League of Legends

Schalke 04’s €26.5 Million Sale Reveals True Value of LEC Spots

After weeks of negotiations, the sale of FC Schalke 04’s LEC spot has been finalised. In a statement released on the afternoon of Tuesday, June 29, FC Schalke 04 Esports announced the completion of it’s sale of the LEC team to Team BDS across social media.

As per the announcement, from 2022, Team BDS will take over the LEC spot. With the sale, the team takes on the current contracts of the staff and players of the team—although many have already announced their departure. 

The agreed upon amount for the spot? A whopping €26.5 million ($31.5 million USD). The amount more than doubles the price first paid by teams when franchising was introduced in 2018. At that time, spots were slated to costbetween €8 million ($9.93 million USD) and €10.5 million ($13.02 million). This means at least a €16.5 return on investment for Schalke.

Schalke’s Record Sale Amount

If the amount seems high, that’s because it’s an enormous amount of money, and the largest paid for a franchise spot in any esports league. Activision Blizzard’s Overwatch League and Call of Duty League Franchise spots were initially offered for $20 million and $25 million respectively. The sale to many acts as a proof of concept that these franchise spots are worth their initial investment.

Beyond just a spot in the LEC, Team BDS has bought a portion of Schalke’s fanbase. What’s more, the LEC, a drastically improved product since 2018, has garnered huge amounts of good will. A premier esports league globally, the LEC is one of the top regions in the world for League of Legends. 

The news will be music to the ears of fans of FC Schalke 04’s football team. Their recent financial woes have been well documented. Likewise, LEC owners will be rubbing their hands in glee knowing a mid-table team such as Schalke could sell for such a vast amount. The valuations of companies such as G2, Fnatic, and others are sure to rise.

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General League of Legends

G2 Esports Enters Historic Deal with Ralph Lauren

High fashion and esports collided today as G2 Esports announced a landmark deal with fashion label Ralph Lauren. The new partnership was announced across social media and in a promotional video on June 21.

In a detailed post on their website, G2 outlined the partnership. Describing it as a collaboration, both brands explained that they’d be launching a series of digital-first activations across Twitch and TikTok. 

They went on to outline some of these collaborations: “One such campaign is the Ralph Lauren Wimbledon campaign, which celebrates Ralph Lauren’s 16th year anniversary as the official outfitter of The Championships, and sees our League of Legends star, Martin’ Rekkles’ Larsson, feature among some of the biggest global athletes.”

G2’s A=announcement video of the Ralph Lauren partnership

Higher-ups from both G2 and Ralph Lauren weighed in on the deal. Carlos “Ocelot” Rodriguez, former League of Legends pro player and founder and CEO of G2, shared his thoughts: “Today is one of the most special days in my life and G2’s history. A brand I have loved for many years is now part of the G2 family. Ralph Lauren has entered the world of gaming in partnership with G2, and nothing makes us happier and prouder than to be able to execute on their strategy while doing our thing.”

Covering New Ground

Fashion and esports haven’t always gone hand in hand, with the average esports team putting out nothing more than a series of hoodies and polyester team shirts. However, some organizations have transitioned into creating more stylish offerings, such as 100 Thieves clothing drops. 

With G2’s partnership with Ralph Lauren, perhaps the couture will start making more of an impact in esports. It’s fun to imagine scenes of pro players walking from buses in stylish suits or collecting trophies dressed to impress. Maybe we’ll see some of those energy drink fridges on streams traded in for tie racks and coat hangers.

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FIFA 21’s Festival of FUTball

International football has returned in the form of two tournaments taking place in parallel. In the eastern hemisphere we have the Euros 2020; in the west is the 2021 Copa America. Fifa has introduced a special event named Festival of FUTball to celebrate this occasion.

What is the Festival of FUTball?

The Festival of FUTball is an event based on the stars of international tournaments. This isn’t the first time this event has taken place, as a similar event was introduced on FIFA 18 for the 2018 World Cup. A squad was released after each “matchday”, followed by a Team of the Tournament combining all the best cards from the promo.

Path to Glory

One of the highlights of the latest Festival of FUTball is the Path to Glory Items. Essentially these are players have represented their national team at least once in their careers. This includes both the youth and the senior men’s national teams.

These Special Items upgrade based on the number of times their National Team wins from June 11, 2021, to July 16, 2021. The format for upgrade is as follows:

3 Wins = +2 OVR Upgrade

4 Wins = +1 OVR Upgrade

5 Wins = +1 OVR Upgrade

6 Wins = 5*/5* Weak Foot/Skill Moves Upgrades

For example, France won its first game against Germany last Wednesday, which gives the Antoine Griezmann Path to Glory player its first point. Although it tied with Hungary on Saturday, Antoine Griezmann will not receive a point since the entire event revolves around team wins, rather than individual performance. 

Path of Glory Team 1:

The first set of Path to Glory players arrived at the start of the Festival of FUTball event. The 1st team features some great new cards, and the added potential of getting better would make them lethal in FUT matches. Here are all the players from the 1st set of Path of Glory Items:

  • Kai Havertz (OVR 95)
  • Antoine Griezmann (OVR 95)
  • Phil Foden (OVR 94)
  • Marcos Llorente (OVR 94)
  • Matthijs de Ligt (OVR 94)
  • Marco Verratti (OVR 94)
  • Marcos Acuna (OVR 94)
  • Davinson Sanchez (OVR 93)
  • Vinicius Jr (OVR 93)
  • Serge Gnabry (OVR 93)
  • Yusuf Yazici (OVR 92)
  • Denis Zakaria (OVR 91)
  • Thorgan Hazard (OVR 90)
  • Alexander Golovin (OVR 90)

Path of Glory Team 2:

The second set of items in the Path of Glory series have been released. EA has stated that the Team 2 cards will start tracking from the same date as Team 1, so you won’t have to worry if they are released after a couple of matches. Similar to the 1st team, Team 2 features some of the best names of International Football. Here is the full list of players in Path of Glory Team 2:

  • Eden Hazard (OVR 95)
  • Roberto Firmino (OVR 95)
  • Paul Pogba (OVR 95)
  • Josef Martinez (OVR 94)
  • Alexis Sanchez (OVR 94)
  • Georginio Wijnaldum (OVR 93)
  • Joao Felix (OVR 93)
  • Ben Chilwell (OVR 93)
  • Alvaro Morata (OVR 93)
  • Leandro Paredes (OVR 92)
  • Eder Militao (OVR 92)
  • Ante Rebic (OVR 91)
  • Nahitan Nandez (OVR 90)
  • Lukas Klostermann (OVR 90)
Rocket League

What can we expect from The Peeps?

Don’t let the Faze Clan reveal fool you, The Peeps are still the underdogs. They emerged from Dreamhack Montreal 2019 with a Cinderella story that put them on the map. Fans have now gotten their first glimpse of what The Peeps can do in the Rocket League Championship Series with a big organization behind them. This season taught fans a lot about them as a team and will set the tone for expectations going forward. What are their biggest strengths, their biggest weaknesses, and how far will they take Faze next season?

Gyro, AYYJAYY, Allushin, and Moopy reaffirmed their ability to play aggressively while remaining defensively responsible. They also displayed their ability to maintain pace down the stretch, with or without a lead. It seems like AYYJAYY especially is all over the field at all times, making saves and scoring points. Faze always finds a way to transition the ball to the opposing half and apply pressure. They did begin to struggle converting this into points as the tournament went on…

When it comes to weaknesses, a lot of pitfalls in their game can be chalked up to inexperience. In their second game against Spacestation, they made a questionable call to go 2v2 down the stretch that ended up costing them the game. AYYJAYY is probably their biggest offensive threat and placing him out of position to utilize his strengths did them no favors. This was a good attempt at versatility though since they’ll need to find new ways of attacking and working outside their comfort zone. Teams they’ve beaten before, like G2, seemed to completely shut down any offensive momentum Faze could muster, and even scored more and more easily on their defense as the series went on.

So what does this mean for Faze next season? They got sent home early in round 1 after going completely scoreless in the final two games. Even AYYJAYY couldn’t come up with a goal for them, missing what should have been an easy conversion in series 2. Expectations will probably fall following such an exit, but The Peeps play their best Rocket League as the underdogs. If they want to continue this pattern on the RCLS stage though, they have to build their offense and rely less heavily on AYYJAYY and Gyro. Their ability to swarm the field and adapt to the pace of the game lends itself well to their defense, but seems to fatigue them as the games go on. Even if they find a way to focus that energy, they need more experience and versatility to place much higher next season.

League of Legends

Schalke 04 Puts LEC Spot Up For Sale Following Financial Woes

For months, Fußballclub Gelsenkirchen-Schalke 04, commonly known FC Schalke 04, has reported financial difficulty. Now, following an announcement by club officials, the team will put up for sale their LEC team of the same name.

The Bundesliga team has been a part of the European League of Legends scene since 2016, after it purchased the spot and roster of team Elements. Dubbing their new squad FC Schalke 04 Esports, the team has played in the EU LCS for five seasons. While only seeing limited success, and struggling to find a solid roster, the team has still gathered a loyal fanbase.

The team perhaps peaked in 2018, when the squad secured second place in the EU LCS Summer Playoffs. The squad would also take second place at the EU Regional Finals that same year, but fell short of a ticket to Worlds. As the EU LCS rebranded to the LEC, Schalke 04 failed to replicate the success that had brought them so close to international competition. Instead they have remained a middle-of-the-pack team looking for renewed success.

Rumours first emerged that the LEC spot might be sold in February, and the team put out a statement. Today, Schalke 04 announced the sale of it’s spot. The sale was first hinted earlier in the day in a report by sports journalist Dirk Schlarmann, translated by esports journalist Tom Matthiesen.

Later in the day, additional sources started to confirm the reports. Many now speculated at the value of the LEC spot. In November 2020, Immortals sold their Call of Duty League spot for an undisclosed alleged seven-figure amount. The CDL averages around 40,000 viewers a stream. The much more popular LEC regularly peaks at over 200,000 and looks set to grow. As a result, the potential sale value is very high.

What this means for the members of Schalke 04’s League of Legend’s roster is uncertain. Ultimately the player’s fates will be in the hands of whoever owns the spot after purchase.

And while Riot Games is able to block the sale in principle, it seems unlikely they’d prevent a sale which could potentially show off the value of its league’s spots. 

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Valorant Masters Reykjavík: A Triumph for the Game and NA

On Sunday, May 30th, VALORANT Champions Tour 2021: Stage 2 Masters in Reykjavík wrapped up, concluding the first LAN event for VALORANT esports. As the dust settled, North American team Sentinels had secured victory.

The team had easily dominated the field of competition. Going undefeated for the entire tournament, Sentinels showed that unlike with Riot’s other games, North America was king in Valorant.

Breakout Performance

Of particular note from Sentinels was Tyson “TenZ” Ngo. A former CS:GO pro turned Sentinels star-player, TenZ finished the tournament with an incredibly impressive stat line. From a middling Counter Strike pro to the one of the very best in a new game, his success has show that sometimes all you need is a change of scenery to win.

Sentinels overall is a mishmash of refugees from other games including Apex Legends and CS:GO, but they’ve come together to be their best self in Valorant. Raising the trophy in Reykjavík has given North American esports fans something to celebrate for the first time in many years. 

Not All Good at Valorant Masters

But NA and Sentinel’s celebrations might be cut short. Reykjavík wasn’t all sunshine and daisies. Some teething issues from observers, the insanely long time to remake matches that glitch or bug, and the slightly unsure of themselves casting made Masters Stage 2 a chore to watch at times. 

What’s more, the success of North America early in a game’s development cycle is an oft repeated cycle. A game produced and released in the US unsurprisingly had a quick uptake from players in the NA region. Compare this to Riot Games’ League of Legends Wild Rift, which was initially released in Asia, where numerous esports teams and pros have already taken up the mobile version of the popular MOBA, leaving NA players in the dust. Without a head-start, would NA have gotten such a smooth sail with Valorant?

Nick “LS” De Cesare weighs in on NA’s Valorant chances in the future

Additionally, Europe and South Korea are already hot on their heels. Both Team Liquid and Fnatic were incredibly impressive, with the latter meeting Sentinels in the final. And Korean team NUTURN Gaming also came to play, narrowly missing out on a finals spot. 

The biggest takeaway from the Valorant Masters event: Valorant esports is legit. The hype and excitement of LAN events helped show Riot Games is definitely on to something with its first FPS title.