eSports Competitions are Becoming a Popular Phenomenon as Cash Prizes Grow

NEW YORK, Aug. 28, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The winners from Dota 2's The International and Epic Games' Fortnite World Cup were paid more per-player than the winners of major sporting events such as the Wimbledon and The Masters, making eSports one of the most lucrative careers. The Fortnite Cup paid out USD 30 Million in prizes and 16-year old Kyle "Bugha" Giersdorf took home the USD 3 Million solo grand prize. Meanwhile, Dota 2's The International 2019 paid out over USD 33 Million in prize pool, in which professional organization OG, took home USD 15 Million. The attractive payouts have led many teenagers and young adults to consider developing a career within the eSports industry. For instance, following the conclusion of Dota 2's The International 2019, Johan "N0tail" Sundstein has now collectively gained USD 6.88 Million in earnings, making him the highest earning player in eSports history. While Sundstein's earnings is highly appealing, players cannot expect to become top tier athletes overnight. Initially, Sundstein earned about USD 2,000 in earnings from playing Heroes of Newerth. However, due to the declining player count, Sundstein decided to transition to Dota, where he began to make the majority of his earnings. The rate the eSports market has grown over the past several years positions the market to become a disruptive global force. According to data compiled by Infoholic Research, the global eSports market is expected to triple by 2025, reaching a value of USD 3 Billion. Additionally, the market is expected to exhibit a CAGR of 20% during the forecast period from 2019 to 2025. UMG Media Ltd. (TSX-V: ESPT), Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO), Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI), QUALCOMM Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM), Oracle Corporation (NYSE: ORCL)

Each year, eSport tournament payouts drastically increase. For instance, Dota 2's The International 2018 boasted a prize pool of USD 25.53 Million, but in just one year alone, the payout increased by another USD 8 Million. Typically, most companies generate the prize pool from in-game player purchases or also known as microtransactions. Generally, most microtransactions are purely cosmetic, however, in some instances microtransactions can give players a competitive advantage. Valve Corporation, the developers and publishers of Dota 2, released "battle passes" that player can purchase in-game for a price of USD 9.99. The battle pass is based on a tier system, which requires players to complete a series of challenges in order to advance. Each time players tier up they are rewarded with prizes such as cosmetics or emoticons. Valve said that 25% of the revenue from battle pass sales go directly back into The International's prize pool. Moreover, players are much more inclined to purchase the battle pass because Dota 2 is a free-to-play game. Most of the top eSport games are free-to-play games like League of Legends and Fortnite. According to eSports earnings, Dota 2 has paid out USD 216.23 Million in prize pool since its inception in 2013. Meanwhile, Fortnite has delivered USD 73.08 Million in just two years, while League of Legends has cashed out USD 68.79 Million since 2009. Statistically, free-to-play games are much more appealing to consumers even though the qualities may lack compared to pricier options. Since the game is free, more players are inclined to try the game, driving a large user base, and in return, there is a larger opportunity for players to purchase in-game products. While microtransactions can be controversial, it is a major driver of a Company's revenue which allows it to boast lavish tournaments. As a result, the media around eSports is increasingly growing each year as players are captivated by the high level of skill and the exhilarating rush at tournaments. "Gaming, specifically competitive gaming (also called eSports) has started to grow at an astounding rate. Traditional sports franchises and even Netflix are worried about this new competitor, as live streaming and in-person events continue to encroach on their territory," said Brett Schafer, Co-Founder of Market Brothers Media. "Whatever you think of eSports personally, you cannot deny how big it has gotten, and will become. We are still in the early stages of this new industry, one that should continue to grow over the next two decades. It could pay off handsomely for any investor that decides to get in early."

UMG Media Ltd. (TSX-V: ESPT) announced yesterday that, "it has entered into an agreement to acquire Victor's Gold. Victor's Gold is a game mode development company, which provides operators with a platform to run unique events in managed esports titles.

Victor's Gold provides P2P tournaments and game modes to monetize in-game events that can occur on a consistent basis. Victor's Gold introduced a distinct game mode, 'Mercs' for Counter-Strike which is compatible with most popular shooter games that allows for every in-game engagement to be a point of cash contest. Victor's Gold's established base in CS:GO, League of Legends, DOTA2 and PUBG, expands UMG's influence in the online competitive gaming world and opens new doors for future sponsorship and broadcast activations. Victor's Gold has operated its Merc Tournament Series at numerous LAN centers in the US and has plans to expand into the casino setting as well as additional LAN centers.

UMG CEO, Dave Antony, had this to say about the acquisition: "The introduction of Victor's Gold to UMG will allow for many exciting new opportunities for our brand. We're ecstatic to be able to expand our reach into CS:GO, League of Legends and more with Victor's Gold and have plans to integrate it into UMG's platform."

Victor's Gold CEO, Ben Abramowitz, commented: "Victor's Gold is really excited at the prospect of taking our original game content to the next level. An acquisition by UMG would provide Victor's Gold with a massive boost to capabilities and access to media distribution channels vital to exponential growth."

In consideration for the acquisition of Victors Gold (the "Transaction"), UMG will issue 1,000,000 Common Shares at a price of $0.30 per share. The Transaction is subject to due diligence and regulatory approval, including the acceptance of the TSX Venture Exchange. The Transaction is an arm's length transaction.

Closing is expected in the next 30 days.

As well, UMG is pleased to announce that it has retained the services of Independent Trading Group ("ITG") to conduct market making services. ITG will trade shares of UMG on the TSX Venture Exchange ("Exchange") with the objective of maintaining a reasonable market and improving the liquidity and stability of UMG common shares in compliance with the policies and guidelines of the Exchange. Under the terms of UMG's agreement with ITG, ITG will receive $5,000 per month for their services. The agreement will continue in effect on a month to month basis and will automatically renew for subsequent monthly terms unless terminated by either party.  There are no performance factors contained in the agreement between ITG and UMG and ITG will not receive any shares or options from UMG as compensation for their services. The arrangement with ITG is subject to Exchange acceptance.

About UMG: UMG Media Ltd. ("UMG") is a premier esports company in North America, offering live gaming entertainment events and online play. UMG provides online and live tournaments as well as the creation and distribution of original esports content. For more information about UMG visit www.umggaming.com."

For our latest "Buzz on the Street" Show featuring UMG Media Ltd, recent corporate news, please head over to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nvqpt-pTqR4

Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO), headquartered in New York City, is a leading developer, publisher and marketer of interactive entertainment for consumers around the globe. 2K recently announced that Zion Williamson, the first overall selection in the 2019 NBA Draft, has officially signed a multiyear partnership with NBA 2K. The agreement will include Williamson's integration into various game initiatives, consumer events, brand creative, and social activations. Williamson, who is the highest-rated rookie in NBA 2K since 2011, will make his video game debut in NBA® 2K20 when it launches on September 6, 2019. Williamson joins an elite group of NBA athletes that have represented NBA 2K over the past two decades alongside Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, James Harden, Shaquille O'Neal, LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and NBA 2K20 cover stars Anthony Davis and Dwyane Wade. "Zion represents the best of the NBA's up and coming talent and we are excited to welcome him to Team 2K," said Jason Argent, Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations at NBA 2K. "For more than 20 years, NBA 2K has identified and worked with the best basketball talent in the world. It's been incredible to witness what Zion can do on the court and we're excited to grow with him throughout his career."

Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI), a member of the Fortune 500 and S&P 500, is a leading standalone interactive entertainment company. Returning with a dedication to providing global consumers with an unmatched fan experience centered on consumer products, Activision Blizzard Consumer Products Group (ABCPG) showcased at the Licensing Expo 2019 with an all-star roster of new and returning licensed programs and world-class licensees. Activision Blizzard Consumer Products Group is a division of Activision Blizzard. The iconic franchises from Activision and Blizzard Entertainment continue to grow beyond gameplay, and Licensing Expo will showcase a range of consumer products that deliver engaging, relevant, and innovative experiences unparalleled in the video game space. Since its inception, ABCPG remains steadfast in its efforts to drive global growth and engagement for Activision Blizzard's flagship brands, including Activision's Call of Duty®, Crash Bandicoot™and Spyro™, and Blizzard's Overwatch® and World of Warcraft®. Additionally, with Activision Blizzard at the vanguard of competitive entertainment, ABCPG continues to raise the bar for esports via the merchandise program for the Overwatch League™ as we usher in a new generation of fans and athletes. "Activision Blizzard has a portfolio of some of the world's most beloved franchises, and our aim is to work with world-class licensees that enrich our fans' experience around the world," said Steve Young, President of Activision Blizzard Consumer Products Group. "The fan experience is at the center of everything we do, and we're thrilled to create new opportunities for players to immerse themselves and show their passion for Activision's and Blizzard's games through relationships ranging from LEGO to UNIQLO."

QUALCOMM Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) invents breakthrough technologies that transform how the world computes, connects and communicates. Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, recently unveiled the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 855 Plus Mobile Platform, a follow on to the flagship Snapdragon 855 launching with leading OEMs globally, built for speed to support enhanced performance and deliver leading experiences in multi-gigabit 5G, gaming, AI and XR. The platform features a boost in performance that will raise gaming to the next level for a truly Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ Elite Gaming experience—especially when gaming in the 5G arena. "Snapdragon 855 Plus will raise the bar for elite gamers with the increase in CPU and GPU performance and elevate experiences for 5G, gaming, AI and XR, which is something our OEM customers look to us to deliver," said Kedar Kondap, Vice President, Product Management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. "Snapdragon 855 Plus is our most advanced mobile platform to date and will build upon the success of the 2019 Android flagship Snapdragon 855 5G mobile platform."

Oracle Corporation (NYSE: ORCL) has embedded innovative technologies in every aspect of our cloud, enabling companies to reimagine their businesses, processes, and experiences. Recently, Betinvest LTD, an international gaming solutions provider, has bet on Oracle to monetize its innovative i-gaming digital services. With the ability to handle high transaction volumes common in the gaming industry, Oracle Monetization Cloudwill enable Betinvest to offer partners a single, agile system for handling their complex business needs while helping ensure compliance with international financial system standards. Betinvest provides a software platform that enables betting on more than 80 sports around the world. With 20 years of industry experience, the award-winning solution is developed and supported by hundreds of IT specialists, trading analysts and statisticians. Innovating in high-growth areas such as eSports, virtual gaming, mobile gaming and data feeds, Betinvest requires its technology tools to easily scale so the business can quickly launch new services using a variety of data formats. Operating with the promise of no downtime, the company delivers real-time data and accurate statistics to clients across Europe, North America, Asia and Africa. "As businesses innovate into the growing digital services arena, they require powerful monetization capabilities to handle high volume, real-time, complex transactions and integrate with third party solutions," said Doug Suriano, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Oracle Communications. "The gaming industry is one of many facing these challenges today. Betinvest and Oracle Monetization Cloud make a winning combination, and Betinvest can now deliver these flexible capabilities to its partners and players."

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