From sponsorships to industry-wide announcements, Insider Sport has you covered when it comes to the world of esports. 

This edition takes a look at the growing esports betting landscape, Canada’s inclusion into FIFA’s global series, Faker becoming T1’s part-owner and CS:GO’s latest partnership agreement.

WINBET enhances its esports betting markets

Bulgarian sportsbook WINBET has officially announced UltraPlay will support the firm with its esports services.

As part of the deal, UltraPlay will enable esports coverage of competitive games, pre-match and live odds on WINBET’s website, offering extensive esports coverage for punters in Bulgaria.

Tsvetin Yordanov, CEO of WINBET commented: “WINBET is a brand that has always tried to offer the very best and diverse content to its clients. In adding esports to our betting portfolio, I saw an opportunity to expand our market share by satisfying a newly emerging client demand, while continuing to follow our ‘brand way’.”

Meanwhile, Mario Ovcharov, CEO of UltraPlay, added: “We are delighted to announce our new partnership with one of the leading licensed operators in Bulgaria. WINBET is a well-known and trusted brand with a rapidly growing sportsbook.”

UltraPlay is slowly becoming one of esports’ biggest betting solutions providers having previously worked with GG.bet, XBet, Buff88, and LOOT.bet, among others.

League of Legends star becomes part-owner of T1 

Esports superstar Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok has signed a new contract with T1 Entertainment & Sports, allowing him to become part-owner of the organisation.

The Professional League of Legends player will still play the game title for three more years before moving into a leadership role within the company. 

Faker emphasised: “I am excited to continue playing for T1 and am thankful for all the fans around the world who have supported me all these years. I am honoured to become a part owner of T1 and look forward to working with the leadership team beyond my playing career.”

Faker is considered one of the greatest esports professionals in the last 20 years and has been a part of T1 for his entire career.

Joe Marsh, CEO of T1 Entertainment & Sports, concluded: “T1 is thrilled to have Faker on its roster for the next three seasons.

“Even after Faker’s retirement, whenever that may be, he will begin the next chapter of his legacy in a leadership role with T1, helping to mould the next generation of elite esports athletes.”

Canada opts in on FIFA 20 expansion

Following the news of Atletico Madrid’s newest expansion team joining the Canadian Premier League, the competition’s organisers revealed a partnership with Electronic Arts (EA) to launch its own dedicated FIFA 20 league. 

The aptly named eCanadian Premier League is set to begin February 28th and will feature all eight clubs, whilst also serving as one of FIFA’s Global Series qualifiers.

David Clanachan, the commissioner of the Canadian Premier League commented: “Partnering with EA for the first all-Canadian eCPL league is another proud moment for us. Reaching the global audience through FIFA gamers and the esports competition is an incredible opportunity for us and in line with our mission to develop good young Canadian players and open the doors of opportunities in the world of professional football.”

Players will be competing for a prize pool of just under £10,000 (£9,843) and valuable qualifying points for the FIFA 20 Global Series Playoffs, with the victorious team taking £5,790.

ESL’s CS:GO partnership scheme comes into action

Esports organisers ESL has announced multi-year partnerships with 13 CS:GO teams, making them majority stakeholders in the ESL Pro League.

The ‘Louvre Agreement’ will provide the teams with benefits in ESL’s Pro Tour, with all partners earning a percentage of the revenue generated from tournaments in the tour.

Sebastian Weishaar, Chief Product Officer of ESL stated: “‘The Louvre Agreement,’ as we have grown fond of calling it, is a clear vote of confidence by the best teams in the world and their players to create the most valuable products.”

The teams that are signed to the agreement include Astralis, Complexity Gaming, ENCE, Evil Geniuses, FaZe Clan, Fnatic, G2 Esports, mousesports, Natus Vincere, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Team Liquid, Team Vitality, and 100 Thieves.

The ESL Pro League will feature up to 16 partner teams, with room for others to qualify through  competitions and invites based on the world rankings.

Esports player Igor Fraga wins F3’s 2020 Toyota Racing Series

In an unexpected turn of events, esports star and racing driver Igor Fraga has been crowned the F3 Toyota Racing Series champion.

Fraga’s monumental victory in the New Zealand Grand Prix at Manfeild means the driver has tasted success both on and off the racetrack. In esports Fraga claimed the inaugural Gran Turismo Nations Cup and became the McLaren Shadow Project champion last year.

The Japanese-born driver was included in Charouz’ squad for the 2020 F3 season and heading into the final race eight points behind Red Bull junior’s Liam Lawson.

After his victory Fraga stated: “I am very, very happy to succeed and it’s something really special. It is important to thank everyone who has been supporting me here.

“Obviously my parents, but also Gran Turismo who have since last year been crucial to my career. All of the M2 Competition guys have been working very hard to deliver a competitive car too.”