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ESPORTS HUDDLE: POKÉMON WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS 2021 CANCELLED

The Pokémon Company has announced that the Pokémon World Championships 2021 has been cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2021 event was originally scheduled to be held in London and The Pokémon Company has confirmed that 2022’s event will remain there.

“After careful review and pursuant to guidance set forth by local, regional, and national health authorities, as well as the World Health Organization, Public Health England, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention” the Pokémon Company said. “We have made the difficult decision to move out the next Pokémon World Championships to 2022. This event is planned to take place in London, UK.”

The cancellation of the World Championships means that all officially sanctioned smaller events, such as League Cup and Premier Challenge, are also suspended until further notice. TPC has confirmed all invitations to the 2020 World Championships, which were also cancelled due to COVID-19, will be honored for the 2022 event. 

“We are closely monitoring health mandates, guidelines, and recommendations from appropriate government agencies to determine when the resumption of events and operations will be safe for our communities,” TPC said. “We continue to examine each country on a case-by-case basis, informed by the latest updates and mandates issued by appropriate government recommendations and in consultation with medical experts.”

No date has been sent for the 2022 Pokémon World Championships.

Elsewhere, Riot Games CEO Nicolo Laurent is under investigation for gender discrimination. A court filing in Los Angeles County Superior Court by Sharon O’Donnell alleges that Laurent “harassed” O’Donnell, a former executive assistant at Riot, “based on her sex and gender.” The suit also alleges O’Donnell was forced to work overtime with no compenstation and that she was “wrongfully terminated” in June 2020.

In a statement to DailyEsports, Riot spokesperson Joe Hixson confirmed the investigation, saying, “In this case, because some of the claims relate to an executive leader, a special committee of our Board of Directors is overseeing the investigation, which is being conducted by an outside law firm.”

Elsewhere in competitive gaming:

WISE Ventures Esports Rebrands

WISE Ventures Esports, parent company of the Call of Duty League’s Minnesota Rokkr, has rebranded to Version1 and unveiled a new roster for the VALORANT Champions Tour. The VALORANT team is the third esports team to join Version1’s portfolio, joining the Rokkr and a Rocket League team. Version1’s VALORANT roster will include former Counter-Strike pros Ian “Immi” Harding, Anthony “Vanity” Malaspina, Jordan “Zellsis” Montemurro and Erik “Penny” Penny, as well as two former members of Gen.G’s VALORANT squad in Keven “PLAYER1” Champagne and Loic “Effys” Sauvageau. Version1’s first entry into the VALORANT Champions Tour will be the Challengers Weekend 2 Open Qualifiers beginning Feb. 11.

Nerd Street Gamers Secures $11.5M Investment

Nerd Street Gamers, a Philadelphia-based esports tournament organizer and esports infrastructure company, has secured an $11.5 million investment led by San Francisco-based firm Founder’s Fund. This is the second round of funding for NSG, the first including Five Below, Comcast Spectacor, and more. The funding, according to the official announcement, will go toward NSG’s “post-pandemic future,” which includes two flagship facilities in Philadelphia and Los Angeles as well as multiple in-store LocalHost gaming areas within Five Below stores across the country.

100 Thieves, Dollar Shave Ink Partnership

Dollar Shave Club has announced its first sports brand partnership, teaming with 100 Thieves ahead of the 2021 Call of Duty League season opener. The partnership will include the founding of the Dollar Shave Club Practice Facility at the 100 Thieves CashApp Compound in Los Angeles, as well as the DSC logo appearing on the official 100 Thieves COD League jersey.100 Thieves’ Call of Duty League season begins when the LA Thieves face the Minnesota Rokkr on Feb. 13.

Generation Esports, EA Team For Madden 21 Tournament

Generation Esports, a global esports organization, has partnered with EA for the 3rd N’ Long: A Dwight Freeney Challenge, an online Madden 21 event featuring Super Bowl XLI champion Dwight Freeney. Players between the ages of 13-35 will compete in online Madden 21 competition, with the winners eligible to receive Jordan brand sneakers designed by Freeney and assorted NFL memorabilia. “Since retirement, I have looked for ways to remain competitive, while simultaneously interacting with my community and this partnership does just that,” Freeney said. “3rd N’ Long integrates everything I stand for: Competition, community and wellness.” Prospective players can register for the competition now before it begins March 1.

Photo courtesy of The Pokemon Company International

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