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When live sports paused in March, sports-media outlets like ESPN looked to esports to fill some of the gaps.
The network covered championships, livestreaming contests on Twitch, and expanded into general gaming coverage.
So, some ESPN staffers were shocked when they were told earlier this month that the company was shutting down its esports division, as a part of a broader round of layoffs.
My colleagues Dan Whateley and Ashley Rodriguez spoke with laid-off employees and industry insiders about ESPN's abrupt exit.
"It was kind of shocking," one laid-off staffer said. "All of us working for esports thought we were working on building something that was very important for ESPN's future. We really showed that during the pandemic."
Ultimately, insiders said that business problems at ESPN beyond the pandemic got in the way.
Esports was a harder sell for sponsors than other major sports which had much larger followings at ESPN, two sources said.
An ESPN spokesperson declined to comment on the financials but said: "Our dedicated, daily esports coverage ultimately was unable to achieve the reach or scale to break through or make a meaningful impact, so we've made the decision to put resources elsewhere."
Though the spokesperson said ESPN would continue to cover esports in some capacity, insiders said they were skeptical the company could maintain a meaningful foothold.
"Esports is essentially over at ESPN because of the cuts they've made," a second laid-off staffer said.
Some mega YouTube creators like Carter Sharer and MrBeast are growing their channels and gaining millions of views by spending money on things that will "wow" their audience and drive clicks.
I spoke with Sharer about his filming and planning process.
Sharer's big-budget videos feature expensive stunts like filling a swimming pool with liquid nitrogen or building a massive trampoline tower.
For Sharer, a mansion with an Olympic-size swimming pool and a full-size tennis court also acts as a backdrop for his videos.
Recently, his team worked on a video series where they built a two-story store in the house. The total cost for the series was around $18,000, Sharer said, and the video has 694,000 views.
The founders of a TikTok influencer house share the exact 17-page media kit they use to get brand sponsorships
The "oldest house on TikTok," The HoneyHouse, is one of the many new influencer collab houses to spring up this year.
The house currently has eight members between the ages of 26 and 32, and is based in Los Angeles.
My colleague Sydney Bradley wrote that the house will rotate locations and members will only live in those houses for a 30-day period of time.
The group shared the 17-page media kit it uses to pitch brands and explained its pitching strategy, including how much it charges for sponsored content.
In the pitch, HoneyHouse includes a menu of sponsorship options, which range from $5,000 to $250,000.
An Amazon warehouse worker became TikTok famous after he uploaded videos of himself packing boxes.
Dan spoke with the worker, who is known as "The Packman123" on TikTok.
"I wanted to show my friends and family how I do my job," he said. "How packing is inside of Amazon."
ThePackman123 now has around 600,000 TikTok followers.
But he has run into problems with Amazon's HR over his TikTok account.
More creator industry coverage from Business Insider:
4 nano influencers explain how much money they charge for brand sponsorships (Sydney Bradley and Amanda Perelli)
Luxury fashion is surging on TikTok, but some brands face challenges (Sydney Bradley)
7 influencers share the media kits that got them brand sponsorships (Amanda Perelli, Dan Whateley, and Sydney Bradley)
This week from Insider's digital culture team:
Beauty fans are furious that Lisa Frank is collaborating with Morphe after they helped raise over $370,000 to create '90s-themed makeup that was never released
Lisa Frank is collaborating with Morphe on a colorful '90s-inspired makeup line.
Though many beauty enthusiasts said they were excited to relive their childhoods through the collection, others said it was a painful reminder of a past attempt at Lisa Frank makeup.
Amanda Krause from Insider reported that in 2017, an independent beauty brand raised over $370,000 to create Lisa Frank makeup — and when the deal fell through, thousands of backers were left without products, information, and the money they donated.
Several of those backers told Insider that they were furious at Lisa Frank for what happened and that they likely wouldn't support its newest makeup line.
More from Insider:
Here's what else we're reading:
Countries with PR problems are leveraging travel influencers for positive attention (Krithika Varagur, from Rest of World)
Where to find the young Biden and Harris family members on Instagram and TikTok (Kate Lindsay, from No Filter)
How TikTok has ramped up its sponsored challenges with brands like E.l.f. and Maybelline (Liz Flora, from Glossy)
ShopStyle predicts influencer sales will double for the holiday season (Alexa Tietjen, from WWD)
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