Indian esports platform The Esports Club has remained active in partnering with companies to serve the gaming and esports industries in India. Earlier this year, its partnership with Ahmedabad’s first-ever Comic Con was an effort to create an exclusive gaming experience for the community. More recently, it launched a five-month-long league for Rainbow Six Siege, sponsored by the likes of Western Digital and ZOTAC Gaming.
Esports Insider spoke with Ishaan Arya, Co-founder and Head of Business Development of The Esports Club, on the platform’s work in India and the challenges it has faced in the country since its inception.
Esports Insider: How is The Esports Club contributing to the esports ecosystem in India?
Ishaan Arya: The Esports Club (TEC) as a platform is looking at all tiers of esports in India; pro, semi-pro, amateur and community-driven initiatives. While our first-party events like the WD Black TEC League for Rainbow Six Siege provides a tiered approach by segregating teams within divisions matching their skill level to provide an equal opportunity and a level playing field to all participants, we are also enabling various communities and content creators by supporting them financially and providing a platform to host events to start building up an ecosystem that we can eventually help grow in the way we are doing with Rainbow Six Siege.
ESI: With other big tournament organisers in the country, what kind of challenges does TEC face?
IA: Gaming in India is growing at a very rapid pace and to support this growth there are many tournament organisers. What sets us apart from others is our core DNA. We believe in building esports in a sustainable and scalable manner that is ideal for both sponsors and players. One tournament with a massive prize pool over short duration does nothing for brands in terms of visibility or players in terms of providing a roadmap for them to take esports seriously. Sure it will provide a temporary blimp that everyone will notice, but it will die out just as fast.
Our sustained approach allows brands to steadily invest in developing and being seen within the esports ecosystem and it also allows players to commit to esports with long term goals as a team or organisation.
“Our approach is always to be one that balances the needs of the players and the ROI on investments from our partners.”
ESI: Why did The Esports Club start its new league with Rainbow Six Siege specifically?
IA: The Rainbow Six Siege community in South Asia is massive and is constantly overlooked in favour of other existing popular titles. We were first to recognize the potential of Rainbow Six Siege in India and hosted some of the largest online & LAN events: Ex Lenovo Rise of Legion India tournament mid last year and our own TEC Arena LAN at Comic Con Ahmedabad just earlier this year. I was even involved in the Rainbow Six Siege launch campaign with NVIDIA back in the day!
ESI: What do you think are the hurdles that your company has faced or might face in its journey to build a reliable esports ecosystem?
IA: We’ve seen the many ups & downs of the Indian esports ecosystem. Building trust and credibility with both the community and brands is crucial. The community must trust you to run an event professionally and help grow the ecosystem; the brands rely on you to provide them something with a long-term solution.
Our team consists entirely of gaming & esports veterans. We’ve worked with the largest gaming brands in the country for events and tournaments across multiple titles and with our MD, Vamsi Krishna, we have invaluable marketing insight from the industry through his past leadership roles at NVIDIA, AMD, Microsoft & Wipro over the past 20 years. Our approach is always to be one that balances the needs of the players and the ROI on investments from our partners to enable us to continue building up the ecosystem one step at a time.
ESI: Where do you think the company will be in a few years’ time? What are you working towards that will lead there?
IA: There are two main verticals to our business; an end to end solutions provider for any esports or gaming activity for brands’ direct campaigns & then our first-party platform The Esports Club.
While we have dedicated teams working on both parts of the business, we are focused on building up The Esports Club as the premier esports platform in the country catering to multiple games with year-round tournament IPs & in house broadcast studio. We have already started work on a robust content catalogue that includes a weekly gaming show & gaming tech updates our ever-growing community of gamers.
“No country has the scale and potential viewership that India is sitting on.”
ESI: Does the Indian esports market have something which other countries lack?
IA: No country has the scale and potential viewership that India is sitting on. With access to technology, internet and information increasing day by day, we are fast becoming one of the largest markets for esports & gaming content which is why we see more and more international organisations & publishers looking at India with potential expansion plans.
ESI: How is The Esports Club helping with the growth of PC esports in India, a country where mobile reigns supreme?
IA: The WD Black TEC league for Rainbow Six Siege is one such initiative. The emphasis is on providing a sustainable and scalable esports activity for sponsors so they can look at multi-year campaigns around the ecosystem and IP; more importantly, it also provides players and organisations with the assurance and security needed to invest time and money, knowing there is a constant opportunity to play and win. This has been the biggest challenge that other organisers in the country fail to address.
We’ve also partnered with Comic Con India to curate and run The Esports Club Arena, a dedicated gaming and Esports Arena within every Comic Con event attended by nearly 30,000 attendees at each event. The venue will serve as the largest showcase platform for gaming in India and the LAN final for our multiple tournament IPs.