Update: #2: At the end of October on the OpTic Podcast, Scump and OpTic Gaming CEO Hector “H3CZ” Rodriguez talked about the Esports World Cup and the content creator’s plans to advertise the event. Both spoke positively about the event, with Rodriguez noting that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince MBS “had a nice face.” Comment begin are around the 48:09 time stamp in the video:
Update #1: On Saturday, we stumbled across a YouTube Short from Scump enthusiastically endorsing the Esports World Cup, ending the video by saying “… and maybe they’ll invite me… The biggest esports event in history, you know that sounds pretty enticing. I might have to show up.”
It illustrates that this endorsement is being directly handled by Scump and that it wasn’t just a Twitch chat-focused deliverable. It is unclear whether this deal was through his agency, a different agency that represents the Esports World Cup Foundation, or directly with the Saudi Esports Federation.
Original Story: On Thursday afternoon, a tipster (who goes by the nickname “MAHIR” on X/Twitter) informed The Esports Advocate that it appeared as though former Call of Duty professional player and OpTic Gaming-aligned CoD content creator Seth “Scump” Abner was promoting the Saudi government Public Investment Fund-backed Esports World Expo on Twitch. The tipster shared a saved screenshot of the message that was allegedly being promoted, which can be found here.
Clearly, the captured message by itself on imgur was not enough of a confirmation that an ad for the Esports World Cup was being promoted by Scump and/or his moderators in chat, so we spent some time watching the live stream on Thursday afternoon, and saw it pop up in real-time multiple times, as captured here:
MAHIR captured a similar shot from the Thursday stream:
And the following clip shows Scump talking to chat even as the ad is being displayed on the right side of the screen:
We also noticed that—if this is in fact a sponsored ad and was endorsed by Scump—it did not contain the #AD tag as required by Federal Trade Commission rules on disclosures. From the FTC website:
If you endorse a product through social media, your endorsement message should make it obvious when you have a relationship (“material connection”) with the brand. A “material connection” to the brand includes a personal, family, or employment relationship or a financial relationship – such as the brand paying you or giving you free or discounted products or services.
On Thursday afternoon, after confirming that the ad was in fact being deployed in the Twitch live steam chat, TEA reached out to Scump’s talent management agency of record—Underscore Talent—for comment and/or confirmation that Scump was promoting the event. The ad in question also contained an affiliate link (https://esportswcgg.com/scrump) which redirects to this website and the url contains the terms “EWC awareness campaign” and “influencers.”
Underscore Talent and OpTic Gaming–who we also reached out to prior to the publication of this story—did not respond to our requests for comment, as of this writing.
The Esports World Cup was announced on Oct. 23, by the leader of Saudi Arabia, HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud (commonly referred to as HRH Crown Prince MBS, or just MBS) at the New Global Sport Conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The multi-discipline esports competition will be hosted in Riyadh at a date to be determined sometime in Summer 2024 and is owned and operated by the Saudi Esports Federation.
According to organizers, the Esports World Cup will be a multi-title competition held on an annual basis, but precise details on which publishers, game makers, and teams (save Guild Esports, who announced online that it was excited to participate) will be involved. The event will replace the Saudi Esports Federation’s other big event, Gamers8, which featured an overall prize pool of more than $45M USD this year.
This is a developing story and will be updated when more information becomes available…