Former IMG eSports chief Sherman launches gaming studio
Tobias Sherman, the former head of eSports at Endeavour, formerly known as WME-IMG, the sports and entertainment company, has launched a new eSports venture.
Sherman’s Foundry IV gaming studio will aim to create a range of eSports-focused video game titles.
He will act as chief executive of the studio, which has already claimed to have received interest from various publishers.
Simon Abitbol, who also left Endeavour in July alongside Sherman and Lilia Russo Sherman, will act as chief technology officer of the company.
The studio has already received investment from MGM Resorts International, the leisure real estate giant, and is preparing to open a Series A round of financing.
In a statement announcing the venture, Sherman said: ”Historically, for publishers, eSports has been used as a marketing tool, always secondary to traditional game development.
"Franchise owners will gain an equity stake in every game we develop and all revenue streams associated, whether it's sales on PC, sponsor partnerships, media or the league itself.”
Abitbol added: ”We are creating a game with eSports being prioritised at the earliest DNA decisions, all while treating the community as a partner.
“We decided that in the best interest of the industry, it was wise to protect our IP to ensure we could execute on our vision, the right way. ... That does not rule out working with a publisher, though; it's just that there is no value in being beholden to one.”
In the summer, Sherman and several of his eSports team announced they would be leaving Endeavour after establishing the agency’s eSports division.
In 2015, WME-IMG purchased Global eSports Management, a video game talent agency which was co-founded by Sherman and Min-Sik Ko, who also joined the agency before becoming commissioner of ELeague, the eSports competition which is joint venture between Endeavour and Turner, the US broadcaster.
During his tenure, the agency also created Boomeo, an online eSports training platform, and advised on the sale of eSports teams Dignitas and Apex to the Philadelphia 76ers, of North American basketball’s NBA.
Meanwhile, the first shirt sponsor in the new franchise-based Overwatch League has been revealed.
Jack in the Box, the US fast food chain, has signed a multi-year deal to be the shirt sponsor of the Dallas Fuel, the Texas-based franchise owned by eSports organisation Team Envy.
The deal is a “multi-million dollar’ agreement, according to USA’s Forbes magazine.
Adrienne Ingoldt, director of marketing communications at Jack in the Box said: ”Entering the world of eSports is a natural fit for Jack in the Box as the platform aligns with the challenger spirit of the brand - a spirit that sidesteps conformity and celebrates the unconventional at every chance.
“We’re committed to sustaining a sponsorship program that looks beyond the current social and traditional advertising strategies to create a more fan-centric experience”