MIAMI HEAT (NBA) JOIN ESPORTS BUYING BONANZA

TL;DR: The Miami Heat have purchased a stake in the Misfits eSports organization, granting the Heat a presence in eSports heavy-hitters like Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, LoL, Hearthstone, and Super Smash Bros.

Full story: https://dotesports.com/business/miami-heat-enters-...

LIONSGATE FILMS DOUBLES DOWN ON ESPORTS

TL;DR: Following an announcement in early 2016 that it would be creating a new Halo 5 centric TV show, Lionsgate has revealed its made an investment in the Immortals eSports org. This gives Lionsgate an immediate presence in such games as LoL, Overwatch, CS:GO, and Super Smash Bros.

Full story: https://www.engadget.com/2017/01/10/lionsgate-make...

ALIBABA INKS 3-YEAR DEAL AS PART OF $150 MILLION ESPORTS INVESTMENT

TL;DR: In an agreement that’s part of a much larger deal with the city of Changzhou, China, Alibaba has reinforced a plan to invest $150 million in competitive eSports over the next several years. The agreement will ensure the city continues to play host to high profile competitive eSports events.

Full story: https://dotesports.com/business/alibaba-alisports-...

ESEA HACK UNLEASHED - 1.5 MILLION+ ACCOUNTS COMPROMISED

TL;DR: After refusing to pay a $100k ransom to a group of hackers, the eSports Entertainment Association faces a big problem now that the data on over 1.5 million accounts has been released. All of the normal corporate speak about “security, taking things seriously, and we’re sorry” was quick to follow.

Full story: http://www.espn.com/esports/story/_/id/18438638/es...

YOUTUBE LANDS EXCLUSIVE CS:GO PRO LEAGUE STREAMING RIGHTS

TL;DR: Not to let the PEA vs. WESA theater from weeks past hinder progress, YouTube has secured the exclusive streaming rights to seasons 5 and 6 of the ESL Pro League for CS:GO.

Full story: https://esports.yahoo.com/wesa-csgo-pro-league-201...

BLIZZARD LEVELS BAN-HAMMER ON 10K OVERWATCH ACCOUNTS

TL;DR: Kicking off 2017 saying, “Papa don’t take no mess”, Blizzard Korea has banned over 10k Overwatch accounts for cheating. The accounts were actually banned in waves, specifically for using “non-permitted third-party” programs.

Full story: https://esports.yahoo.com/blizzard-korea-has-banne...

AZUBU ALLEGEDLY LOST STREAMING RIGHTS TO LOL IN 2016 DUE TO COST

TL;DR: It’s being reported that Azubu lost the rights to stream competitive League of Legends last year because Riot raised the price tag from $2 to $3 million. Ultimately irrelevant, with the MLBAM deal, nevertheless this means Azubu probably won’t be streaming competitive LoL this year either.

Full story: https://esports.yahoo.com/report-azubu-couldnt-aff...

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…

The next season of the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) kicks off this weekend with some high profile matches to amp up the fanbase. If you follow the LCS, you’ve probably seen the power rankings and preseason predictions coming from commentators, experts, and analysts alike.

What sometimes gets lost in all of this is what’s been taking place in the offseason, or between weekly matches in the gaming houses of these professional teams.

These gaming houses are an interesting mix of gamers with diverse backgrounds, ages, experience, and personalities. Anyone who’s played at any level of competitive sports knows the level of commitment it requires to be good. And I don’t mean good enough, I mean good.

To get some insight into the lifestyle, ESPN asked a series of questions of 33 NA and EU LCS pros under the protection of anonymity. For a glimpse into the life of an eSports pro, head over here, or pick up the Feb. 6 issue of ESPN The Magazine.

Onwards and upwards.