The Most Pivotal Updates Ever

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Activision eliminates $35M in entry fees for Call of Duty League teams, CECC announces impressive roster of brand partners, Nickmercs releases a golf line with Under Armour, and Kick looks to compete with TwitchCon?

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Here’s what we have for you today:

  • Activision makes massive moves to save the Call of Duty League 📈 

  • CECC looks to put collegiate esports on the map with impressive roster of brand partners 🎮

  • Golf & Gaming: Nickmercs releases golf line with Under Armour

  • Kick signs partnership with EFG to compete with TwitchCon 🟢 

🔗 Headline Speedrun

  • Skybound launches crowdfunding for a AAA video game project featuring Amazon's Invincible universe (LINK)

  • Twitch announces Twitch Rivals: Minecraft Championship Live as headline event for TwitchCon Europe 2024 in Rotterdam (LINK)

  • Grand Theft Auto publisher, Take-Two announces layoffs, cancels multiple in-development projects (LINK)

  • Moonrock, GALE, and Wells Enterprises Bomp Pop activation in Roblox selected as finalist for The Shorty Awards (LINK)

📈 Activision makes massive moves to save the Call of Duty League

source: OpTic Gaming

In a blog post by Call of Duty Esports’ General Manager, Daniel Tsay, the Call of Duty League has announced massive changes, eliminating all outstanding franchise entry fees for the CDL’s teams, refunding previously collected fees, establishing new revenue streams through micro-transactions, and increasing incentives to host live events, with a two-year minimum guarantee on revenue.

These updates from Activision are pivotal for the longevity of the Call of Duty League and the future of Call of Duty esports with the league being forced to downgrade it’s fourth major event of the 2024 season from a live, in-person event in North Carolina to a closed event in California with no fans in attendance after the Carolina Royal Ravens withdrew as hosts for the event.

🖱️ Double Click

From the Call of Duty League blog:

Outstanding entry fees will be eliminated, and any fees previously collected from teams will be returned in full. While we paused collection of these payments years ago, we are permanently removing this obligation while also injecting capital back into the League.

  1. Teams will earn increased revenue tied to the sale of their in-game merchandise (e.g., Team bundles) and now, the Champs bundle as well. We know how meaningful in-game bundles can be for Teams and we want to make sure they have increased ability to drive their own financial success.

  2. Recognizing that hosting large scale events are vital to teams and the CDL community, we will increase existing event subsidy amounts for Teams organizing live in-person events such as Majors, Opens and Champs.

  3. Teams will receive a two-year minimum guarantee of revenue so they can continue investing into the Call of Duty League with more peace of mind.”

💬 Reaction & Response

Adam Adamou, the CEO of OverActive Media and the parent company of the Call of Duty League’s Toronto Ultra, responded to the updates in an official press release stating that:

“This is a landmark agreement for OverActive Media around a long-term commitment to the Call of Duty League that benefits our major stakeholders. This model recognizes the key role that organizations like Toronto Ultra and our fans and partners have played in the expansion and growth of Call of Duty esports, and maximizes our opportunities while retaining the critical elements that have made the Call of Duty League such an incredible product.

The agreement eliminates OAM’s remaining franchise payments ($35.1 million) to the Call of Duty League. This, alongside our strong cash position at the end of 2024 and the $2.8 million restructuring payment, puts OverActive in an enviable position during a period of heavy industry consolidation. We are well funded, have a strong balance sheet with no debt and see tremendous opportuntities for both organic and acquired growth.”

The news comes just 2 weeks before OverActive Media will host their Fourth Quarter 2023 Shareholder Conference Call on April 30th. You can find details and tune in to the conference call here.

🎮 CECC looks to put collegiate esports on the map with impressive roster of partners

The Collegiate Esports Commissioner’s Cup (CECC), slated for this May at Esports Stadium Arlington in Texas, has unveiled an impressive lineup of brand partners.

For the Summer 2024 event, State Farm, the U.S. Army 5th Brigade, Smoothie King, CTRL, Arlington Convention and Visitors Bureau, Apple Music, and Zipchair Gaming join an already impressive group of major sponsors, including McDonald’s, Dairy MAX, Dallas Cowboys, Lenovo, Cisco, Red Bull, PC Gamerz, Cirkul, Grand Canyon University, iSlide, and U.S. Army ROTC.

Organized by the Collegiate Sports Management Group (CSMG), the CECC is a premier collegiate esports tournament where 84 collegiate teams will compete in Overwatch 2, Rocket League, VALORANT, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

McDonald’s will return as the presenting sponsor, with additional event support from other partners through giveaways and activations during the tournament’s opening weekend in May. Notably, a red carpet Jersey Ceremony will be held, where athletes will receive branded jerseys akin to the McDonald's All-American Game, the famous annual high school all-star basketball event.

You can find more details about CECC 2024 on their website here.

⛳ Golf & Gaming: Nickmercs releases golf line with Under Armour

source: mfam

Nick “Nickmercs” Kolcheff joined Under Armour as their first content creator ambassador back in August 2021. The popular (and controversial) creator’s latest collaboration with the sports apparel giant, Under Armour went live last week: The mfam Spring Golf Collection. You can find the full collection here.

source: Under Armour

Kolcheff and Under Armour’s Head of Global Music and Partnerships, Brenden Miller, spoke to Forbes about the new collaboration:

“Our partnership with Nick Mercs bridges fitness and gaming, reflecting the passions of today’s young athlete and consumer. It allows UA to authentically connect with Gen Z, including Nick’s engaged followers, while reinforcing UA’s golf product offerings and versatile sportstyle looks,” said Brenden Miller.

source: mfam

For Kolcheff’s part, he feels there’s a delicate balance when straddling the intersection of gaming and golf which is why the fits in his drop aren’t too heavy on collared polos and forward-facing caps. “The demographic is not 80-year-old grandfathers on the golf course, right? It’s for a younger audience who is getting after it. It would be very weird to drop a really traditional golf collection—even with it being Under Armor. You got to have it speak a little to the community.”

🟢 Kick signs partnership with EFG to compete with TwitchCon

source: ESL FACEIT Group

ESL FACEIT Group has announced a partnership with streaming platform Kick to run in-person activations for the DreamHack creator community. This is a compelling partnership that has the Private Lobby team asking… is this Kick’s first step toward competing directly with TwitchCon utilizing DreamHack as an infrastructure partner?

  1. Kick will activate at multiple DreamHack events to engage the community and give the platform’s up-and-coming streamers new opportunities. Kick will be live and on-site at the following DreamHack-hosted events:

    • Melbourne (26-28 April)

    • Dallas (31 May-2 June)

    • Atlanta (4-6 October)

    • Stockholm (22-24 November)

  2. A select group of Kick’s creators will host panel sessions and meet-and-greets with fans, along with booth activations where the community can compete for prizes, such as Racing Simulators and gaming trivia.

“Kick is a creator-first platform, making it natural for us to team up with the DreamHack experience in four major cities worldwide. The Kick team thanks ESL/EFG for recognizing us as a brand that strives to lead the live-streaming industry. Together, in 2024, DreamHack and Kick will create unforgettable IRL experiences that will last a lifetime.” - Akhil Sarin, Chief Marketing Officer for Kick.

“We’ve designed this new partnership to help Kick create deeper connections with its community which transcend the online relationship, in order to help it build a better platform and environment so creators of the future can thrive.” - Shahin Zarrabi, Vice President, Festivals for ESL FACEIT Group.

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