Leading sports and esports investment and advisory firm Guinevere Capital and world renowned esports team Cloud9 announced their strategic partnership today. The partnership centres around Kings Row LLC (a Cloud9 subsidiary which is home of the Overwatch League team London Spitfire and Overwatch Contenders Team British Hurricane) and aims to deepen the team’s operational capacity in the UK and Europe. The partnership will start immediately in order to build the foundations for 2021, when the Spitfire anticipate live events will return, in order to connect to the UK community and develop local commercial partnerships. The strategic partnership demonstrates Cloud9’s dedication to the UK esports fanbase and commitment to building a best in class business around Spitfire. For Guinevere the partnership signifies the opportunity to expand their portfolio into Europe and will see them support two of the biggest UK franchises, London Spitfire and Excel Esports.
Guinevere Capital brings together the traditional sports and esports worlds both from a performance and commercialisation standpoint and aims to develop local esports ecosystems. The company spans Australia, New Zealand and Europe and is widely known for their investment in British organisation Excel Esports having supported the team’s successful application into the League of Legends European Championship and the creation of the teams performance center at Twickenham Stadium. Guinevere also set up the Esports High Performance Centre in the Sydney Cricket Ground and have plans in the pipeline for a third stadium facility. Headed up by Dave Harris who has over eleven years experience across traditional sports including football, rugby and cricket, the partnership with Cloud9 will see Guinevere bring their expertise in sports to secure commercial opportunities for London Spitfire while also amplifying the firm’s ambition for developing the European esports ecosystem.
Guinevere will be joined by UK esports industry leader, Duncan McMonagle, formerly the Senior Vice President and General Manager of esports for Minute Media, Duncan’s expertise spans media, marketing and commercialisation of the esports space. His focus will be on partnerships across brands, stakeholders, personalities and community groups. Duncan joins the Guinevere team alongside Jason Spiller, who has extensive experience building gaming and esports brands and marketing having held roles at Microsoft & OMEN by HP. Jason joins the team with a primary focus on building connections with local fans and will be creating regular weekly content for fans across the UK and Europe. The newly formed team will leverage their connections as well as operational and commercial experience in the UK and European market to generate new opportunities. Players and performance staff will continue to be based in Korea but the division of resources will help to form a new structure for the organisation to maximise opportunities in 2021.
London Spitfire and British Hurricane have been two of the best performing teams in the league, with Spitfire making history as the inaugural winners of the first Overwatch League Grand Finals in 2018 and Hurricanes currently on a winning streak and a shining example of European talent. The partnership is designed to shine a spotlight on talent and the success of the competitive side of the organisation encouraging more visibility, engagement and opportunity. The partnership will see the newly formed team elevate British Hurricane, illustrating the competitive pipeline available for European players while also generating regular content for fans by leaning on British personalities. The team will create local events and forge partnerships with universities to connect with the community and grassroots scene.
“When Cloud9 made the decision to invest in Overwatch League, we knew taking on live events, marketing, and commercial operations in the UK would be a challenge. When we connected with the team at Guinevere, their backgrounds in traditional sports, media, and esports in Europe, this convinced us that they’d be the right partner to build the business with,” said Dan Fiden, President of Cloud9. “Local support will ensure the team grows from a commercial and community standpoint. The city-team process has been very successful in generating local fan bases that go beyond esports. It’s important for us to work with a partner that understands the city-based structure and how to maximize the potential this can offer. For London Spitfire to develop strong connections to fans and partners having local support is vital.”
“There is huge potential in the UK esports scene which is still under-developed when you compare it to the rest of the world. For Guinevere, the opportunity to work with London Spitfire will allow us to work across two major British brands, cementing ourselves within the region,” said David Harris, Managing Director of Guinevere Capital. “My background is in traditional sports which has a great deal of synergy with the vision behind city-based esports teams and structures. My ambition is to help develop the UK and European esports ecosystem and to help organisations such as London Spitfire and British Hurricane, two immensely talented teams, stand out from the crowd, have their voice heard amongst the community and to gain the attention of brand partners.”
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