HT&E is partnering with IKON Media & Entertainment to create a new division and brand, HT&E Events. An announcement to the ASX this morning outlines the plans:
In its first venture, HT&E Events will create an Australian eSports business, Gfinity eSports Australia, launching Australia’s first city-based franchise league, The Elite Series.
A partnership with Gfinity Plc, Gfinity eSports Australia will deliver Australian gamers a clear and structured top-to-bottom competitive framework within Australian eSports. A competition for enthusiasts at all levels – from the amateur at home, to the eSports professional – it will for the first time offer a clear pathway between the two, as amateur players earn the right to compete alongside seasoned professionals. The Elite Series will see city-based franchise teams compete weekly at dedicated eSports venues, with each event broadcast live online and across other TV and media platforms.
As well as The Elite Series, a new online competition, The Challenger Series, will launch in Q3 this year. Open to all gamers, the Challenger Series will be the battleground for amateur players to compete against each other, to win the chance to play alongside the pros in The Elite Series. Selection for The Elite Series will take place via a player draft where the top-ranked amateur competitors from The Challenger Series will join professionals in a player pool, from which team owners will be asked to select their squads for the upcoming seasons. Each squad will have a defined number of professional and amateur players and be managed within fixed salary caps.
The founding franchise teams for Australia’s first city-based professional eSports league, commencing in Summer 2018, will be:
• Adelaide Photonics
• Brisbane Deceptors
• Melbourne Metattak
• Melbourne Rebolte
• Perth Subnets
• Sydney Blue Surge
• Sydney Opsydian
Regarding the new partnerships, HT&E chief executive and managing director, Ciaran Davis, said:
“We are very pleased to be partnering with IKON Media & Entertainment under the new banner of HT&E Events, which will house the eSports business and manage other niche events for Australian audiences. IKON brings to the table a depth of understanding and expertise in delivering experiences in sports, entertainment and media, making it the perfect partner as we move into this new area.”