Image via engadget


The International is up for bid — well, at least the hosting duties are. Valve’s most valuable event property is now being offered to cities interested in hosting the biggest esports show in their own town. A request for proposal (RFP) began circulating last week, outlining why the event is so valuable an attraction:

“Each [of the previous host cities] has seen an influx of visitors (about half of the attendees) that patronize their hotels, restaurants, and other tourist attractions,” Valve says in the document. “Moreover, Valve works with local suppliers to source equipment such as lighting, rigging, broadcast equipment, and internet bandwidth. Valve also hires local skilled laborers to handle catering, construction, décor, printing, marketing, security, transportation, and entertainment. All of this typically results in a significant boost to the host city’s economy.”

Who wouldn’t want to have that sort of economic activity in their city? It’s easy to see how traditional sporting events draw crowds and help local economies grow. Even esports newbies can see the potential in hosting the International. To support this, Valve is offering statistics about the TI8 and how it attracted $7.8 million into Vancouver’s local economy in 2018.
Valve will answer RFP-related questions until March 15th. Interested cities have must submit their final proposals by March 31st, 2020.


100 Thieves, the esports and lifestyle brand well known for its famous owners Drake and Scooter Braun, is equally notable for its trend-setting style in the industry. Unfortunately, its latest “Numbers” apparel line is not meeting usual expectations. The line, launched on February 29th, features a minimalist two-color block design centered on the terms “100” and “Thieves” in different placements. The relative simplicity of the design may be what set fans and fashionistas off, as they are used to 100 Thieves going in a sleeker, edgier direction.

Since release, detractors have taken to Twitter mocking the simplistic design by replacing the 100 Thieves blocks with names of other esports brands. Influential streamer, Herschel “DrDisrespect” Beahm IV, called 100 Thieves founder Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag out in typical fashion on Twitter: “Cmon Nadeshot, I’ve seen better jackets at Burlington coat factory.”

100 Thieves February 2020 “Numbers” launch hinged on its wider availability to the public. Previously, fans could only purchase apparel from an online shop. With this release, 100 Thieves opened a new physical store in their “Cash App Compound” located in Los Angeles for the public to grab swag a full two hours before online launch.

Despite the feedback, the “Numbers” apparel line has sold out as of Saturday evening according to a tweet by the company. Responses to the tweet range from “Imagine wasting money on that,” to “Get used to it. You either buy it or you don’t. 100thieves is going to the top.”

No matter where your fashion sensibilities lie, 100 Thieves at least got their money’s worth this time around.


Trading cards are stepping into the esports world with Upper Deck’s announcement of an official Overwatch League line. The collectibles company, known for producing sports products since 1988, released its 2020 Upper Deck Series 1 line based on Blizzard’s popular esports property on its website, which can be found here.

According to a press release, the new series “includes a 200-card base set, featuring 160 players from across all 20 teams and subsets highlighting key moments and special events from the 2019 season.” It continues with the additional perks offered, “Collectors can find new Star Rookie cards and never-before-seen hits and chase cards such as Championship Fragments, featuring six different player jersey swatches, and Combo cards, showcasing a player autograph and match-worn jersey patch.”

“Upper Deck’s Series 1 brand offers something for every level of collector, making it one of the most anticipated releases of the year,” said Jason Masherah, President of Upper Deck. “As we continue to grow the esports collectibles market, it is important that we provide the best collecting experience possible for Overwatch League fans by offering highly sought-after products like Upper Deck Series 1.”

Will you be embracing your childhood instinct to collect all your favorite OWL player cards?

Image via EsportsObserver

/HLTV.ORG ACQUIRED BY SPORTS BETTING GROUP BETTER COLLECTIVE is now a part of the expanding Better Collective portfolio. This past week, the well-known sports betting media firm acquired ApS for a purchase price of €34.5 million EUR ($37.9 million USD). The platform is best known for its Counterstrike: Global Offensive news, statistics, and discussion forums.

Since the CS:GO scene comprises of a large network of tournaments and no single unifying authority, HLTV’s rankings have long served as a way to know who the best of the best is. If a team manages to end the season in first place on the HLTV rankings, they are likely the top force to be reckoned with and the informed CS:GO community knows it. The website receives over 26.5 million visits per month on average, according to a news release.

While it’s altruistic to operate a platform to better inform the wider CS:GO community of news and player performance, revenue needs to come from somewhere. In the case of HLTV prior to acquisition, the site made most of its money on promotion of esports betting. This works well into the Better Collective’s interests as it intends to become a major player in esports betting.

Jesper Søgaard, CEO of Better Collective, echoed this purpose, “The nature of esports betting differs significantly from traditional sports betting and, therefore, it was essential to find the right partner, adding deep know-how and industry knowledge to Better Collective. I am confident that, through this acquisition, we have found the right people who operate some of the best-positioned esport brands in the world.” Martin Rosenbæk, CEO of Aps, said in the same release, “Joining the Better Collective group will support our ambition to remain the preferred CS:GO brand for esports enthusiasts across the world.”

Rosenbæk and his team will continue in daily management roles “for at least three years to ensure the continued strong development of the platforms and communities.”

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Leonardo “MkLeo” Lopez Perez, the most successful player in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, now has a new team to call home. Last week, T1 Sports & Entertainment announced that the star competitor had signed to their expanding roster. This follows MkLeo’s stint with EchoFox, which dissolved in November 2019 following financial troubles and the sale of its League of Legends Championship Series spot.

MkLeo spoke to ESPN about his acquisition and his exit from Echo Fox. “I thought it was time to get another [organization]. To move forward. Of course, Echo Fox did a lot for me and super thankful to them, but I think it’s time for MKLeo’s story, Part 2. T1 has always been one of the greatest teams — for me, the greatest…Who doesn’t want to be teammates with Faker?”

T1 is clearly proud of their acquisition. In the news release announcing MkLeo’s signing, T1 CEO Joe Marsh said: “I’m beyond excited for ‘MkLeo’ to join T1 as he will continue to strengthen our North American presence and reinforce T1’s commitment to the fighting game community. I’m confident he will be able to continue his legacy as one of the greatest of all time as he looks to make his mark in T1 for years to come.”

Mexico’s MkLeo started his career in Smash 4 and caught the attention of the competitive world in December 2016 with his win over Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios at the 2GGT: ZeRo Saga event in Las Vegas. Up to that point, ZeRo was known as one the scene’s most successful players, so MkLeo’s win set the young upstart with a winning career trajectory. With the release of Smash Bros. Ultimate, ZeRo retired and MkLeo made a smooth transition into the new game, consistently securing the number one spot on leaderboards and winning events around the world. As a member of TI, he plans to attend at least two events a month and create content around Smash, something he is most excited to do as Smash can sometimes “feel like a job” to him.

MkLeo joins fellow Smasher Jason “ANTi” Bates on the T1 roster, a signal that the team has expansion plans in the Smash scene. Comcast and South Korea’s SK Telecom partnered up to create the T1 entity in October 2019, which will undoubtedly bring about more player signings in 2020.

Keep your eyes on SlashShout for the next big T1 pickup.

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