With how wide the esports world is, it’s tough to pin down every marquee matchup and bit of esports news each week. Sometimes, those moments go beyond the competitive sphere and dip into streaming, general gaming and the business world, too. Esports is bigger than just the games we watch every day and the big thing you should take away from each week could pass you by if you’re not careful.
That’s where we come in. Every week, Upcomer’s staff comes together to select the five biggest W’s of the last week, whether they be a player’s performance, a new game release or something else. The goal: to get you caught up on esports news this week and get you ready for everything that comes next.
Here are our Five W’s for the week of May 31 to June 6.
TSM partners with FTX for $210 million, gives naming rights
One of the world’s oldest esports organizations went through a huge transformation over the past week.
After signing a 10-year, $210 million deal with cryptocurrency exchange FTX, TSM have officially changed their name to TSM FTX. All teams under the TSM banner will make changes to include the three new letters. TSM is known for its close partnerships with Lenovo and tech entities like the Blitz App, but none of those deals are as robust as this one.
Despite undergoing such a major change, the org’s flagship League of Legends Championship Series roster won’t make the shift. Due to some rules around jerseys, naming rights and promotions with crypto (and alcohol), the LCS broadcast will still refer to TSM by the org’s tried and true moniker. TSM fans can rest easy knowing that they won’t have to learn any new chants. But the deal’s size, despite these restrictions, makes such a historic deal all the more impressive.
With approximately $21 million a year flowing into the TSM coffers, fans can expect major level ups in every department. TSM founder and CEO Andy “Reginald” Dinh summed it up nicely.
“We’re going to be able to triple down on building the best teams, recruiting the best players and building more amazing content,” he said.
— Nick Ray
Hangzhou Spark homestand brings live events back to the Overwatch League
The Overwatch League’s localization effort was set to begin last year, with every match scheduled to play out in a different team’s home city. The pandemic cut that short, though, and the league has been without live events ever since.
This season, however, the league announced three weekends of live matches, each hosted in Chinese cities. China’s efforts at controlling the virus’ spread have been successful thus far, and esports leagues like the League of Legends Pro League have been able to continue with live crowds and in-person competition.
The Hangzhou Spark kicked off live events again this past weekend. The four other China-based teams attended and played matches in person, while the Korea-based teams continued to compete online. The home crowd was especially raucous during the close match between the Spark and the Chengdu Hunters, marking a triumphant return to live games for the Overwatch League after such a long drought. It certainly bodes well for the live matches set to take place in Shanghai and Guangzhou.
— Bonnie Qu
Offline Smash majors fill up in record time
After more than a year of dealing with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s terrible netcode, fans finally got to see another in-person American major, InfinityCON, last weekend. Now, offline fever is spreading like a wildfire throughout the community.
Riptide, a brand new Smash major, sold out within four hours of opening registration. In response, the tournament organizers worked with their venue to get more floor space, allowing them to increase the tournament’s maximum capacity without sacrificing their established safety guidelines. Unsurprisingly, the tournament hit its new cap a few hours after the beginning of the second registration period.
Likewise, more than 2,000 people had registered for CEO 2021 a couple hours after registration began last night. Of the 10 games featured, some of them have already reached their limit of 512 entrants, including Smash Ultimate and Guilty Gear Strive. Based on this turnout, it’s clear that Smashers are hungry for in-person competition. Any TO planning on running an offline event this year can be sure to expect a huge response from the Smash community.
— Dylan Tate
New York Subliner’s Makenzie “Mack” Kelley picks up the slack
The New York Subliners have had a huge Stage 4 in the Call of Duty League, and Makenzie “Mack” Kelley has been a huge part of that. He dropped 40 kills in two maps at the Florida Home Series, helping his team finish the weekend 2-0 with wins over the Empire and Mutineers. Mack knew he needed to step up with his teammate feeling under the weather.
“Woke up so sick today,” Paco “HyDra” Rusiewiez said in a Tweet, after narrowly beating Florida 3-2. “But my teammates are the GOATs.”
Mack’s other teammate, Obaid “Asim” Asim has also been dealing with problems outside the game. He’s had family trouble, problems getting from Toronto to Dallas to join his teammates before the in-person Stage 4 Major and plenty of hardware issues. There couldn’t have been a better time for Mack to step up, finish with an overall 1.27 Kill/Death ratio and support his teammates through a tough stretch.
— Aron Garst
IMT open 2021 LCS summer split with a 3-0 weekend
After a disappointing seventh place finish in the 2021 spring split, Immortals came out swinging with the 3-0 sweep in the opening weekend of 2021 Summer. IMT’s last perfect weekend came in Week 3 of the 2020 spring split.
Nothing feels better than talking trash and putting on a performance to back it up. Immortals top laner Moe “Revenge” Kodourra and coach Andre Guilhoto took to Twitter this weekend and went all out with their banter before the week’s matches.
Goodmorning, time to show how dumb FlyQuest was for using @SoloLCS instead of me last year in LCS
— Mo Kaddoura (@Revengeleague) June 5, 2021
Canceling today's draft meeting and just going to freestyle it since enemy coach is NA resident
— André Guilhoto (@AndreGuilhoto94) June 5, 2021
IMT’s fairly weak strength of schedule against FlyQuest, Golden Guardians and CLG doesn’t take away from the impressiveness of this 3-0. As a team looking to break into the top half of the league, statement wins against the other teams at the bottom are crucial. In IMT’s match against CLG on Sunday, June 6, bot laner Quin “Raes” Korebrits even broke the LCS record for highest gold differential at 15 minutes. He was 3,664 gold up over his lane opponent Jason “WildTurtle” Tran.
Immortals were the only other team alongside TSM FTX to win all their opening weekend matches. They ended Week 1 of Summer tied with Evil Geniuses in sixth place.