North American organisation Cloud9 has entered a strategic partnership with Guinevere Capital, a minority shareholder in Excel Esports.
The partnership will see Guinevere Capital take logistical control over Kings Row LLC, a subsidiary of Cloud9 that operates Overwatch League franchise London Spitfire and Contenders team British Hurricane.
The partnership is already in action, with Guinevere Capital looking to “build the foundations” for London Spitfire in 2021 through local commercial partnerships and connecting with the UK community. The advisory and investment firm has tapped Duncan McMonagle, formerly of Minute Media, and Jason Spiller, former of Microsft and OMEN by HP, to bolster the commercial success of the Overwatch League franchise.
Dan Fiden, President of Cloud9, spoke on the decision in a release: “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. 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.”
As well as its ties with Excel Esports, Guinevere Capital has the Esports High Performance Centre and Oceanic esports brands LG Dire Wolves, Sydney Drop Bears, N8 Esports, and Supastellar in its portfolio.
David Harris, Managing Director of Guinevere Capital, added: “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. 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.”
Esports Insider says: This seems like a test run to see if this new approach works for both parties – if so, we expect London Spitfire to be acquired by Guinevere Capital. If that indeed happens, then having Spitfire and Excel Esports affiliated makes a lot of sense. Either way, this is a major move for the Overwatch League that perhaps indicates some of the challenges presented by the geolocated competition.