ReKTGlobal, which launched today, has some big plans. It’s aiming to ‘bridge the gap between traditional sports and esports’ and it’s going about this all guns blazing.
We’ve already seen ReKTJobs and ReKTUniversities in 2016, but under the new global umbrella, there’s a plethora of new services being plugged in. These are ReKTVenues, ReKTAgency, ReKTMedia and ReKTLive which’ll mean the company can offer media production and live events services.
The company also has major plans in terms of mergers and acquisitions, with Co-Founder Amish Shah telling us they aim to add ten to fifteen companies to the group within the next year.
Shah has also invested in and around the gaming space for instance in Team EnVyUs and in casino focused video game gambling machine creator GameCo.
We spoke to Amish at length to see what they have in-store.
Esports Insider: Can you give us a quick overview of ReKTGlobal, the plans and who is involved?
Amish Shah: At ReKTGlobal, Inc our mission is to build the infrastructure around the esports ecosystem bridging the gap between traditional sports and esports.
ReKTGlobal, Inc is the parent company, with subsidiaries including: ReKTVenues, ReKTLive, ReKTAgency, ReKTJobs, ReKTUniversity, ReKTMedia and ReKTVentures. I’m the Founder/Chairman and Dave Bialek is a Co-Founder and CEO. We also have Kevin Knocke as VP of Esports, Ryan Griffin Esports specialist, Chris Steele and Chris Golden from Sterling Select (a division of Sterling Equities) and Charles Baker is Counsel to round out the team as it stands.
“Our mission is to build the infrastructure around the esports ecosystem bridging the gap between traditional sports and esports”
We have investors from the sports, media and entertainment industry involved and a roll up strategy to have ten to fifteen companies within the next six to twelve months under the ReKTGlobal brand as we aim to be a leader in the esports and gaming space.
ESI: One interesting part of ReKTGlobal is ReKTVentures which’ll be looking into esports related mergers and acquisitions. Which sort of opportunities are you looking into? Do you see any real value in team ownership?
Amish: At ReKTGlobal we want to acquire companies that fit our mission and open up other subsidiaries under the parent company with a roll up strategy.
“We have investors from the sports, media and entertainment industry involved and a roll up strategy to have ten to fifteen companies within the next six to twelve months under the ReKTGlobal brand”
We’ve looked at over 30 companies in the past month and are in deep talks with a few of them who both love our vision and fit into our mission to build the top esports infrastructure company.
Some of these companies have little or no revenue and some have as much as $10m (£7.8m) in revenues and are leaders in their space. We’re looking at everything from brand agencies, media/content production, events companies to data/analytics, VR/AR startups and merch companies.
Regarding team ownership, the value I feel was 12-18 months ago as right now valuations are inflated. We’re going to see a lot more traditional sports owners buying big stakes into esports teams and a lot of owners have no idea what they are getting themselves into but it’s the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) aspect. We’re hoping to help them solve that problem since our exec team has years of experience selling to the traditional sports owners in pro sports so they can trust we’ll help them navigate to maximize ROI with our solutions.
ESI: ReKTVenues will be focused on connecting venue owners with esports by way of making use of their facilities on dark nights. You’ll first be looking to the sports stadiums opportunity here…what are the options and challenges in regards to say a baseball stadium hosting an esports tournament? Have you gauged much interest from teams so far?
Amish: ReKTVenues has already spoken to numerous pro sports stadium/arenas and non sports venues about how we can renovate their existing space and attract more millennials by holding esports related events.
“Regarding team ownership, the value I feel was 12-18 months ago as right now valuations are inflated”
We have a value prop taking existing spaces they have available inside and outside of the venue to create an innovative gaming experience. This will help the pro sports owners build a following locally to attract more youth and build the community around it. Some teams are ready to go “all in” to activate our ReKTClubs and ReKTLounges and have a year round experience but some are more conservative and want to start small.
We feel confident we’ll be able to help them bring esports and gaming to their venues in the right way. This will also open up more revenue channels and sponsors and an audience they never were able to attract in the past.
ESI: Which other types of venues do you think are primarily suited to hosting esports tournaments? Will you be working with third party tournament organisers or will ReKT deliver everything themselves?
Amish: We’re currently speaking to venues of numerous sizes; those that hold 500-750 people to those who can host 5,000-10,000. They all want to have some type of esports or gaming activation.
“We’ll work with third party organisers and also have our own community based events and festivals to get more casual gamers involved”
We’re finding depending on the location and area of the country we’re able to guide them to make sure they do it right. For example; in NYC, we’re talking to many venues where we feel they will be successful based on the demographics of millennials and gamers who can easily get to the venue whereas in other locations around the country it’s more difficult.
We’ll work with third party organisers and also have our own community based events and festivals to get more casual gamers involved.
ESI: What do you see as the key commercial opportunity in esports right now? Moreover, which titles will you be focusing on initially?
Amish: Kevin Knocke is our VP of Esports and our in-house expert and so I’ve left this one to him. In Kevin’s words: “The key commercial opportunity right now is media rights. After the LCS rights deal to MLBAM, ownership groups have been scrambling to set up leagues and team associations that they have exclusive rights to. Those rights are going to be worth a huge amount to any organization that pulls that off.”
ESI: What have you learnt from the past ReKT projects? You’re set to re-launch the jobs and universities parts of the business?
Amish: We’ve learned a lot from our users and want to offer a freemium model that helps support the esports ecosystem to find a career or a scholarship/Varsity program. We’ll relaunch ReKTJobs and let candidates connect with employers and make it a free site promoting esports jobs.
We also find that every college/university wants to have a venue on campus and a recruiting tool to attract more students. Our relaunch of ReKTUniversity later this year will help connect students with varsity programs and scholarships and also help them find internships with teams and companies to launch their esports career.