Hulu Adds eSports Coverage

Online television provider Hulu is adding four shows covering eSports contests, another sign that eSports coverage is becoming a hit on American TV screens. The shows are being developed by ESL gaming network. The shows offer a mix of content from eSports based talk shows to eSports tournaments recaps. In another eSports story, Malta has granted a gaming license to eSports betting platform Unikrn. The license allows Seattle-based Unikrn to serve European markets.

Hulu is entering the eSports industry through a partnership with ESL Gaming Network that will see four eSports based shows premiere on the online streaming provider.

The shows are a mixture of talk and analysis of eSports such as seen on networks covering live sports. According to a press release, they include: game-style talk show “Player v. Player”; “Bootcamp,” a docu-series following The Immortals, a top “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” team; “Defining Moments,” exploring a different eSports topic each week; and “ESL Replay,” a one-hour show recapping four big tournaments.

“ESports is one of the fastest-growing areas of media and entertainment, and through this first-of-its-kind deal with ESL we can now bring the popular world of eSports to Hulu,” said Lisa Holme, Hulu’s VP of content acquisition in the release. “Hulu subscribers, especially those who access the service on video-game consoles, are hungry for this type of content –so we’re excited to offer it on Hulu for the first time.”

ESL named Barry Hennessey, an Emmy-winning producer whose credits include CBS’s “The Amazing Race” and A&E’s “Born This Way” to produce the shows,

“ESports has such a rabid fanbase,” he said. “For ESL, the goal is to widen the scope of eSports as it migrates into mainstream entertainment. The shows are being produced for both hard-core eSports buffs, while also trying to be “accessible to video-game fans who aren’t necessarily familiar with ‘CS-GO’ tournaments.”

In another eSports story, Malta has granted a gaming license to eSports betting platform Unikrn. The license allows Unikrn to serve European markets.

The Seattle-based company said it will launch Unikrn EU, a joint venture with France-based RBP.

“For a little over a year, Unikrn EU has been working with the Malta Gaming Authority to acquire our new license,” said Rahul Sood, CEO of Unikrn in a press release. “Malta has some of the highest regulatory requirements and processes; they are by every measure the gold standard and one of the most respected authorities for responsible and ethical wagering.”

Unikrn has also just completed a crypto token sale which has helped the firm raise more than $30 million. The company said the sale was “single most successful and widely distributed token in the eSports and gaming industries.”

“The European expansion means there’s going to be a large and soon-growing marketplace of users, including the real-money transition of already established users, who want to buy, exchange and use our token to bet on our platform,” Sood said in a press release.

Unikrn offers real-money betting in Australia and the United Kingdom– where it also holds gambling licenses. The company had offered free betting in other jurisdictions with free tokens, which are now being retired with the release of UnikoinGold.

Finally, Antigua-based online eSports betting specialist Esports Entertainment Group said it is in negotiations to buy betting exchange software developer Ardmore Investments.

The company develops and owns the source code for betting exchange software used to create Esports Entertainment’s wagering platform and other gambling software. Esports Entertainment Group wants to purchase Ardmore in order to protect the source code from potential competitors, and to acquire a proven development team, the company said in a press release.

“Owning our bet exchange technology and acquiring the development team behind it significantly strengthens our position within the eSports wagering space. As we are on the verge of launching the world’s first, eSports bet exchange, the time was right to acquire the core technologies supporting our business model,” CEO Grant Johnson said in the release.

Esports Entertainment said it will issue 1,750,000 common shares and pay $250,000 for Ardmore, which is a Polish corporation with offices in Warsaw, Poland. The transaction is expected to close within the next four weeks, the release said.

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