AO Summer Smash Returns, IEM Not In Sydney Anymore

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The Australian esports calendar has shifted gears quickly as January fades behind us, and the AO Summer Smash Fortnite tournament taking place on the first weekend of February with a new format and bigger prize pool for 2020.

With both the end of year holiday season and summer all at once, and national public holidays near the end of January, they can often add up to a very slow start to the calendar year for many industries.

As we entered February we saw a number of major new partnerships announced as well as new tournament arrivals in the local market. Razer entered into a new esports partnership with Legacy Esports, while we also saw the E-League FIFA 20 soccer competition and Gran Turismo Sport championship share plans for local live audience events in the coming months.

Alongside the news updates below, local pro leagues such as Rainbow 6 Siege and League of Legends have also returned for 2020, adding up to a busy feel for the region as players and fans return from these long summer holidays.

Every month The Esports Observer presents the biggest esports business news in ANZ (Australia, New Zealand), including investments, acquisitions, sponsorships, and other major news from the region.

AO Summer Smash Fortnite Returns and Revamps 

Credit: Australian Open/Epic Games


Tennis Australia held its AO Summer Smash Fortnite esports event alongside the finals weekend of the Australian Open, for the second time this year. The event increased the total prize pool to $500K AUD ($335K USD), with $67K for charity in a Pro-Am tournament and $268K for the main event, with $67K as first prize.

The event was sponsored by HyperX, with peripherals supplied by the company and ESL providing the event production. This year the event changed from an open access format to an invitational, with 40 players from the Oceanic region and 50 from across Asia, Europe, and the Americas. A total of 150 pros and content creators participated across the two days of the event.

Tennis Australia event organizer Mark Reidy said the new format better reflected the Australian Open’s own format as an international tournament. The first year was considered a solid success by the organizers, measured in part by attracting a demographic to the tennis precinct that would not ordinarily visit.

Australia’s Intel Extreme Masters Event Is Leaving Sydney

Credit: ESL

In a social media teaser video, ESL announced that the Intel Extreme Masters event that has been held in Sydney for the past three years is on the move.

No details have been released on which city will host this year’s competition, though rumors are swirling around a move to Melbourne – a city that has been actively building its reputation as Australia’s home for all forms of gaming entertainment.

IEM was held in Sydney for the past three years in May of each year, and in 2019 the event expanded to host an Overwatch Contenders mid-year final alongside its main Counter-Strike: Global Offensive focus.

Razer Partners With Australia’s Legacy Esports

Credit: Legacy Esports

Razer has entered a new partnership with Australia’s Legacy Esports as its peripherals supplier. The agreement will see Razer supply mice, keyboards, and headsets to the organization, which fields teams across League of Legends, StarCraft II, Fortnite, and Super Smash Bros.

Legacy Esports was founded in 2014 and was purchased in 2017 by AFL Football Club Adelaide FC.

E-League FIFA 20 Tournament Returns With Live Finals At Fortress Melbourne

Credit: EA Sports

Australia’s premier soccer competition, the Hyundai A-League, kicks off its FIFA 20 competition in February. This is the third season for the E-League, with A-League teams signing FIFA 20 players for both Xbox and Playstation platforms to represent their clubs through the league in matches played at live events over two weekends.

The two rounds will be conducted live at ESL’s studio in Sydney as a ticketed event for live viewers to attend, on Feb. 15 and March 7. A further Finals Series live event will be held at Fortress Melbourne, a new esports and gaming venue opening soon. The Finals Series will be held on May 9.

Gran Turismo Championships Reach Australian Shores

Credit: FIA

The Gran Turismo Championships will hold its latest event on Feb. 15-16, in Sydney at Luna Park, a small retro theme park that sits under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It’s the first time the event has been held in Australia. The two-day event is offering free tickets to local fans to watch 50 competitors from around the world in person.

The FIA Certified event runs across two events, both played in Gran Turismo Sport. A Manufacturer Series competition where racers represent different vehicle manufacturers, and a Nations Cup where competitors race under their national flags.

The Gran Turismo Championship is sponsored by TAG Heuer, Toyota, and Michelin.


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