Ekstraklasa tasks Lagardère with maximising eSports' potential
The Ekstraklasa, Poland's top soccer league, has teamed up with Lagardère Sports Poland, an arm of the international sports marketing agency, to help commercialise and organise its eSports venture.
The pair have signed a letter of intent and the two parties are to work together to develop a format and business model for eSports.
Lagardère Sports Poland will work with the Polish league in organising the forthcoming edition of the eSports competition, and also “working out a model for how the virtual league could function at a high level, for the next few years.”
The agency “will be allowed to hold talks with potential sponsors and partners of this project.”
The Ekstraklasa has been running an eSports competition since last year when it launched the Ekstraklasa Cup, a domestic eSports competition based on Electronic Arts’ Fifa video game.
Marcin Animucki, chairman of the Ekstraklasa’s board, said: “We see a huge potential in eSports, that’s why we want to approach this topic professionally, and maximise the promotion of the league through virtual competitions. That’s why we chose to partner with one of the key global players in terms of sports marketing and eSports, and one with extensive experience. Together we want to create an attractive product for clubs, fans, but also for sponsors, advertisers, and broadcasters.”
Andrzej Placzyński, chairman of Lagardère Poland, added: “Ekstraklasa launching its own eSports league is an answer to the newest trends in sports marketing, and to the changes in the way people consume media.
“While working on a final format of the eSports Ekstraklasa we have not only analysed similar eSports projects already launched in France, Netherlands, and Australia as a benchmark, but we’re also taking into consideration the specification of the local market, and the needs and preferences of all kind of stakeholders of Ekstraklasa. I think it’s safe to say that this project is the missing element of Polish eSports.”
Lagardère has built an expansive eSports portfolio in recent years following deals with eSports teams H2K, SK Gaming and Team Roccat. The agency also has tie-ups with eSports company RFRSH Entertainment and Super Evil Megacorp, the video game publisher.
• Daniel Siegel, the former vice-president of worldwide licensing at Endeavor, the international sports and entertainment company formerly known as WME-IMG, has been named head of eSports licensing at Blizzard Entertainment, the developer of the popular Overwatch game.
In his new role, Siegel will be responsible for developing virtual and physical merchandising opportunities for the new Overwatch League, the franchise-based eSports competition.
Siegel left Endeavour in November last year having been vice-president of licensing for nearly 11 years.
Commenting on the appointment, Pete Vlastelica, president and chief executive Major League Gaming, Blizzard’s eSports arm, said: “Licensing and partnerships have become an increasingly important part of how the Overwatch brand is promoted and presented to eSports fans all over the world. We very much look forward to working with Daniel to create new ways for fans to connect with their favourite Overwatch teams and heroes.”
Siegel added: “There’s been such an overwhelming response for both real-world and virtual merchandise for the Overwatch League. But we haven’t even scratched the surface of what’s possible when it comes to creating an immersive, multiplatform experience for fans.”
• Hong Kong is to invest HK$300 million ($38 million) into technology and eSports over the next two years, according to the government’s latest budget.
The state will invest HK$200 million in Cyberport, the technology park, and a further HK$100 million into eSports-related projects.Sportcal