Astralis could withdraw from BLAST CSGO tourneys over NEOM partnership - Dexerto

Astralis could withdraw from BLAST CSGO tourneys over NEOM partnership

Published: 11/Aug/2020 1:24 Updated: 11/Aug/2020 1:38

by Alan Bernal


Astralis have said they could withdraw from BLAST CSGO events over the tournament organizer’s ties with Saudi Arabian project NEOM, as fierce opposition to these types of deals grows.

CEO of the Danish esport org Anders Hørsholt told that the deal is “unacceptable” and condemned the partnership with Saudi Arabi, noting that “esports is and must be for everyone.” There has been a major wave of backlash toward esports entities tying themselves with the $500 billion project.

“We always want to solve this kind of problem directly with our partners and give them a fair chance to solve this in the right way,” Hørsholt said in a translated statement. “At the same time, however, we have made it clear that we can in no way stand up in a context where our brand, players or partners are connected with companies of this type, and we naturally expect Blast to find a solution.”

Since BLAST announced the deal, everyone from on-air talent to big names in the scene decried the move. Multiple teams participating in BLAST events have reportedly banded together to push the parent company to cancel its deal with NEOM, per HLTV.

Astralis have been a longtime fixture of BLAST events.

At least as far as Astralis goes, the Danish group said that their company nor players could align with partners that are tied to entities such as the ones backing the NEOM city.

On a practical level, if BLAST goes through with its partnership, Hørsholt’s statement would mean that Astralis could be missing from future events. That would be a massive blow to BLAST, seeing as those events have long been associated with Astralis and the team has been a major draw for audiences.

Both organizations used to be a part of the same company under RFRSH Entertainment, though Astralis parted ways from them in 2019.

BLAST has come under fire for its partnership with NEOM.

This comes on the heels of other esports companies announcing deals with NEOM that have been met with similar public dissent. Fans as well as industry figures contested the deals, primarily citing Saudi Arabia’s stance and actions against the LGBT community.

Riot Games recently overturned its deal with NEOM earlier in the month – although sources indicated that while the deal was nullified, there hasn’t been much change within the company despite Riot saying they were “committed to reexamining our internal structures to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

Astralis will wait to see if BLAST comes up with a resolution to this predicament involving NEOM, but lack of action could result in at least one team skipping their events.


BLAST announce Nubia mobile esports promotion at Premier Fall Series

Published: 23/Oct/2020 11:23

by Adam Fitch


Counter-Strike tournament series BLAST Premier has named Nubia Technology as its very first mobile phone partner.

Nubia’s gaming phone, the RedMagic 5S, will be advertised during the BLAST Premier Fall Series starting on October 26.

Not only will Nubia’s phone be shown through in-game branding, the technology company will host giveaways where fans can win their own RedMagic 5S and behind-the-scenes access to the tournament.

On-screen talent like Anders and Semmler will also get their hands on the phone.

BLAST Premier Fall Series with S1mple
The event will be played online but features teams from both Europe and North America.

While this partnership doesn’t include a mobile esports tournament it’s clear that BLAST are willing to embrace and encourage mobile gaming, which could be a sign of things to come in the future. They have been expanding their reach into new games in 2020, including Valorant and Dota 2, so perhaps a mobile title could be next.

“We are excited to showcase Nubia’s impressive RedMagic 5S gaming phone to the esports ecosystem via our global audience,” said Leo Matlock, BLAST’s commercial director. “This partnership is a strong fit with both brands sharing a major focus on innovation, technology and gaming – and with more and more people gaming and watching BLAST Premier on their phones every day – their product should be something that naturally resonates with our fans.”

All 12 teams in the BLAST Premier Fall Series will play from Europe, making for one of the first international Counter-Strike competitions since the first quarter of 2020.

The phone was designed with gaming in mind.

With events moving online in March due to the global health situation, Europe and American teams have typically been split up due to poor ping posing a threat to competitive integrity.

European sides Astralis, Natus Vincere, Ninjas in Pyjamas, G2 Esports, OG, Team Vitality, FaZe Clan, and BIG will face off against American teams Complexity, MIBR, Evil Geniuses, and FURIA at BLAST Premier.