Professional eSports Company ESL Postpones 2020 Tournament, Along With $1M Purse

Professional eSports competitors vying for the $1 million purse that was to be awarded at this weekend's ESL One Los Angeles 2020 tournament had to hit the pause button when their event at the Shrine Auditorium was postponed due to the coronavirus. But the amateurs slated to compete in the undercard ESL Mobile Open, presented by AT&T, will still have their shot at gaming glory.

They'll just have to compete from their homes, and without a live audience.

The finalists have been competing since the qualification stage of play at the beginning of this year. The ensuing playoff round will culminate with this weekend's championship. ESL, which will provide analysis and color commentary for online viewers, is a German company founded in 2000 that operates and produces eSports competitions and leagues for numerous game publishers.

Competitors will be playing Clash of Clans, Asphalt 9: Legends, Dota Underlords and PUBG Mobile. The ESL Mobile Open will be completing its fourth season. The first three seasons reportedly yielded more than 600,000 registrations, with over $330,000 in prize money awarded. According to sources, ESL will distribute $400,000 to successful teams over the next three seasons.

Onlookers will find the viewership data for this weekend's event an interesting barometer of two ongoing eSports trends.

First is how viewing habits are evolving in real time amid the coronavirus fallout. With professional sports leagues gone dark, eSports has an opportunity to accelerate its growth by bringing in viewers hungry for competitive content.

Second is the trajectory of mobile gaming. The increasingly glamorous world of professional eSports has hitherto been mostly confined to PC-oriented games. Mobile gaming, meanwhile, has been considered more amateurish, with tournaments like ESL Mobile Open viewed as a potential onramp for ambitious gamers hoping to break into the higher ranks. But mobile, sources say, has been gaining prestige among players, fans and gaming companies.

This weekend's event should provide clues about how both of these trends may develop. Game on.

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Jonanthan Skogmo, Founder & Chief Executive Officer at Jukin Media

Jonanthan Skogmo

Jonathan Skogmo is Founder and CEO of Jukin Media. Under his leadership, the company has grown to more than 170 employees with offices in Los Angeles, New York, London, and New Delhi. Jukin is the world's first media company that's powered entirely by user-generated video content. Skogmo has been named to The Hollywood Reporter's Next-Gen 35 Under 35 list, the Cynopsis "Digital It" list, and the Multichannel News 40 Under 40 list; in April 2016 he was dubbed the "King of Viral Video" by VideoInk.With more than a decade of industry experience, Skogmo has produced more than two hundred hours of linear TV programming for networks such as FOX, MTV, Discovery, TruTV, and Channel 5 (UK).

Skogmo's industry affiliations include The Producer's Guild of America (Co- Chair of the Online Video Committee), The Young Presidents' Organization (Malibu Chapter), and the Association of Media Content Users and Providers. He was a finalist in the 2019 EY Entrepreneur of the Year program for the Greater Los Angeles region. He holds a degree in Film and Television from Columbia College. He resides in Los Angeles.

Alyssa Limperis, Actress, Writer and Comedian

Alyssa Limperis

Alyssa has been featured on Conan, Last Week Tonight, Ellen Digital, Netflix's Aunty Donna's House (premiering in 2020), MTV News Need to Know and Fox Sports. This year she was the lead in the indie feature Too Late alongside Fred Armisen and Mary Lynn Rajskub, the lead in the indie short Brandi Finds God directed by Gonzalo Cordova and a supporting role in Just Chicken alongside Josh Ruben and David Ebert. She also voiced multiple characters on The Last Degree of Kevin Bacon on Spotify. You can find her writing in the New York Times, Into the Gloss, Riposte Magazine and Reductress. She was named Best Online Sketch Performer by the New York Times and was written up by Decider, Forbes, Vice, the Providence Journal, Middlebury Magazine and Vulture. Alyssa performs stand up all over the country and has a UCB podcast with May Wilkerson called Crazy; in Bed.

Sam Blake, Entertainment Reporter @ dot.LA

Sam Blake

Prior to joining dot.LA, he had a writing fellowship with The Economist, where he wrote primarily for the business and finance sections of the print edition. Sam previously interned at KCRW and hosted a podcast at UCLA's college radio station while completing his dual-degree MBA and Master's in Public Policy. A native of Detroit, Sam previously lived in Madison, Wisconsin and New York City. He studied history at the University of Michigan and speaks four languages.

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