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Creating an eSports Organization (Part 1)

Seeing as though I really love business, and I also really do enjoy gaming, an eSports organization is really one of those things that I think appeals to many people. Especially people that have that entrepreneurial attitude. They look around, they really enjoy gaming, and see all of these other organizations doing really well. “Why can’t I do that?”, you might ask.

The truth is, you can! You don’t have to have an outrageous budget (although that would certainly help). The thing about most entrepreneurs is that they don’t have to be the best at everything they do, they just have to have a passion for something and recognition of what they are good at. I think Mark Cuban is a perfect example here. I love the show Shark Tank, and every time I watch it I can’t help but think, “These people aren’t the smartest, they were just passionate about something and with a little bit of luck mixed in with decent business sense, they were successful”. Mark Cuban regularly on the show talks to other entrepreneurs and tells them that while other people may think their idea is stupid, to keep going after what their passionate about.

Starting an eSports organization like I have heard so many people talk about doing is really no different. People are going to look at you like you are crazy. I’m sure those faces behind those screenames like coL.1, Torbull, SirScoots, and other names that you would associate with the most prominent gaming teams would definitely say that they have had some odd looks from people when they were telling them what they were doing. I am sure they would also tell you that it wasn’t always easy!

Lets take a step back look at what these names bring to the table, and I strongly believe they are all different from one another. Let me just say that I don’t know these guys personally, this an outside perspective looking in. I don’t think they would disagree though!

coL.1

I think one thing you can’t mistake with complexity gaming’s team is that the face behind the brand, coL.1, is a very passionate individual. I remember watching footage of him back in the day on the Championship Gaming Series screaming and hollering for his players. I have seen him do it in person at a few events around the Dallas area before. While I have never spoken to the man individually, I know a little bit about his history. The guy is a smart business man, but he is also a fairly wealthy individual. He has a law degree and back in the boom era of eSports he was using his monetary value to help sustain his passion for gaming and his eSports organization. He is and was considered one of the pioneers in professional gaming. What he brought the table was two fold, passion and money.

coL.1 was smart in that he didn’t try to build his website himself. His value was in his monetary value. People knew that he could financially support the team to LAN events, with or without sponsors aiding in it. That attracted the best talent to his team, and he used his money in ways that helped progress the team and brand for the long term.

Torbull

Craig Levine, also known as Torbull, is still a guy within the scene. He actually has founded and manages ESEA. He also drives a business that will help market businesses to the gaming industry. However, before he was doing all of this, Craig Levine was the face of Team 3D, probably to date the most recognized Counter-Strike organization in its history.

Torbull, from what I know of him, was always the more quiet and reserved type. He wasn’t like coL.1 in any fashion when I saw him at CPL 2004. Instead, he had more of the typical gamer look and feel to him. Rather reserved, quiet, not very outgoing, the nerdy type (no offense). But what he brings to the table is his technology experience. The guy obviously knows how to do advanced technology things. I’m sure he was the guy who built one of the more popular esports website out there at the time, Team 3D, and went on to build a brand over at ESEA and was a pioneer with the Championship Gaming Series. The guy knows how to build a brand, and it was more likely with his mind, not his money or outgoing antics.

SirScoots

SirScoots I came across not too long ago. I had heard of Evil Geniuses back in the day, but until Starcraft II really had taken off recently, I wasn’t too much aware of the name. Then, I came across several podcasts, such as “Inside the Game” and “Live on Three” over at OneMoreGame.tv. I not only found myself enthralled by what SirScoots had to say, but found myself following him on twitter and listening to everything he put out there on the internet. What I picture SirScoots bringing to the table that is different than both Torbull and coL.1 is his ability to really dive head first into social marketing.

Beyond anyone else out there right now, SirScoots pretty well dominates every other popular organization when it comes to social marketing. He even brought on a couple of guys on board that was like-minded to him. He brought on the highly controversial and also very outspoken players idra and iNcontroL. iNcontroL isn’t even that phenomenal of a Starcraft II player. He did place decently well in one of the MLG events last year, but most of the events he participated in he got throttled by the higher caliber opponents. With that said, SirScoots knew what he was doing. These players are outspoken, they are actively a part of the community, people listen to them (whether it is to talk trash to them or to legitimately hear what they have to say) and in the end this all brings attention to the overall brand, Evil Geniuses.

Evil Geniuses to date is considered by most to be the most prominant eSports organization. They have overtaken a lot of the big names that still exist out there, and for good reason. Sponsors realize that they bring views and attention, and with that comes the money needed to get to events. Evil Geniuses has such good backing from their sponsors, they even own a gaming house where Starcraft II players play year around under the same roof to improve their skills. This is no dinky house either! All this comes from the marketing and social media rockstar platform that Evil Geniuses has built up under the guidance of a very smart marketing minded SirScoots.

All in all, for part one, I want you to think about what you bring to the table. You don’t have to be like others, but be realistic. In what ways are you different? Is there a skill, talent, or some form of knowledge that you bring that sets you apart from others trying their luck in this industry? Is there something you can bring that will make you the best at whatever is that you do? Don’t stray from that, own it! Part 2 is coming soon!

2 Responses to “Creating an eSports Organization (Part 1)”

  1. Until membership/activity in the organization is monetized these leagues are just hobbies for the administration and players in them. I think you’ve done a fantastic job to date and hope you continue what you are doing. The “boom” era of e-sports coincided with the dot com bubbles, anything that resembled a business plan was getting backed by drunken venture capitalists that thought anything related to the internet would turn into gajillions of dollars. Fast forward to today and you better be able to show some realistic cash flows to get any sort of backing —- to do that you need to monetize. This is no different than game publishers going for micro transactions and DLCs etc.

  2. Brian says:

    I definitely agree with the above poster, leagues such as the WCG are a dying breed when cash flows are mostly relied upon sponsorships. I am testing out a new business model in Asia for an eSports Organization and league which shall be able to defray from gavin to rely on sponsorships as the main source of cash flow. If any of you is up for further discussion on this matter. Don’t hesitate to contact me.

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