1. MICHAEL JORDAN INVESTS IN ESPORTS INDUSTRY: Basketball legend Michael Jordan is backing an esports startup. Jordan is joining an investor group putting $25 million into Axiomatic Gaming, a company that owns professional-gaming franchise Team Liquid. Bloomberg: “The round is being led by Jordan, investing through his family office, and Declaration Capital, the family office of Carlyle Group billionaire co-founder David Rubenstein. Axiomatic was formed in 2015 to capitalize on the esports industry, which features professional video-game players competing for prize money in front of often-huge audiences. The following year it acquired a controlling stake in Team Liquid—a business now worth about $200 million, according to recent valuations by Forbes. That would make it the third-most-valuable esports franchise in the world. Axiomatic, which was part of Walt Disney Co.’s 2017 accelerator program, also has invested in esports coaching platform Gamer Sensei and local tournament organizer Super League Gaming. Axiomatic didn’t disclose the size of Jordan’s investment, nor the other investors in the round. Though esports remains tiny compared with traditional sports leagues, it’s expected to generate about $906 million this year, according to research firm Newzoo. Team Liquid got an early foothold in the industry nearly two decades ago in South Korea, where the popularity of StarCraft contests turned video gamers into well-paid celebrities. In more recent years, competitions have spread to the U.S. and beyond, packing audiences into venues like Madison Square Garden.” https://bloom.bg/2D86g4E
2. WWE WILL HOLD WRESTLING EVENT IN SAUDI ARABIA: The WWE is moving ahead with its scheduled Crown Jewel wrestling event in Saudi Arabia on November 2. The media and entertainment company confirmed it would take place in a third-quarter earnings report released Thursday. The event, slated to occur at King Saud University Stadium in Riyadh, is being criticized for taking place in the country during the investigation of the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. ESPN: "'WWE has operated in the Middle East for nearly 20 years and has developed a sizable and dedicated fan base. Considering the heinous crime committed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the company faced a very difficult decision as it relates to its event scheduled for November 2 in Riyadh,' WWE said in the report. 'Similar to other U.S.-based companies who plan to continue operations in Saudi Arabia, the company has decided to uphold its contractual obligations to the General Sports Authority and stage the event. Full year 2018 guidance is predicated on the staging of the Riyadh event as scheduled.' ... Several U.S. government officials, including Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal (from Connecticut, where WWE is based), Bob Menendez (New Jersey), Lindsay Graham (South Carolina) and Chris Coons (Delaware) had encouraged WWE to postpone the event or reconsider its relationship with Saudi Arabia. In March, WWE announced a 10-year strategic multiplatform partnership in support of Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia's social and economic reform program. That partnership was part of an effort by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who also moved to bring boxing, Cirque du Soleil, a movie theater, and other Western-style entertainment to the region." https://es.pn/2ONyisK
3. THIS MUSIC FESTIVAL CAN RETURN TO LONDON—IF IT BANS 'VULGAR SONGS': The Wireless music festival has been granted permission to return to Finsbury Park in London, but only if it bans swearing during performances. New conditions of the event also include sound level limits, imposed by the local council after members of a residents’ group complained. The Guardian: “Largely featuring music of black origin, such as grime, hip-hop, and rap, the north London festival attracts almost 50,000 people each day, and has been headlined recently by Skepta and Chance the Rapper. Stormzy was the main attraction this year, but if the Croydon-born rapper returns he will have to censor his breakthrough track Shut Up, which contains five swear words, or Wireless could face penalties and may not be allowed to return. The new rules request that performers 'do not sing or play any vulgar, obscene, or banned songs or carry out indecent acts or make any vulgar gestures, actions, or remarks during the performance.' In a complaint made to Haringey Council, campaigners said the festival brought anti-social behaviour to the area, with open drug dealing, vomiting on streets, and excrement on doorsteps seen in previous years. Tom Palin, a director of Friends of Finsbury Park, said locals last year 'could not get any peace' and he personally knew of 10 people who had moved out of the area as a result of the disruption each year. The ban, which is likely to be difficult to enforce, was criticised on social media for effectively censoring music and introducing rules that might not be applied to indie and rock festivals." https://bit.ly/2PqT2FY
* LOCAL NEWS *
AUSTIN: Tres Events has appointed Myra Adkins director of events. Adkins was formerly general manager of Word of Mouth Catering.
GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN: The Association of Association Executives has rebranded its congress as the Associations World Congress & Expo. The event will refocus on the participation of suppliers by introducing exhibitors that can meet the needs of delegates provided on registration. The event will take place April 7-9, 2019, at the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre.
GREENVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA: The Avett Brothers will headline the Concert for Hurricane Florence Relief on November 13 at Minges Coliseum.
LONDON: Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants has opened Kimpton Fitzroy London, its first U.K. property. The hotel has 334 rooms and nine event spaces, the largest of which can hold 400 guests.
LOS ANGELES: The 25th annual Hemp Industries Association conference (HIACON) will take place November 2-5 at the Hilton Los Angeles Airport Hotel.
For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner: http://www.masterplanneronline.com/losangeles
MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA: VaynerMedia’s second annual Agent2021 digital marketing and social media conference will take place January 17, 2019, at the Hard Rock Stadium.
NEW YORK: The Meatpacking District’s Harvest Fest has been rescheduled to November 3, due to the Nor’easter hitting the East Coast this weekend. The outdoor market and fair will have a dog runway show, D.I.Y. crafts, face painting, dance classes, and more.
Foundation for the Arts & Film will hold the inaugural New York City TV Festival November 2-3 at the Dolby Theater & Screening Room NYC.
The Humane Society of the United States’ To The Rescue! Gala will take place November 9 at Cipriani 42nd Street.
The Breast Cancer Research Foundation raised $2.5 million at its annual Symposium and Awards Luncheon on Thursday.
For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner: http://www.masterplanneronline.com/newyork
TORONTO: The third annual Holiday Fair in the Square will take place December 1-23 at Nathan Phillips Square. The holiday event brings awareness to local charity Epilepsy Toronto.
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With contributions from Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, and Ian Zelaya in New York.
BizBash Daily is the must-read digest of event industry news from BizBash.com.
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