Philadelphia Fusion Plans $50M Arena, GameStop Goes Big into Texas Esports

The Philadelphia Fusion plans a $50M esports arena, GameStop goes big into Texan esports, and Ninja gets his own Red Bull can.

Missed any of the biggest esports business news last week? The TEO Monday Morning Briefing recaps the top headlines from the last seven days!

Overwatch League team Philadelphia Fusion will be the first to receive its own, purpose-built esports arena in the Western Hemisphere. Comcast Spectacor announced the plans for Fusion Arena on Monday, stating that it would be available for the Overwatch League 2021 season. Fusion Arena will be located in Southern Philadelphia inside the Xfinity Live! dining and entertainment complex. The 3,500 seat, 60,000-square-foot space will house a 10,000 square-foot dedicated training facility.

With the Overwatch League slated to implement a home-and-away system next year, every franchise will need to find a venue in its home city where it can compete on a weekly basis. While many teams will likely partner with existing venues, it is possible that Comcast Spectacor’s Philadelphia Fusion won’t be the only team receiving its own custom-built arena.

Videogame retailer GameStop announced several esports partnerships on Wednesday, all centered on its home state of Texas. The partnership includes CompLexity Gaming, Envy Gaming, and Infinite Esports.

GameStop acquired the naming rights to CompLexity Gaming’s new training facility in Dallas, which opens this May. The 11,000-square-foot GameStop Performance Center will share a headquarters with the Dallas Cowboys, whose owner Jerry Jones holds a majority stake in  CompLexity.

Meanwhile, GameStop also announced a multiyear sponsorship deal with Dallas-based Envy Gaming, which owns Team Envy and Overwatch League team Dallas Fuel. The partnership includes a number of local gaming clinics that invite amateur players to interact with and learn from the professionals.

A partnership with Infinite Esports will include its OpTic Gaming franchise as well as Overwatch team, the Houston Outlaws.

Online gaming personality Tyler “Ninja” Blevins will appear on a limited-edition line of Red Bull Energy Drink cans, making him the first star to appear nationally on the can since Neymar Jr. in February 2018. Ninja was first signed to Red Bull last June, and his likeness will appear on four- and 12-packs while supplies last.

Game publisher Electronic Arts announced last week that it is laying off about 350 people from its global workforce of about 9,000 employees. The move comes from changes made to EA’s marketing, publishing, and operations teams. Additionally, the publisher is “ramping down” its efforts in Russia and Japan as it reevaluates how to serve those markets.

In February, EA announced that it had missed its revenue guidance for its fiscal Q3 2019 quarter, with net bookings of $1.61B USD compared to analyst expectations of $1.76B. According to MarketWatch, the stock dropped 13.3% the following day, falling to about $80 per share—the worst single-day percentage drop for EA in more than a decade.

Major Sponsorships and Partnerships

The League of Legends European Championship (LEC) has announced global domestic appliance brand Beko as its newest sponsor, adding to a portfolio that includes Kia, Shell, Foot Locker, and more. The brand will serve as the LEC’s official domestic appliances supplier for the remainder of the 2019 season.

Secretlab, a specialty gaming chair manufacturer founded in Singapore, has announced a partnership with Tottenham and English Premier League player Dele Alli. The 21-year-old soccer professional, who represented England in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, streams on his personal Twitch channel which, at the time of writing, has 1.5M total views.

MVPindex has struck a deal with Twitch to deploy its media valuation tools across the game streaming platform, with the goal of giving more comprehensive and immediate feedback on the value of clients’ esports sponsorships. As part of the deal, the Dallas-based social analytics company will give Twitch and key clients software that delivers valuation and stream performance data in nearly real time. Also, MVPindex will use speech processing technology and artificial intelligence to measure engagement on the Twitch streams, instead of just impressions.

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