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Cineplex sold two subsidiaries: WorldGaming Network, which runs e-sports tournaments for amateurs and semi-professionals, and Collegiate StarLeague, which works with 11,000 post-secondary teams. The firm declined to disclose the value of the deal. (The Logic)

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Talking point: The divestiture comes after Cineworld pulled out of its planned US$2.1-billion takeover of Cineplex, and the movie-theatre chain reported a first quarter loss of $178.4 million. However, the deal has been in the works for some time. “Late last year, we began the search for a strategic equity partner for our esports business,” Cineplex spokesperson Sarah Van Lange told The Logic. “We are confident that this is the right direction for them and look forward to their exciting future.” In 2015, Cineplex bought a majority stake in WorldGaming for US$10 million and promised to invest a further US$5 million to grow its e-sports division. The business has grown under Cineplex’s leadership. In 2017, Collegiate Starleague had 900 schools signed up. That number has now more than doubled to over 1,800.

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Former StarCraft 2 player Kevin Ryoo, who went by the screen name “SeleCT,” put out a call on Twitter for programming jobs. Tobi Lütke responded with an internship offer, saying Ryoo’s “Starcraft accomplishments are enough of a CV.” Ryoo played StarCraft for the internationally renowned Team Dignitas before retiring in 2014 to pursue a computer-science education. (The Logic)

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Talking point: Tech companies are increasingly open to alternative credentials based on video game prowess. A 2017 survey by Robert Half Technology showed that 28 per cent of 270 chief information officer respondents considered playing or developing video games an attractive quality in entry-level candidates. Another study by the Missouri University of Science and Technology found that World of Warcraft players tend to have computer-mediated technical and communication skills that make them highly adept at working as part of a virtual team. Aside from its apparent usefulness in other fields, e-sports is a growing career track in itself—the industry’s global revenues are projected to hit US$1.1 billion this year.

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The 12,000-square-foot arena will host competitions and use racing simulators to train e-sports professionals and real-world racecar drivers. The firm has secured US$2.8 million in private financing to complete the facility, set to open in 2020. (The Logic)

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Talking point: The industry’s global revenues are projected to hit US$1.1 billion this year, with North America generating more than any other region, at US$409 million. Advertising and sponsorships make up the bulk of that figure, followed by merchandise and ticket sales. And leading e-sports athletes—like Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka, who walked away with more than US$3 million in the latest Dota 2 championship—regularly rake in millions of dollars in prize money.  E-sports racing merges virtual with real-life racing; increasingly advanced simulators—like those produced by New-York based firm Allinsports, in which Millennial has a controlling stake—allow drivers to train on ultra-realistic virtual replicas of real-world racing tracks. Canada has just one 3,000-square-foot e-sports arena at Durham College in Oshawa, Ont., but Millennial CEO Darren Cox said the Miami arena will be the first of a series of venues across the globe, and that the firm is looking “very closely” at potential venues in Canada.

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The six-time NBA Finals MVP will have equity in DraftKings and provide strategic and creative advice. DraftKings’ stock jumped eight per cent on the news. (The Logic)

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Talking point: DraftKings’ shares have more than doubled since it went public in April. The firm is battling for market share with FanDuel, which announced its own partnership with punter-sports analyst Pat McAfee back in July. The two firms control about two-thirds of online sports bets in the U.S., a business that could generate US$1.2 billion in annual profit one day. Other players include Toronto-based theScore, which signed a betting deal with the NBA earlier this year. Online sports betting has accelerated rapidly since a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a ban on the practice. In Canada, a private members’ bill that would legalize single sports betting was delayed by the prorogation of Parliament.

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The Toronto-based e-sports company will gain access to Omnia’s 90 million gamers through the deal, bringing its total monthly gamers to about 300 million and making it the biggest gaming media platform in North America. Enthusiast is expected to generate about $110 million in revenue this year following the acquisition, more than double the highest-grossing e-sports companies, Team SoloMid and Faze Clan, in 2019. (The Logic)

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Talking point: The e-sports sector has seen a rapid surge in user growth during the pandemic. Enthusiast Gaming, which owns YouTube channels and gaming websites, saw a 40 per cent week-over-week increase in views on some of its more popular sites in the first few weeks of lockdown. Its Omnia purchase will help capitalize on the momentum, as gamers spend more time at home and sports fans seek out new entertainment sources in the absence of traditional sports seasons. Enthusiast’s CEO Adrian Montgomery said the combined platform—of which Omnia’s Toronto-based parent firm Blue Ant will own 18 per cent—will have about 500 gaming influencers who reach about 25 per cent of YouTube.

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The tech giant is investing hundreds of millions of dollars into the video-game push, and is working on a cloud gaming platform codenamed Project Tempo. It’s also releasing its first original big-budget game, called Crucible, in May. (The New York Times)

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Talking point: Project Tempo would compete directly with Microsoft’s Project xCloud and Google’s Stadia, and a cloud gaming platform that Nvidia announced in February. Amazon is hoping to leverage the success of its subsidiary Twitch, which lets users broadcast their gaming to other users, and is working on games that people can play together on the platform in real time. The company is hoping to get a slice of the US$160 billion-plus in revenue that gaming is expected to generate this year. There’s been an increase in interest in gaming since COVID-19 has prompted many to stay home. In March, The Logic reported that Toronto-based Enthusiast Gaming had seen a 40 per cent traffic surge in the wake of the pandemic.