BLAST announced changes to its financial structure which will see them pay out more money to organizations — in the form of participation fees —, balancing that out by lowering tournament prize pools.
The tournament organizer confirmed that the total sum paid out will remain the same, but that the amendments made will “provide a more sustainable model for the broader industry” amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
The CEO of BLAST partner team OG, JMR Luna, described the change as investing in the ecosystem which enables organization to develop infrastructure around the players, adding that “this change is crucial for the long term sustainability”.
Robbie Douek, BLAST CEO, added that they “partner alongside the most progressive brands in esports, many of whom have also felt the impact of COVID-19”, with this realignment helping not only them, but the broader ecosystem.
BLAST’s next CS:GO season kicks off with the BLAST Premier Fall group stage in October, followed by the Showdown and Fall Final. The competition will be played separately in Europe and North America, with partner teams such as Vitality, OG, and Astralis confirmed for the group stage.
The partner teams, 12 in total, are the ones that will benefit from the changes initially through the participation fee increase, but BLAST announced that from the 2021 season onwards, non-partner teams will also be receiving a participation fee for each tournament.
With the newly announced prize pools, $150,000 for the 2020 Fall group stage and Showdown, and $425,000 for the Fall Final, the prize pool for the upcoming season has been lowered by $650,000, a 47% cut from the $1,375,000 per season initially announced in December of last year. The prize pool of the yearly Global Final event has also been cut by a third, from $1,500,000 to $1,000,000.
The prize money allocated to each event in BLAST Premier 2020 and 2021 is available below:
Fall Series 2020: $150,000
Fall Showdown 2020: $150,000
Fall Final 2020: $425,000
Global Final 2020: $1,000,000
Spring Series 2021: $150,000
Spring Showdown 2021: $162,500
Spring Final 2021: $425,000
Fall Series 2021: $150,000
Fall Showdown 2021: $162,500
Fall Final 2021: $425,000
Global Final 2021: $1,000,000
U.S. Department of Commerce Announces Sanctions Against TikTok, WeChat
The U.S. Department of Commerce Friday announced prohibitions on transactions relating to mobile apps WeChat and TikTok. The order is an enforcement of President Donald Trump’s executive orders issued in August.
Beginning Sept. 20, The following transactions will be prohibited:
- Any provision of service to distribute or maintain the WeChat or TikTok mobile applications, constituent code, or application updates through an online mobile application store in the U.S.;
- Any provision of services through the WeChat mobile application for the purpose of transferring funds or processing payments within the U.S.
Additional prohibitions for WeChat (Sept, 20) and TikTok (Nov. 12), according to Commerce:
- Any provision of internet hosting services enabling the functioning or optimization of the mobile application in the U.S.
- Any provision of content delivery network services enabling the functioning or optimization of the mobile application in the U.S..
- Any provision directly contracted or arranged internet transit or peering services enabling the function or optimization of the mobile application within the U.S..
- Any utilization of the mobile application’s constituent code, functions, or services in the functioning of software or services developed and/or accessible within the U.S.
“While the threats posed by WeChat and TikTok are not identical, they are similar,” the order reads. “Each collects vast swaths of data from users, including network activity, location data, and browsing and search histories. Each is an active participant in China’s civil-military fusion and is subject to mandatory cooperation with the intelligence services of the CCP. This combination results in the use of WeChat and TikTok creating unacceptable risks to our national security.”
The notices for these actions have been recorded in the Federal Register this morning.
This story is developing…
U.S. Government Takes Aim at Riot Games, Epic Games, and Others Tied to Tencent
The U.S. Treasury’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) has asked gaming companies including Riot Games and Epic Games to provide information on security protocols, according to a Bloomberg report. The CFIUS sent letters to Epic, Riot, “and other game companies” asking them to provide data on security protocols related to user data to the government because of their deep ties with Tencent Holdings.
Valorant and League of Legends developer Riot Games is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tencent Holdings, while the company holds a 40% stake in Fortnite maker Epic Games. Tencent has ownership stakes of varying sizes in video game developers and publishers around the world.
U.S. politicians have taken aim at Tencent’s WeChat and QQ apps, so this latest move is not surprising. The CFIUS investigates acquisitions of U.S. companies by foreign businesses for national security risks.
The Esports Observer laid out how the Trump administration might use the CFIUS to take down TikTok in July, noting the following:
“What if the government began scrutinizing Tencent’s deep connections in the games industry? Tencent holds a fair percentage of Fortnite maker Epic Games; owns League of Legends and Valorant publisher Riot Games; and develops and/or publishes PUBG, PUBG MOBILE, Honor of Kings, and Call of Duty: Mobile. “
The focus of the CFIUS on Tencent-connected video game companies is the latest move against the Chinese conglomerate by U.S. politicians. On Aug. 7, President Trump issued an executive order prohibiting transactions with the popular WeChat app, to take effect 45 days from the date of the order. On Monday, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FLA.) sent a letter to Trump urging him to add Tencent’s social media and messaging app QQ to the previous executive order aimed at WeChat. Rubio and other Republican senators are also asking the administration to scrutinize the ByteDance-Oracle deal for the U.S. operations of TikTok.
Vaynerchuk Explains Why He Saw Esports as an Investment Vehicle Years Ago
Gary Vaynerchuk isn’t just a jack-of-all-trades, he’s the king. The serial entrepreneur and five-time New York Times best-selling author with companies spanning the globe has seen his uncanny intuition, guile, and wit lead him to business success in places others feared to go.
And now, he has his sights set on esports.
This week on Conquering Geek Culture, Vaynerchuk describes to podcast host and CEO of The Esports Observer, Chris Hana, his methodology of evaluating where he will strike next. Vaynerchuk gives an immersive and detailed description of some of his tried and proven strategies in regard to where business opportunities may lie and how he is able to jump on them as quickly as he has.
“I’m always listening,” Vaynerchuk says. “And I am very rarely speaking. It’s just I’m speaking so prolifically on the internet and strategically on the volumes of output it seems like I am always talking, yet the reality is that although I might be talking for 30 minutes a day on a podcast like this, but I’m operating 15 hours a day and in that operation does come a lot of listening and observing social networks for consumer insights.”
The self-described lion says that when he gets a taste of something he likes, it’s time to eat–and esports is on the plate. Vaynerchuk tells Hana that he had decided seven years ago that esports would be “one of the biggest genres of sport” for the rest of his life. And with that decision comes a lifelong commitment to exploring the esports business space and where he fits in.
“Five, six, seven years ago I decided that esports would be one of the biggest genres of sport for the rest of my life, based on pattern recognition, based on being good at history,” Vaynerchuk said. “And once I made that decision, five or six years ago, then it became a game of, I always think of myself as an animal, a hunter. Once I decided that I am a lion and I want to eat elk, I’m going to sit in the bushes until the elk makes a mistake.”
For Vaynerchuk, that analogy manifests itself in the form of opportunity in the esports space which he has pounced on and made one of his passions.
Join Hana and Vaynerchuk for this exploratory journey of what he sees in this world of esports and if the business mogul feels he can fuel an investment engine to take him to new heights.
To hear more about what Vanderchuk believes in terms of what’s next for esports and where it may be headed, listen to the complete podcast now on Conquering Geek Culture with Chris Hana.
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