May 2, 2018: Why Professional Sports Leagues Are Tapping Into Esports, TIFF Programming Team Now Has More Women Than Men, New Petition Seeks to End Sexual Harassment at Music Festivals

By Ian Zelaya May 2, 2018, 8:45 AM EDT

1. WHY PROFESSIONAL SPORTS LEAGUES ARE TAPPING INTO ESPORTS: In an effort to compete with popular esports leagues and attract more advertisers, the N.B.A., N.F.L., and M.L.S. are partnering with video-game publishers to launch esports leagues of their own. Adweek: “But now professional sports leagues are beginning to partner with Twitch, as well as cable nets ESPN2 and Disney XD, and are ushering brands into the burgeoning esports space. With 2 billion gamers on the planet and 385 million interested in watching esports, gaming has huge potential. That’s why professional sports leagues like the NBA, NFL and MLS are working with video game publishers to build their own leagues and score some of the $906 million in revenue projected for this year, according to Newzoo, an esports market research firm. Pro sports leagues see two benefits from the new franchises: attracting a broader array of advertisers and building out their brands. MLS senior director of properties and events James Ruth said diving into the gaming space makes a lot of sense for the younger-skewing audience. Ruth said roughly 65 percent of avid MLS followers became fans of soccer by way of EA Sports’ FIFA, which is a higher percentage than those who became MLS fans by actually playing the sport. ... The NBA 2K League, which launches May 1 on the NBA 2K League Twitch channel, already counts Dell and Intel as advertisers. 'The NBA has a global reach, so combining our efforts to deliver a great on-court experience for both the professional esports players and viewers is a natural fit,' said Bryan de Zayas, director of marketing and esports at Dell Gaming and Alienware."

2. TIFF PROGRAMMING TEAM NOW HAS MORE WOMEN THAN MEN: The Toronto International Film Festival hasn’t revealed the lineup for the 2018 edition, but the programming team will have 12 women and nine men selecting films. The team selection is part of the Canadian film industry’s push to achieve equality by 2020. The Hollywood Reporter: ‘With new hires, TIFF will have 12 women and nine men as programmers this year. In a statement, the Canadian festival committed to “normalizing gender parity and equality for future generations.’ ‘With a clear understanding that there is still much more work to be done, TIFF intends to continue its strong representation of women in the festival programming team,’ the festival added. Hiring more women programmers follows Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's federal government in Ottawa unveiling its own ambitious drive to achieve gender parity in the domestic film sector by 2020. Canada's push for gender parity aims at undermining long-standing perceptions that women face discouraging barriers to entering the local film industry, especially when it comes to directing big-budget movies. In its latest hires, Toronto promoted Danis Goulet to program Canadian features, while Lisa Haller is elevated to replace Goulet as co-programmer for the short cuts sidebar.”

3. NEW PETITION SEEKS TO END SEXUAL HARASSMENT AT MUSIC FESTIVALS: Social networking site Care2 has launched a new petition to eliminate sexual harassment at music festivals. Teen Vogue: “The Care2 team is asking organizers of festivals like New York City's Governor's Ball and Outside Lands in San Francisco to institute a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment and assault at their festivals by creating a plan to address it. As of Tuesday, May 1, the petition had garnered more than 28,000 signatures—nearing the 30,000 goal. The petition cites a report by Teen Vogue that highlighted how rampant the issue is at Coachella, an annual music festival in Indio, California. ‘The culture at music festivals has to change. From coast to coast, music festivals must ensure that they are safe spaces for all and that people know how to get help if they need it,’ the petition says. ‘Please sign this petition demanding that organizers of Outside Lands and the Governor's Ball create a zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment and assault and outline their plans to address it.’ While the Care2 petition points out the some festivals are aware of and address the issue, not all do, and that's what they want to change. Of the 54 women Teen Vogue editor Vera Papisova interviewed at Coachella about sexual harassment, every single one of the had experienced harassment themselves.”


ATLANTA:  PR firm Lucky Bird Media has appointed Jake Lanier partner and senior publicist. 

CHICAGO:  The fourth edition of the Pilsen Food Truck Social will take place June 9-10 on 18th Street. 

LOS ANGELES:  This year's E3, which runs June 12-14 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, will feature a 7,500-square-foot esports arena. 

Fabrizia Cannalonga has joined the LA Auto Show/AutoMobility LA team as vice president of strategic marketing and communications.

Event furniture rental company FormDecor has announced a change in ownership: Fritz Williams, founder and president, has acquired full ownership of the company with new partner Sebastian Russell. 

For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner:

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  Deliver the Dream, a nonprofit that provides healing retreats to families with a member who has a serious illness, will host its sixth annual Red Hot Party May 10 at Hunters in Fort Lauderdale. The event will benefit the organization's first-ever L.G.B.T. youth retreat. 

NEW YORK:  The fifth annual Vulture Festival, taking place May 19-20 at Milk Studios, has announced additions to its lineup. New panels will feature Ryan Murphy, Wendy Williams, Jonathan Groff, and Johnny Knoxville. 

For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner:

TORONTO:  Collision, the North American sister conference of Web Summit, is moving to Canada. The tech conference will take place May 20-23, 2019, in Toronto. 

The inaugural Greenwood Stakes, a new horseracing and style festival taking place May 26 at Woodbine Racetrack, has announced its programming. Events will include the Style Stakes Best Dressed Awards, the Cocktail Jockey Showcase, and a pop-up art gallery. 

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With contributions from Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, and Ian Zelaya in New York.

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